The nettle beer pictured above was made using my own variation of this recipie to give it more kick, the only trouble is you rarely get any in the glass! Thank you to Andrew for holding the bottle and giving me a hand getting the brew ready for Christmas.
There are many ways to make nettle beer. Each version has its own unique taste, fizz, colour and potency, but the recipe here is quite a traditional one which should leave you with a fairly mild brew of around 3.5/4%, but take that with a pinch of salt as there are lots of variables to consider.
3 Gallons of young nettle tops
12 litres of water
50g Cream of tartar
1.3 KG of granulated sugar
12g of yeast (beer yeast is fine)
For added flavour you may also add some young Goosegrass
It's important to take only young nettles for this recipe, but this does not mean you are restricted to only spring, as there will be plenty of young nettles about throughout the year if you look hard enough, but of course there will be more in spring.
If you grasp a nettle firmly you won't need to wear gloves.
Grasping the nettle
Once you have about three gallons of nettles you are ready to go to the next step.
Using a large stock pot boil 12 litres of water, once you have a rolling boil, add the nettles and allow the to cook away for about 20 minutes or so. Once this has been done simply strain the nettles out using a sieve.
Now dissolve all of the sugar and cream of tartar into the golden liquid and stir until fully dissolved. Allow to cool, and when the temperature is about that of blood temperature add the yeast, cover and leave in a warm place for about 4 days. After the four days is up remove any scum from the surface and siphon off into bottles. I usually leave these in a warm place for a couple of days and then put them somewhere cold until the brew clears.
I should mention that as with all home brewing, you need to sterilise EVERYTHING throughout. A prior knowledge of home brewing will help. It's also quite easy to kill the yeast so make sure your liquid is not too hot when you add it, but still warm enough to allow it to activate.
One more thing I will point out is this, if you use glass bottles, please make sure your brew has finished fermenting (in the tub) before bottling, as nettle beer can be quite violent if it ferments in the bottle, often leading to explosions which can cause serious damage due to shards of glass. For this reason, I would recommend small plastic bottles for first timers. These can still burst but obviously with fewer consequences.
If you make your brew today, it should be ready to drink at Christmas, good luck!
Catch you on the trail