Alpine Wild Flowers Wild Ale

For this beer, I foraged a plethora of various alpine wild flowers (image below) while on the Granite Mountain hike in July of 2018. I then built up a starter wort from the wild yeast and bacteria native to these flowers, propagating whatever I caught for nearly a month.

Having switched over to a half barrel pilot system that Gregory and I began test batching beers for Best of Hands Barrelhouse on (we also began using that system as our primary homebrew setup, splitting the batches between ourselves and another friend, and dry hopping/fermenting the portions differently), I took a five gallon portion of boiled wort from a basic blonde ale Gregory was brewing for a friend’s wedding.

I pitched 32oz of slurry from my starter and let the beer condition for eight months in glass before determining the character had hit its peak and kegging it. I opted not to dry hop or otherwise add any adjuncts to the resulting beer, letting the yeast and bacteria drive the beer’s expression. The result is a delicate and slightly tart beer with lots of interesting floral notes.

Recipe and tasting notes follow:

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.0
Total Grain (Lbs): 8.60
Anticipated OG: 1.048
Anticipated SRM: 2.0
Anticipated IBU: 22
Brewhouse Efficiency: 80%
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Grain

96.51% — 8.30 Lbs. 2-Row (US)
3.49% — 0.30 Lbs. Munich Malt

Hops

0.80 oz. Mt. Hood (Pellet, 6.5% AA) @ 60 min.
0.60 oz. Mt. Hood (Pellet, 6.5% AA) @ 5 min.

Extras

1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.

Yeast

Wild yeast & bacteria from foraged wild flowers

Water Profile

Seattle
1.60g Calcium Chloride
3.00g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single infusion – 60 min @ 156F
Mash out — 10 min @ 170F

Notes

09.05.18 — Decanted the wild flower starter wort (Flanders red wort) and cold crashed

Brewed on 09.06.18 with Gregory

09.06.18 — Pitched 32oz of slurry into a 5 gallon carboy with the blonde ale wort

05.01.19 — After having sampled with a wine thief periodically, I decided to keg the beer and begin force carbonating at 12 PSI to enjoy while spring flowers begin to bloom.

Tasting Notes — 06.23.19 (on draft)

Pale straw color in appearance, and well clarified. Moderate white head stand that dissipates. Some lacing. Earthy-floral notes with a hint of celery seed and hay on the nose. Palate displays delicate floral, dandelion-like flavors up front. The middle is juicy with maltiness like wild flower honey. Finishes off-dry with a hint of pine, and a slight tartness reminiscent of lime rind.

Calculated OG: 1.046
Calculated FG: 1.006
Approx. ABV: 5.25%