I have been reading about different versions of absinthe/wormwood beers, but it sounds like the end product often comes out way too bitter.
In my experience, there are a few important details to be considered making this product; I wanted to offer my insight and a recipe, looking forward to your opinions.
[i]Absinthe Ale 1656
16 oz ale
1 oz aniseed
1/2 oz licorice
1/6 oz dried wormwood
-grind the aniseed, licorice and mix it with the wormwood and ale
-let it stand for 8 hours in a closed container (<12 hrs.)
-heat over a moderate fire for 20 minutes (~150 F, <170; covered)
-strain and bottle (~12 oz after some loss, w/priming sugar)[/i]
The key points here are:
-pick a type of beer that is not already bitter; I had great success with saison au miel, and I believe it will also work well with brown ales
-don’t grind the herbs to a powder; keep them coarse, or the bitterness will be intense
-use beer that is ready to be bottled; don’t ferment beer with wormwood mixed in, or it will be unpleasant and bitter; on that same note, don’t soak the ingredients in the beer longer than 12 hours
-after soaking the herbs, don’t heat the beer too long or too hot; that’s where you want to save the alcohol content, but get the taste smoother
I’ve just opened a bottle last night, and it was surprisingly good! Balanced taste, bitter, but smooth, not at all unpleasant, with some sweetness to it, probably from the honey or the priming sugar –overall a very interesting mix between beer and absinthe.
I think it is still a very intense drink to make any large batch of it. However, I will continue making these using the last couple ounces on bottling days, and enjoy one on days when I crave something bitter or just ate too much…