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Old 12-21-2008, 03:10 AM   #1
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Default elderberries & flowers

I made up a test batch of beer that I really didn't know how it was going to turn out, like I have been doing a lot lately. This time it was an elderberry and elderflower beer.
Here's the recipe:
OG 1.052
FG: 1.012
5lbs 2-row
.5lb 90, 40, 20L
1oz elderflowers @ 2mins
Then I pitched nottingham and threw in 8oz dried elderberries at the same time.

The result is a pale brown beer that is fruity and slightly sour. It's actually quite enjoyable if you have a palate for the sour stuff, not like gueze sour, but a bit more than a fruit lambic sour... although the sourness is altogether different than a wild beer.

I may make it again if I get more positive reinforcement by other people... taste wise

I don't quite know where the sourness came from - the berry or flower, but my bet is on the flower as the berry, when I ate a few was not sour at all. So I was thinking about adding some flowers to a wild beer and see where that goes.

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Old 12-21-2008, 03:23 AM   #2
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I have been playing with "herbal" beers for the last year. I have made some yarrow ale and heather ale. Both using only the herbs as bittering agent. Well, a couple of batches of heather ale I also used sweet gale.

With the heather ale I have noticed on some batches (also made mead with it) that it has taken on some sourness. First time I noticed I had "dry hopped" with the heather in the keg. I figured it was some bacterial contamination from the heather as it is not as acidic as hops so more susceptible. Though I have since experienced the flavor again without doing that.

It was not an awful sourness. It was still very drinkable. In fact it also had a sort of pineapple flavor to it. It just was not what I expected after the initial batches I had made, the first of which was actually an award winner.

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Old 12-21-2008, 03:23 AM   #3
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I bet the sourness is from the berries. Fresh berries won't taste explicitly sour since the sugars balance it out. When the sugars ferment all that's left is the sour so it comes through more. A very interesting beer though. I'm seriously considering growing some elderberry plants for similar beers. It such an interesting plant with a history steeped in legend and lore. I would have "dry-hopped" the flowers though, in order to get more of the scent into the final product.

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Old 12-21-2008, 03:34 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingBrianI View Post
I bet the sourness is from the berries. Fresh berries won't taste explicitly sour since the sugars balance it out. When the sugars ferment all that's left is the sour so it comes through more. A very interesting beer though. I'm seriously considering growing some elderberry plants for similar beers. It such an interesting plant with a history steeped in legend and lore. I would have "dry-hopped" the flowers though, in order to get more of the scent into the final product.
Good idea with the flowers, and I could just throw what I have left in the keg to dryhop it. Only thing is, I read somewhere that elderflowers need to be boiled for some reason.
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Old 01-21-2009, 05:37 PM   #5
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Figured I should update this, as the keg was kicked a while ago. It turned out better than expected. Most people loved it.

I might do it again, but it would have to be changed. It was too thin, needs a lot more body. And it might be more appropriate to go with a lighter style as a base. Also because of the way I handled the berries and flowers it ended up having a very sour tart taste, which was actually nice. As an overall impression, think if Michelob made a flemmish, this is probably what it would taste like.

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