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No Hops

There is an upcoming competition for unhopped beers and I was considering making a basil, sage, rosemary saison anyway with a simple (and likely singular) bittering addition. Does anyone have any pointers for working with herbs without lupulin glands?

I would think you would add most at knockout, to retain the aromatics, but I wanted to figure out a good way to provide some bittering balance without hops.

I’d like the herbals to be subtle in this, almost like a biere de garde. I would like to brew it to go with thanksgiving and hearty fall/winter dishes.

[quote=“Pietro”]There is an upcoming competition for unhopped beers and I was considering making a basil, sage, rosemary saison anyway with a simple (and likely singular) bittering addition. Does anyone have any pointers for working with herbs without lupulin glands?

I would think you would add most at knockout, to retain the aromatics, but I wanted to figure out a good way to provide some bittering balance without hops.

I’d like the herbals to be subtle in this, almost like a biere de garde. I would like to brew it to go with thanksgiving and hearty fall/winter dishes.[/quote]

My house beer is a lemon-rosemary blonde ale. If I didn’t know it was rosemary I’d swear I was tasting a new strain of hop. I had this comment on a score sheet for this beer recently, “Too hoppy to taste rosemary”. I only bittered to 20IBUs and 1/8 oz of sorachi ace to FWH for a hint of lemon. No one else who’s tried it thinks that, including the owner of a good sized bottle shop downtown who really likes it.

[quote=“Rookie L A”][quote=“Pietro”]There is an upcoming competition for unhopped beers and I was considering making a basil, sage, rosemary saison anyway with a simple (and likely singular) bittering addition. Does anyone have any pointers for working with herbs without lupulin glands?

I would think you would add most at knockout, to retain the aromatics, but I wanted to figure out a good way to provide some bittering balance without hops.

I’d like the herbals to be subtle in this, almost like a biere de garde. I would like to brew it to go with thanksgiving and hearty fall/winter dishes.[/quote]

My house beer is a lemon-rosemary blonde ale. If I didn’t know it was rosemary I’d swear I was tasting a new strain of hop. I had this comment on a score sheet for this beer recently, “Too hoppy to taste rosemary”. I only bittered to 20IBUs and 1/8 oz of sorachi ace to FWH for a hint of lemon. No one else who’s tried it thinks that, including the owner of a good sized bottle shop downtown who really likes it.[/quote]

nice. Sorachis are interesting. Probably my process, but I made an all-sorachi cream ale and it was a bit too herbal for me. probably a better hop for the style we’re talking about…any idea how much rosemary and how to treat it (chopped fine?) for a 5 gallon batch to bitter it sufficiently?

Psyched for this! Cheaper than buying hops!

No hops?!? Blasphemy!!

I’ve been waiting for Rookie L A’s lemon rosemary blonde recipe for a while now… sounds too awesome to NOT try it!

Want to share the recipe?

Could use some orange peel for bittering.

My next beer will be a pale ale with spruce tips. The tips have been in the freezer since spring, they are small and very light green. I will use some Chinook for bittering and then only spruce tips for flavour.

I hope it will work out, I read both good and bad things about spruce.

Lots of herbs can be used for bittering. Horehound, sage, dandelion, alecoast, milk thistle, nettle, yarrow, gentian, clary sage, and betony all work as bittering herbs just to name a few. I made a dandelion bitter this past summer.

There is a brewery outside of Ottawa called Beau’s who use Bog Mertle for bittering and flavour. The beer they do like this is called Bog Water and is a brown bock style. A little sweeter than average and the mertle adds something very different, but very good.

I’ll be finding this one out soon myself. horehound doesn’t get the respect it deserves, IMO. :lol:

I’ll be finding this one out soon myself. horehound doesn’t get the respect it deserves, IMO. :lol: [/quote]If you have trouble finding herbs, remember to check out the wicca stores. Believe it or not, there are two in the Minneapolis area and one in St Paul.
Your in for a real treat that day. :lol:
We are lucky enough to have a natural foods store close by that carries a large selection of herbs. But, they are usually pretty high priced.

If its made w/ bog myrtle isn’t it technically a gruit? The herbs that make up bog myrtle sound like stuff from Game of Thrones.

Bog myrtle was used in the herb mixture called Gruit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrica_gale

To my knowledge the recepie for Gruit is still a secret keeps by the church… or forgotten. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gruit

I used bog myrtle catkins to flavour and bitter a mead, just honey and bog myrtle. It took some time before it matured, but then it was quite good.

[quote=“Pietro”]
If its made w/ bog myrtle isn’t it technically a gruit? The herbs that make up bog myrtle sound like stuff from Game of Thrones.[/quote]

Technically you may be correct there. I don’t know exactly what classifies a gruit. I know there is locally grown bog myrtle near the brewery, and they went from there. I originally compared the beer to a bock because Beau’s usually starts with mostly german organic malts, but now that you mention it I do think they had the idea of traditional gruit somewhere in their thinking.

FYI in local bars where they serve more than one of their beers there has grown a tradition of blending a half pint of Bog Water with a half pint of the breweries flagship Kolch, Lug Tread. Locals call this “Treading Water”.

[quote=“El Capitan”]No hops?!? Blasphemy!!

I’ve been waiting for Rookie L A’s lemon rosemary blonde recipe for a while now… sounds too awesome to NOT try it!

Want to share the recipe?[/quote]

Off the top of my head:
three gallons
5 lbs 2-row
8 ozs. white wheat
4 ozs crystal 10
4 ozs light munich
1/8 oz sorachi ace at 12.1% to FWH
? oz aurora at 8% for 45 minutes to get 20 IBUs
pinch irish moss for 15 minutes
teaspoon rosemary to steep
Wyeast 1272 or WLP008
Mash at 150 for 45 minutes
O G 1.049, IBUs mid 20s
You can use pretty much any hop to bitter as long as it’s not real piney like chinook
I plan to increase the sorachi ace next time, but you can use the zest of a small lemon in the steep with the rosemary if you don’t have any.

Awesome - thanks for the recipe! :cheers:

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