Hi! I'm Heidi.

Hi! I'm Heidi, and here is my Homestead Journey.....

Hi! I'm Heidi, and here is my Homestead Journey.....

 

Hi! I'm Heidi--I'm a modern-day homesteader starting out in middle age! I'm all about plant medicine, raising animals for love & food, preparedness, traditional food practices, and being a natural health rebel for life! Join me on this journey!

I'm Heidi, and this is Ranger.  He has been with me for over ten years, and I love him dearly.  

I'm Heidi, and this is Ranger.  He has been with me for over ten years, and I love him dearly.  

How to Brew Herbal Beer...My Mountain Man Beer Recipe

How to Brew Herbal Beer...My Mountain Man Beer Recipe

Seriously!  There is nothing better than a cool glass of your own home brew.  There. Just. Isn't.  There is something so satisfying about drinking a favored beverage you have made yourself, especially when you have foraged for most of the herbs used in that brew in the wilderness around your home!  Add to that the fact that the herbs used in the brew have amazing health benefits---What an awesome thing!  Here is the recipe for our Mountain Man Herbal Beer. This recipe comes out tasting complex, with the tannins (dryness) of the Mormon Tea, the woody/spice from the Juniper & Sagebrush, and the slight bitterness of the Hops and Chaparral.  It's truly refreshing!  I KNOW you'll love it!  

Here's how to make your own herbal beer/ale!  (Actually, if it's made with hops, it's a beer.  If it's made with herbs, it's an ale.  This one is made with both, so call it what you like! :-)  

Here's how to make your own herbal beer/ale!  (Actually, if it's made with hops, it's a beer.  If it's made with herbs, it's an ale.  This one is made with both, so call it what you like! :-)  

Just a beginning note: There are affiliate links in this article, and that simply means if you click through any and make a purchase, I will earn a very small commission at no extra cost to you! I so very much appreciate your support of Healing Harvest Homestead! Heidi

On Being a Home Brew Beer Heretic

There are a few things (maybe even quite a few) that many home brewers would consider heresy. However, after using herbs for a long time, and also after reading (with much enjoyment) Stephen Harrod Buhner's book, Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers, we have been delighted with making our brews in our own way, with some leeway too.  

For example, we don't measure everything exactly right.  We throw in the herbs we want to use, make up the tea, and go for it.  We are also a bit easier on the sugars than what is called for in many beer recipes.  We tend to go for about 3/4 pound (usually honey, maple sugar, or molasses) per gallon of liquid. Finally, we are so busy that we often let the fermentation process go for longer than it probably should.  However, we have not had any issues or problems, ever.   

Keep in mind that traditional cultures have been creating brews for eons.  And I don't think they worried about measurements, sanitation, time, etc. too very much.  Or maybe they did...but I doubt it.  Natural fermentation is truly an incredible process that is very trustworthy.    

Have you been wanting to make your own beer or ale?  Find out how to go about that in this article!  It's everything you MUST know to make a great herbal brew! 

Have you been wanting to make your own beer or ale?  Find out how to go about that in this article!  It's everything you MUST know to make a great herbal brew! 

 

Ingredients for Mountain Man Herbal Home Brew:

Some Juniper leaves & berries (we foraged ours from our yard in the mountains---it's a wild plant up here)

Some Mormon Tea (Ephedra nevadensis) We foraged this too.  Unless you live in the Southwest, you may not have this handy.  That's ok.  We don't use too much of it, anyway, as it is EXTREMELY tannic.  

Chaparral---I think you MUST have Chaparral, not only for the taste, but for the health benefits.  Some people even believe it helps cure cancers---Now I'm not saying that, but it is definitely a good strong herb.  Chaparral has a pretty wide range, but if you don't have it you can get it at the link below.  

Sagebrush---Not to be confused with Sage.  Sagebrush is actually a species of Wormwood, with a wonderfully strong taste and smell.  You don't need to much of this.  Sagebrush is the Nevada state flower (a little fun fact). If you don't have this, it's ok.  

Ponderosa Bark---Again, not too much.  Ponderosa bark gives the brew a nice mellow hint of vanilla.  Or---just use a vanilla bean or after the tea has cooled---some vanilla extract.  Not too much.  

