Chai-Barley Tea

ABV: 4.3-4.8%

OG: 1.042 (10.5° P)

FG: 1.006–1.010 (1.5–2.5° P)

Link to article

The following beer recipe and excerpt are featured in the article “Brewing with Tea” by Mary Izett (May/June 2016 issue of Zymurgy magazine.) Access the full issue with Zymurgy online.

“This is the beverage you brew when you only have 10 minutes to spare and a week to ferment.”

Tea is the second-most-widely consumed beverage in the world after water, but it’s not a drink that crosses paths with the beer world very often. Beer made with that other commonly brewed beverage, coffee, is far more readily available. But tea offers great potential to homebrewers, particularly if we extend the definition beyond traditional, and even more so if we venture beyond barley-based drinks.

I had been experimenting with tea in beers and short meads for a while when I came across a fermented sweet tea recipe while doing research for my book, Speed Brewing. It sounded kind of crazy to me at the time: a 100 percent sugar-based fermented beverage? But after making a few batches, I was in love.

This is the dead-easiest alcoholic beverage you can make and it allows the tea to shine. It’s especially good for delicate teas or tea blends that you enjoy so much on their own that honey or malt would interfere rather than complement.

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The following beer recipe and excerpt are featured in the article “Brewing with Tea” by Mary Izett (May/June 2016 issue of Zymurgy magazine.) Access the full issue with Zymurgy online.

“This is the beverage you brew when you only have 10 minutes to spare and a week to ferment.”

Tea is the second-most-widely consumed beverage in the world after water, but it’s not a drink that crosses paths with the beer world very often. Beer made with that other commonly brewed beverage, coffee, is far more readily available. But tea offers great potential to homebrewers, particularly if we extend the definition beyond traditional, and even more so if we venture beyond barley-based drinks.

I had been experimenting with tea in beers and short meads for a while when I came across a fermented sweet tea recipe while doing research for my book, Speed Brewing. It sounded kind of crazy to me at the time: a 100 percent sugar-based fermented beverage? But after making a few batches, I was in love.

This is the dead-easiest alcoholic beverage you can make and it allows the tea to shine. It’s especially good for delicate teas or tea blends that you enjoy so much on their own that honey or malt would interfere rather than complement.

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz (425 g) sugar (organic white recommended)
  • 3 bags roasted barley tea
  • 2 bags chai black tea
  • 1/16 tsp (0.3 g) beer yeast nutrient
  • 1 packet Champagne yeast
  • De-chlorinated water

Specifications:

Yield: 1 US gal

Original Gravity: 1.042 (10.5° P)

Final Gravity: 1.006–1.010 (1.5–2.5° P)

ABV: 4.3-4.8%

Directions:

Bring water to a boil. Add 4 cups (946 mL) of boiled water to tea and nutrient in a heat-resistant vessel. Steep for 10 minutes. Dissolve sugar into mixture and top off to 1 gallon (3.8 L). Stir or shake to mix and ferment at 68° F (20° C) for 7 to 14 days or until desired gravity is reached. Chill overnight (as close to freezing as possible) and package in a keg or PET bottles. If bottling, keep bottles at room temperature until they feel taut to the touch, then chill and enjoy. Drink fresh.


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