Yarrow Beer

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MSAstoria

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I'll add that while I'm no expert, a quick search turns up a lot of information on yarrow having antimicrobial properties. It's widely known as a topical treatment for wounds, likely because it's somewhat effective at fighting infection.
 

rhys333

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When "dry yarrowing" your proper sanitation went out of the window. Hops are antiseptic, yarrow is not. I guess the higher alcohol amount killed everything sitting on the flowers, so you're lucky.

Yarrow may well be antiseptic, as per it's long history of medicinal use for wound healing. I've used it myself in that capacity to stop bleeding and promote healing.
 

rhys333

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I find this thread so intriguing that I'm pulled back in from my 6 month hiatus. I have yarrow growing in my garden and have noted how suprisingly effective it is at promoting wellbeing when steeped in a tea. And as noted directly above, it stops wound bleeding almost immediately when applied as a poultice.

I'm committed to brewing a kölsch tomorrow, but my next brew is going to be a yarrow saison, and I'm leaning towards the following witch's brew:

YARROW SAISON
5.5 gal, 1.050, IBU unknown.
90% Pilsen malt
6% Wheat malt
4% C15
1 oz fresh yarrow leaves & stems @ 60
1 oz fresh yarrow flowers @ dry hop
BE-134 yeast

The cara is there to help hide any potential miscalculations with the yarrow. If anyone thinks this recipe looks bad based on experience with yarrow, please let me know.
 

Miraculix

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When you say it's not working like hops, do you mean that it's not providing enough bitterness to counteract the malt sweetness?
This counteracting malt sweetness thing is a myth. Fermented malt is not very sweet anyway.

But what I actually meant was that yarrow does not work against souring as hops do, so you will most likely create a sour beer, at least after some time.
 

rhys333

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This counteracting malt sweetness thing is a myth. Fermented malt is not very sweet anyway.

But what I actually meant was that yarrow does not work against souring as hops do, so you will most likely create a sour beer, at least after some time.


I'll look into it a bit more to see what if any preservative qualities the yarrow has. I know that its strongly antimicrobial, so at the very least I feel assured that I won't infect it by 'dry-yarrowing' the flowers.
 

rhys333

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So I think what I'm going to do is hedge my bets. I'll add about 2/3 ounce of low bittering hops at 60 minutes to get about 10 IBU, then an ounce of yarrow leaves later in the boil followed 1 oz flower DH.

I have two varieties of yarrow to choose from. A wild-type with white flowers and a yellow variety called Moonshine which is a hybrid of two European types. Leaning toward the latter, as it has stronger aroma and flavor when used in a tea. The leaves are also bigger and easier to deal with.

Also planning now to include a pound of some nice Indian jaggery I picked up recently. This in place of the crystal malt. It should add some nice flavor and help dry out the saison.
 

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Miraculix

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I'll look into it a bit more to see what if any preservative qualities the yarrow has. I know that its strongly antimicrobial, so at the very least I feel assured that I won't infect it by 'dry-yarrowing' the flowers.
Go ahead! Ive brewed probably 20+ batches of yarrow beer and every single one soured. The ones that were "dry yarrowed" soured in the shortest time.
 

Albionwood

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There is a huge difference between the "antimicrobial" effect of a poultice, and a very dilute tea. If you use Yarrow as a poultice, you might apply a half-ounce directly to a wound - so the concentration of whatever antimicrobial agents are present is quite high. When you add an ounce of yarrow to five gallons of beer, you are making a very dilute tea with a much, much lower concentration of those agents.
So don't expect Yarrow to have much effect on souring bacteria. It doesn't work the way hops do. As far as I can tell, it has no effect on Lactobacillus.
 

rhys333

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There is a huge difference between the "antimicrobial" effect of a poultice, and a very dilute tea. If you use Yarrow as a poultice, you might apply a half-ounce directly to a wound - so the concentration of whatever antimicrobial agents are present is quite high. When you add an ounce of yarrow to five gallons of beer, you are making a very dilute tea with a much, much lower concentration of those agents.
So don't expect Yarrow to have much effect on souring bacteria. It doesn't work the way hops do. As far as I can tell, it has no effect on Lactobacillus.

Adding the 10 IBUs of low alpha hops at 60 minutes is probably going to help me out in that regard.
 

bwible

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I know there are many smart people here - but just a word of caution. If you are sourcing yarrow from the wild, please be sure you have the right plant. Yarrow looks very similar to some other plants that are poisonous - including hemlock and wild carrots.
 

Albionwood

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I recently made a Gose-like beer that turned out pretty good.
40 L batch
5 kg 2-row
5 kg Wheat malt
Mashed at 65C, boiled 45 minutes (mostly to concentrate the wort, I ran off a little too much)
18 g Salt and 45 g Coriander (coarsely ground) boiled 10 minutes
OG 1040
Fermented with Simonaitis farmhouse yeast from Lithuania, co-pitched with Lactobacillus plantarum, at 33C (4 days)
Split batch into two kegs. One got 5 lbs of frozen Blueberries, so that went in a different direction.
The other was flavored with 60 g dried wild Yarrow flowers, 60 g dried Dandelion root, and 10 g dried Mugwort (native California species). The Dandelion root was coarsely-ground and then boiled for 5 minutes in about a liter of water. I then poured that over the Yarrow and Mugwort and let it steep for several minutes in a large French press coffee maker, then strained it and poured the liquid into the beer. Force-carbonated and served three days later at a public event.
It was pleasantly tart and mildly herbal with a nice finish. People came back for seconds.

Simonaitis yeast (not a kveik, but similar to them) has bacteria in it, so probably would have soured the beer on its own, but I added five capsules of L. plantarum anyway. The yeast/bacteria contributes a nice lemony character and a wonderful mouthfeel; it drinks like a much bigger beer. I don't seem to have taken a final gravity reading, but Simonaitis is said to be a diastaticus yeast, so FG should be near 1.
 
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