Homebrewers Association
Homebrewers Association
Homebrew Recipes

Licorice Ale

This recipe is a rendition of John Josselyn’s licorice ale, which was brewed for Native Americans in the 1600s when they were experiencing cold symptoms. Stephen Harrod Buhner presents his version of the lost “Licorice Ale” in his book Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers: The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation.

Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers is currently offered to BA/AHA members at 20 percent off in the online store until August 31, 2012! Pick up a copy for a more in-depth look at licorice and other plant- and tree-based recipes.

Licorice Ale | Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer


  • For ~5 gallons (19 L)
  • Specifications

    • Original Gravity: n/a
    • Final Gravity: n/a
    • ABV: n/a
    • IBU: n/a
    • SRM: n/a
    • Boil Time: n/a
    • Efficiency: n/a
    • Pre-boil Volume: n/a
    • Pre-boil Gravity: n/a


    • Bring the water to a boil.
    • Add the licorice root, elecampane, sassafras root, aniseed and fennel seed; simmer one hour.
    • When cooled to 160°F (71° C), strain over malt extract, sugar and honey. Stir until dissolved. Cool to 70°F (21°C), place in fermenter and add yeast.
    • Allow to sit in fermentation vessel until fermentation is complete (about six or seven days).
    • At that point, nothing but a few isolated specs of foam should be visible on the surface of the fermenting beer.
    • Put a teaspoonful of sugar in each bottle, pour in beer and cap.
    • Ready to drink in 10 days to two weeks.
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