May 9, 2013

Foraged Farmhouse

Its been nearly 10 months since I started the "minimalist lambic".  I've tasted it here and there, and unsurprisingly the beer is fairly simple.  The main flavors I get from it are barnyard funk, bitterness, and lemon rind acidity.  The barnyard flavor isn't the horse-blanket funk, but rather a softer more earthy/floral barnyard.  It reminds me more of the funk you get from brett farmhouse beers.

With that in mind, I had decided that I should run with the earthy/floral flavor and add some dandelions.  Its not my personal favorite, but thought it could add some complexity and make a nice summer sour beer for my wife.  When I went out to pick some dandelions, I noticed maple flowers blooming above me.  I had been told just the night before that these are edible, so I decided to try some.  Turns out they are pretty good.  I picked two varieties; Sugar Maple and Norway Maple.  Ironically, the Norway Maple flowers are much sweeter than the Sugar Maple's.

Sugar Maple flowers.

Norway Maple flowers.

Eating them raw is fine, but I had no idea how they would translate into a beer.  I decided to take a pinch of each and make a tea with them to get an idea of how strong the flavors would be.

Teas made with maple flowers and dandelions.
I found I preferred the flavor of the Norway maple flowers the most, but they both make pretty good tea.  I sorted out and added about 2 cups of Norway maple flowers, 1 cup of Sugar maple flowers.  The dandelion tea seemed to be a bit vegetal, which I attributed to the green bottom of the flower, so cut that part off of each and added 1/2 cup of dandelion flowers (petals?).

Bowl of ingredients ready to be added to the beer.
I also decided to add 4oz (~1 cup) of dried cranberries.  I'm not looking to pick up cranberry flavor in the end, but rather just a soft fruity note.  Also I thought it would help the color of the beer.

I'm thinking I'll give these about a month to infuse with the beer and then it'll be ready for bottling.  With any luck, it will be a nice summer beer.

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