This is an easy recipe to follow and creates a delightful, if not usual tasting beer. It is very cheap to make and follows a traditionally English recipe. Before hops were widely used in the 17th century all sorts of plant were used to flavour the ale including nettles.(Urtica dioica). It was also thought to help alleviate rheumatic pain, gout and asthma. Nettle beer can still be bought in the Czech republic and in the north of England where it is brewed with hops and is called internettle.
- 900 grams 2lb young nettle tops
- 3.8 lts 1 gallon of water
- 230 grams 8oz of sugar, brown or demarrara sugar works best.
- 7.5 grams 0.25oz of fresh yeast
- small piece of toast
- 7.5 grams 0.25oz of ground ginger
Boil the nettle tops in the water for half an hour (you will need a very large pan for this or preferably a cauldron).
Keeping the mixture, strain and add sugar, stirring to dissolve. I mentioned keeping the mixture as the first time I did this I strained it and poured the liquid down the sink, so had to go out and pick more nettles. Also stir in the ginger. Pour mixture into a sterile container, ask at most home brew shops for details, if you don't have a home brew shop near you then a big branch of Boots should offer a Brewers bucket.
Spread the yeast onto the toast and float on the surface of the nettle liquid. Cover and leave for about 3 days at room temperature, do not allow the temperature to fluctuate too much as this will ruin the fermentation process.
Strain again and put into clean, strong screw top beer bottles, or sealable wine bottles (I used plastic bottles and it still worked). This can be drunk after about 2 days. Still not sure how alcoholic this beer is I have never drank more than one pint in a go, it does taste like it should be though.