Hops---I have to buy mine.  So if you need to purchase ANY of these herbs (except possibly the Sagebrush & Ponderosa Bark) you can find them at Starwest Botanicals, one of my most favorite shops!  By the way, you can get your culinary herbs & spices there too, with a higher level of quality and quantity than ANY grocery store spice!  

Yeast.  You can use the fancy brewer's yeast from a home brew store.  But we always just use the bread baking yeast.  It has always worked just fine! We use 2 packets for a large batch like this. 

A Sugar:  Honey, Molasses, Maple, Cane.  You'll need between 3 to 5 pounds of whatever sugar mixture you like.  We tend to go light on the sugar.  The yeast needs to sugar to feed on, and that is what causes the fermentation.  So, just be aware that if you want a nice fast fermentation, go with more sugar.  For this batch, we used 3 pounds of Raw Honey and about 1 pound of Molasses.

Tools You'll Need:

1.  7 gallon or so beer brewing bucket.  Get one with a spigot.  This will work for a 5 gallon or a bit greater batch. We didn't measure our liquid this past batch, and just went by the large pot---we ended up with almost 6-ish gallons. 

2. A large pot to make your tea.  

3. Spigot for your bucket (optional, but it sure makes things easier)You'll have to make sure it works for your bucket, or you can buy the whole set up (we did this).    

4.  Airlock, if you don't buy the set up together. 

5.  Bottles.  We like the 24 ounce amber brown bottles OR Grolsch Swing top bottles.  

6.  Bottle Caps

7.  A Bottle Capper

8.  Funnel and Strainer

Here my husband is cutting up the herbs we foraged in our high desert.  You probably recognize this plant---Juniper!  Juniper has some excellent antibacterial qualities and can help heal infections.  It tastes great too!

Here my husband is cutting up the herbs we foraged in our high desert.  You probably recognize this plant---Juniper!  Juniper has some excellent antibacterial qualities and can help heal infections.  It tastes great too!

Here the herbs are getting ready to simmer away for about 45 minutes.  This is the "wort."  We use approximately 2 parts herb to 5 parts water for this part of the process.  That would equate to a large mixing bowl of herbal matter to about 5 gallons or so of water.  

Here the herbs are getting ready to simmer away for about 45 minutes.  This is the "wort."  We use approximately 2 parts herb to 5 parts water for this part of the process.  That would equate to a large mixing bowl of herbal matter to about 5 gallons or so of water.  

The herbs have been strained out, leaving a lovely dark colored tea.  The liquid being poured into it is the sugar mixture.  We generally use about 3 to 4 pounds of some kind of sugar (honey, molasses, etc.) per 5 gallons of tea.  After the sugar mixture is added, this is now called the "wort."  

The herbs have been strained out, leaving a lovely dark colored tea.  The liquid being poured into it is the sugar mixture.  We generally use about 3 to 4 pounds of some kind of sugar (honey, molasses, etc.) per 5 gallons of tea.  After the sugar mixture is added, this is now called the "wort."  

Steps to Make Your Mountain Man Home Brew:

1.  Chop up your herbs loosely. 

2. Get a large 5 gallon (minimum for this recipe) pot ready with boiling water on the stove.  Pour your herbs in, turn the stove down to a simmer, and let go for about 45 minutes or so.  It makes a really nice, strong tea.  

3.  After you feel this is done, take it off the stove.  We have some pretty cool temps outside, so I just set the pot outdoors with the cover on until it's cooled down (I use the cover so bugs don't get in there). 

4.  When the tea is cooled a bit, start your sugar mixture.  You'll need about 3 to 4 pounds (the expert beer folks say 1 pound sugar to 1 gallon of tea---Buhner) of your sugar source.  We used a combination of honey and molasses for this batch.  

5. Strain the herbs out of the tea.  Then mix the sugar into the tea.  This is now your "wort."  

6.  If your mixture is no hotter than room temperature, go ahead and add your yeast.  We use about 2 packets of regular old bread yeast. Stir it all up good.  

7.  Place the lid onto the 5 gallon pail with your airlock.  

8.  Let sit for a week or two (or three if you are super busy like we are).  Your brew will bubble, froth, and foam at the top. It's a lovely sight! 

9.  You can do some taste testing in between if you like.  Just use CLEAN objects in the brew.  

10.  What we do at the point we are ready to go ahead and bottle is just transfer the brew to a large 5 gallon jug.  We do this by using a strainer and a funnel to be sure the yeast strands and other sediment don't get transferred with the clear liquid.  

