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Basil beer?

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Gtrman13

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I have a nice looking basil plant with plenty of good healthy leaves. They smell absolutely wonderful, but I really don't have much use for basil. I was thinking that maybe a basil beer would be a good way to use a bunch of it. I did a quick search for basil beer and saw that some people have come up with recipes, but not much info on how they tasted or the best way to add it. If anyone can give me some direction or better yet, a recipe, it would be greatly appreciated!

I want to have a nice warm weather beer to close out the summer months, and was thinking this could lend itself well to a pale ale with some lemon or honey. But that was just my thinking, I could go in another direction if it would be better.
 

LVBen

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I don't know about basil, but I've had beers brewed with other herbs in the Lamiaceae family. On Friday, at our local homebrew club meeting (SNAFU), someone brought a beer made with sage. I think he used 1 oz at the beginning of the boil and 1 oz at the end of the boil. I feel a little bit uneasy about consuming large amounts of herbs because of the chemical compounds found in many herbs, so I don't think I would drink more than 1 or 2 in one sitting, but it tasted pretty damn good! The base was just a pale ale, and it seems to go together with that style just fine.
 

Beezy

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I am thinking about trying one. I have lemon basil tho. I have lemon verbena as well. Maybe a pale ale.
 

dcp27

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ive tasted some honey & basil ale before and wasnt crazy about it. i love basil in food, but i think it can be too overpowering in beer, so just be careful. YMMV
 

McCheese352

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The latest issue of BYO has a clone recipe for Bison Brewings Honey-Basil Ale.
 

gr8shandini

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I don't know about basil, but I've had beers brewed with other herbs in the Lamiaceae family. On Friday, at our local homebrew club meeting (SNAFU), someone brought a beer made with sage. I think he used 1 oz at the beginning of the boil and 1 oz at the end of the boil. I feel a little bit uneasy about consuming large amounts of herbs because of the chemical compounds found in many herbs, so I don't think I would drink more than 1 or 2 in one sitting, but it tasted pretty damn good! The base was just a pale ale, and it seems to go together with that style just fine.
What?? I've never heard of any kind of health risk from herbs.

As for what to do with extra basil, I'd do some pesto sauce if you still have a bunch after the beer. Throw it in the food processor with a little olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, pine nuts and maybe a squeeze of lemon.
 

mlg5039

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Local brewery here has a Farmhouse Summer Basil on tap that's amazing..

Last weekend I brewed a 1.055 OG rye saison and added a handful of basil from my plant with 5 minutes left in the boil. Smells heavenly right now.
 

LVBen

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Hernando

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ive tasted some honey & basil ale before and wasnt crazy about it. i love basil in food, but i think it can be too overpowering in beer, so just be careful. YMMV
Yes sir, a little of this stuff goes a long way. You probably won't need very much at all. With the rest...

I agree with the other poster as well about a pesto.
 

bigbeergeek

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I was just pondering making a basil beer last night. I would probably dry hop with it (I've had bad flavor experiences with steeping basil in hot liquid while making basil lemonade). I'd imagine a saison or wheat beer being pretty refreshing with some light basil aromatics. Definitely something mild flavored, not overly hoppy, and summery.

Good luck, let us know what you settle on.

Oh, homemade pizza is a great way to tear through a pile of fresh basil, BTW :)
 

rlhvegas

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I had a Basil Pale Ale at my HomeBrew Club meeting last month. It was surprisingly good and had a very "fresh" taste. It was a hit at the meeting.
 

drummstikk

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I'm not saying that basil or sage is going to kill somebody. I'm just saying that I feel a little uneasy consuming large amounts of herbs.
How do you differentiate herbs from other plants? There is no rigorous definition.

If you avoid eating large quantities of plants with small amounts of toxins, like basil (estragole) and sage (thujone), then in order to be consistent, you would need to avoid: nutmeg, potatoes, tomatoes, apples, elderberry, anything containing castor oil (check your labels!), apricots, cherries, and - because all cereals are susceptible to ergot, you shouldn't be eating large amounts of rye, wheat, or barley.

Basil is the least of your concerns!
 

PanzerBanana

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I love fresh basil, I'll eat a few leaves on their own, but would be a little apprehensive about it in beer. But then with the right malts and hops I could see where the basil could lend a distinct and welcomed quality.

As for the chap worrying about herbal consumption, you have to take individual herbs into account. In a beer you'd have little to worry about. Depending on the herb, you'd have fewer concerns imbibing a good portion once in a while, than a moderate portion regularly.

When using fresh herbs getting too much at once isn't a huge issue. Dried herbs are more of a concern because they're more concentrated since they lack the water content. Using too much of a dried herb in a beer would make it undrinkable before it'd make it dangerous. Of course if one has the will to drink it anyway, maybe you deserve what may come. lol
 

heferly

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i made a lemon basil wheat using 0.5 oz of lemon basil in the last 3 min of the boil...turned out pretty good as far as i remember...although next time, i wouldn't make a full 5 gal batch of it...the keg lasted quite a long time!

the lemon basil flavor came out pretty well, with no vegetal taste..mostly herby...

og 1.061
fg 1.015
wyeast 1056

3 lb Muntons Wheat DME
3 lb Muntons Light Dry Malt Extract
1 lb Wheat, Torrified
1 lb American Two-row Pale
8 oz Vienna Malt
4 oz Honey Malt

first wort 60+ mins 0.25 oz Sorachi Ace
boil 10 mins 0.5 oz Sorachi Ace
boil 1 min 0.5 oz Sorachi Ace
dry hop 7 days 0.5 oz Amarillo
 

Rhinocook

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I was just pondering making a basil beer last night. I would probably dry hop with it (I've had bad flavor experiences with steeping basil in hot liquid while making basil lemonade). I'd imagine a saison or wheat beer being pretty refreshing with some light basil aromatics. Definitely something mild flavored, not overly hoppy, and summery.

Good luck, let us know what you settle on.

Oh, homemade pizza is a great way to tear through a pile of fresh basil, BTW :)
So did you ever get around to "dry Hopping" with basil? I going to be doing a Orange Basil Blonde and am thinking about adding both the orange and basil as a "dry hopping" addition. I'm concerned with infection and also how much to use in a 10g batch (2 5g kegs). Any thoughts would be appreciated.
 

bigbeergeek

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I've grown and eaten a lot of basil over the past four years (!) but none yet has made it's way into a beer. I would err on the side of caution and go light on the basil; maybe a small crushed handful of leaves in a hop bag in each carboy, tasting daily. I'd just wash the leaves and spray them with starsan before putting them in sanitized mesh bags. Post an update if you do it!
 

RevA

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I made a basil amber beer, just be careful not to use too much basil. For the first few months the taste is overpowering!
 

BostonianBrewer

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Basil and Lemongrass are an amazing pairing. Brewed a Lemongrass Basil saison and a Raspberry Basil Lemongrass Blonde and they both smell and taste FANTASTIC !
 
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