Yarrow Pale Ale II

It’s been, uh, a while since I’ve updated the brewing log. About a year ago I discovered that the yarrow-weizen, which I had thought was ruined but never bothered to throw out, had actually matured into an amazing sour. Not just “yeah it’s pretty good” amazing, but getting double-takes and holy shitballs from hard-to-impress third parties. I have a handful of bottles left, which I now only open for special occasions, because they keep getting better.

Meanwhile, last year’s YPA seems to be headed towards a similarly delicious sour fate, but is still too green to drink.

I don’t know exactly what’s happening here but I’m going to try to keep doing it. Here is this year’s effort. Skipping the dandelion root this time, after a slowly-consumed batch of dandelion brown ale convinced me that its flavor doesn’t age very well.

  • 7lbs golden liquid malt extract
  • 8 oz aromatic malt
  • 7 oz carapils
  • Whirlfloc tablet
  • 1.5 oz mugwort, half added for 60 min and half for 15
  • 0.4 oz (15 min) of what I believe to be Labrador tea but I don’t know which species. It was a gift a few years ago from a survey respondent, who only knew the plant as “Indian tea”. It still smelled nice but I’m sure it’s lost a great deal of potency since it was picked.
  • 6.5 oz yarrow flowers (0 min)
  • 1 qt. starter Northwest Ale

OG: 1.048 @ 78ºF. Wort tastes pretty balanced as-is, a little sweet, herbal.

Other booze updates:

Lilac hooch: Horrid. Bitter, wretched pfaugh. I’ll try opening another bottle next year sometime.

Blackberry wine: Bottled April 12. Drinkable! A bit thin-tasting (I may need to improve my vocabulary if I’m going to keep doing this…).

Osoberry piquette: Also bottled April 12. Really good! Not amazing like the yarrow-weizen, but genuinely enjoyable. Might get better if I can manage to let it sit long enough, but we’ll see – half a gallon doesn’t give me much room for impatience.

Edit, 7/7: I left the YPA in the bedroom closet for quite a while, and it was still making regular blorping noises when I racked to secondary Saturday night. I was bit worried about the effect of the heat wave, but the taste was a really good kind of sour, so it’s probably okay. Gravity 1.01 @ something like 80º. Suuuper hazy, lots of plant crud in the trub. Now it’s in a carboy in the basement, hopefully insulated a bit better from temperature fluctuations.

Edit, 9/15: Bottling day. Gravity 1.01, ~5% ABV. It’s gone sour, all right, but not too sour – better than last year’s batch, not as good as the initial weizen. I think next year it’ll be time to go back to wheat malt and maybe a heavier gravity wort.


  1. erica wrote:

    I’ve been meaning to tell you I’m excited about this yarrow weizen. But it also reads like Greek to me, having never made beer before. However, we are embarking on our first brewing project in short order. We now have a kit and a recipe and ingredients. Once we understand it better, I definitely want to make some wild beers, and yarrow is plentiful here. Cheers.

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