We rinse out the pail, then pour the brew back into the pail.  We have a pail with a spigot on the bottom of it, so that is why we bottle from the pail.  

11.  You'll need to make a little additional sugar mixture now.  We use about 3/4 cup cane sugar or powdered sugar diluted in about 2 cups or so water.  We boil it, so it's completely dissolved.  

12.  Mix in this little extra bit of sugar water into the ferment.  When you go to bottle it, it will be this little extra sugar that will really give your brew a nice carbonation, as it will keep fermenting some in the bottle while it sits, giving the remaining yeast food.

13.  Bottle it up!  Use a capper to tighten caps onto your bottle tops.  

14.  Now, wait a week, two, or three.  Be sure to open your bottles over a sink until you get a feel for the carbonation.  Ours have been known to spill over somewhat, especially if we let it go too long.  

You can see that most of your efforts will be in waiting patiently.  I know that's hard.  Believe me.  I do.  But it's necessary.  You'll be so glad you did! 

A note about sanitation:  Many home brewers are crazy about using bleach or other sanitizing agents to kill every single germ out there to prevent possible molding or wild yeast.  Personally, we wash our bottles and containers extremely well with scalding/boiling water and soap.  Rinse well.  (Another Brewing Heresy)  We are not in a humid environment, so maybe that is why we have never had any mold experience like we hear others speak of.  Just keep your work areas very clean (we use homemade vinegar cleaner), and wash your tools well with very hot, soapy water.  

Checking on the fermenting brew after about a week.  See the frothy foam on top?  That's a great sign.  We didn't get all the herbal matter out, evidently.  Personally, I don't think that's a huge deal, although the purists would probably freak out.  

Checking on the fermenting brew after about a week.  See the frothy foam on top?  That's a great sign.  We didn't get all the herbal matter out, evidently.  Personally, I don't think that's a huge deal, although the purists would probably freak out.  

We are getting ready to add the extra amount of sugar now to help along the carbonation process, and get the brew bottled up!  (The funnel we are using has a strainer attached in it.) You can actually leave the brew in the glass bottle for a second week-long ferment, but this has been fermenting for so long at this point, we are skipping this step and going right to bottling.  Look at that foam!  NICE!

We are getting ready to add the extra amount of sugar now to help along the carbonation process, and get the brew bottled up!  (The funnel we are using has a strainer attached in it.) You can actually leave the brew in the glass bottle for a second week-long ferment, but this has been fermenting for so long at this point, we are skipping this step and going right to bottling.  Look at that foam!  NICE!

Bottling it up!

Bottling it up!

The Craft of Herbal Fermentation Course by Herbal Academy
We reuse our old beer bottles.  This is the old label---we have added the Juniper for this brew, along with some Hops.  

We reuse our old beer bottles.  This is the old label---we have added the Juniper for this brew, along with some Hops.  

Capping the bottles!  Now they will store away for another week or two while the small amount of added sugar carbonates.  Then.....Tastiness!  

Capping the bottles!  Now they will store away for another week or two while the small amount of added sugar carbonates.  Then.....Tastiness!  

This post has been published on the Homestead Bloggers Network!  If you want to know anything about everything homesteading, that is the place to visit.  You'll find a network of over 300 homesteaders with so much information!  Check it out!

Also, you can find this article, along with LOTS of other great homesteading, simple life, DIY, etc. articles in these Blog Hops: The Homestead Hop, The Homesteader Blog Hop, Grandma's DIY, Our Simple Blog Hop. 

If you are interested in making your own beer---check out some of the resources below!

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Hugs & Self-Reliance!

Heidi

Disclaimer:  The information in this article, elsewhere on my blog, in my shop sites, in conversations, and on labels is for informational purposes only and not meant to cure, treat, diagnose, or prevent any medical condition. Please see a medical professional for concerns.  I simply provide my own personal advice based on experience and study for ways to live a healthy and natural way of life.  These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. 

Affiliate Disclosure:  There are affiliate links included in this article!  This means that if you happen to click through one of them and make ANY kind of purchase, even not including the item you clicked on, I will receive a small commission.  This will cost you nothing but the time it takes to make that extra click.  I hope you will support Healing Harvest Homestead and follow our dreams! 

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