Author Topic: Brewing with Heather  (Read 3614 times)

Offline bluedog

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Brewing with Heather
« on: February 10, 2010, 12:20:47 PM »
Can anybody give me some advice about brewing with heather tips? I found a recipe I would like to try, it looks like an 80 /- scottish ale and has 2 hop additions using Fuggles. The heather is two additions and recommends using 1 - 2 cups of dried heather tips. It seems like the difference between 1 and 2 cups of hops would be major.
As always thanks in advance.

Offline Beertracker

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Re: Brewing with Heather
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2010, 05:10:09 PM »
Can anybody give me some advice about brewing with heather tips? I found a recipe I would like to try, it looks like an 80 /- scottish ale and has 2 hop additions using Fuggles. The heather is two additions and recommends using 1 - 2 cups of dried heather tips. It seems like the difference between 1 and 2 cups of hops would be major.
As always thanks in advance.

Not really, but of course it depends upon the freshness of your heather tips.  My experience says, "more is better!"  ;)
CHEERS! Jeff
"A homebrewed beer is truly a superior beer." ~ "Buffalo" Bill Owens - American Brewer

Jeffrey Swearengin
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Tulsa, OK USA

Offline enso

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Re: Brewing with Heather
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2010, 05:54:19 PM »
Heather is fairly delicate in flavor.  It does have it's own bittering properties as well though.  When I brew my heather ale I use only heather, no hops.  Sometimes bog myrtle if I can get it.  I am looking to use meadowsweet in the future.

1-2 cups sounds like a good place to start.  How many ibu's does this recipe have?  When are the additions?

Fresh heather is infinitely better than dried.  Watch out with buying dried heather too because you have no idea how long it has been sitting around.  It is not a major mover as far as ingredients and as with all dried herbs it has a shelf life flavor and aroma wise.

Adding the heather in the last few minutes or at flamemout is best for flavor and aroma.  You can add some at the beginning for bittering as well.

Here is another tip.  If you ever plan on trying to "dry hop"  (herb?) with heather in a light session ale be prepared to have a wild sour beer in the end.   ;D
Dave Brush

Offline bluedog

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Re: Brewing with Heather
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2010, 08:21:05 PM »
Actually the hop additions are optional - The heather additions are 1/2 at 60 minutes and the other half at flameout. The bitterness is listed at 23 IBU's. 1.048 OG / 1.008 FG. I would be using dried heather. Would 2 cups of heather be around 23 IBU's. Or would 1 oz of fuggles for bittering and maybe the heather added at the end seem like a better option?

Offline enso

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Re: Brewing with Heather
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2010, 04:19:01 PM »
Unfortunately there is not really any data on the bittering potential of any herb other than hops.  It is really just a guess and experiment.  Since no testing is done on heather you have no set way to measure.  Also, as I said, depending on the age of the heather it may be more or less bitter and or flavorful/aromatic.

My usage has varied with batch.  Ballpark amounts:  I used on average about 25 g of dried (or fresh) in the mash.  86 g of fresh (dried would be okay if it was not too old) at 60 minutes.  Then varying amounts of fresh at 10 minutes and flameout for flavor and aroma.  Those are starting points.  You could certainly use much more.  For reference the target OG I shoot for is about 1.045 to 1.048.  I use a fairly simple grist of mainly pale ale malt, a bit of medium crystal and a touch of a toasted type malt (biscuit, aromatic, or even home toasted) plus some honey.

Hope that helps.  I think the reason you often see recipes with hops is that it gives you something certain to measure bitterness so you aren't flying blind.  I say go for it though.  Folks have been brewing for ages without knowing ibu's or any other standard measures of bittering.  Experience is the best teacher.  Try 1 gallon batches to start if that helps.  Do several at a time with differing amounts.
Dave Brush

Offline bluedog

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Re: Brewing with Heather
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2010, 07:23:38 PM »
Thanks Enso

Offline jomebrew

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Re: Brewing with Heather
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2010, 09:11:28 AM »
Did you brew with heather?  I am probably going to this weekend.  If so, any suggestions?

Offline majorvices

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Re: Brewing with Heather
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2010, 02:30:43 PM »
I would like to brew with her as well. Sounds like she is pretty easy!  :P
Keith Y.
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Offline denny

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Re: Brewing with Heather
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2010, 08:42:28 AM »
I would like to brew with her as well. Sounds like she is pretty easy!  :P

Way to go, Keith....I'd been waiting for somebody to say that!   ;D
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Offline bluedog

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Re: Brewing with Heather
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2010, 05:31:54 AM »
Did you brew with heather?  I am probably going to this weekend.  If so, any suggestions?

I have not made that beer but I plan to early this fall. If you made one I would be interested to know what you used and how it turned out.

Offline beerocd

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Re: Brewing with Heather
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2010, 07:05:27 AM »
I tried Fraoch this past week because of this thread. It was an easy drink; nothing in your face at all about it. It just doesn't have that pull to make you want to drink a bunch of it. From their site I got this:
Into the boiling bree of malted barley, sweet gale and flowering heather are added, then after cooling slightly the hot ale is poured into a vat of fresh heather flowers where it infuses for an hour before being fermented.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2010, 07:07:17 AM by beerocd »
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