Homebrewing blog and resource

Indigenous Brewing Ingredients

It’s Fermentation Friday for September 2008 and Marcus from Final Gravity is hosting.  The topic this time around is:

What indigenous brewing ingredient have you used or would you like to brew with and what style would that beer be?

John here. Not sure if this is a cop out, but I did use some Vermont Maple Syrup for my Maple Porter last year.

Maple syrup has been made in these parts before the Europeans showed up. Someday, it would be nice to collect my own sap and boil it down (we do have some sugar maple trees around here). Until then, I think it’s best to buy from a small farm that made it on the premises.

I think brewing with ingredients that are indigenous to your area is the way to go. If they are from your area, the ingredients are fresh.
Fresh ingredients make good beer.

Plus, beer styles came from brewing using ingredients that were nearby and from environmental conditions. I think as homebrewers, we should continue this tradition…and make our own styles.

What indigenous brewing ingredient have you used or would you like to brew with and what style would that beer be? 

For me, Mike, I think the best indigenous ingredient I have used has to be the cranberry.  Here in Massachusetts out on the cape cranberry production has been a quiet staple of the agricultural industry.  I once made a fantastic wheat based cranberry beer for the thanksgiving holiday. What a great beer.  I used fresh local cranberries, fresh local apples and some oranges (non-native) to make a thick relish.  I racked the beer after primary onto the relish and and let it sit for another two weeks.  The beer was great.  Tart and vibrant, it was a surprising treat for those cool fall evenings here in New England.

The best part of using cranberries as a fruit addition is their acidity.  Cranberries are so acidic, that once you make then into a relish in a food processor any wild yeast contaminants are killed or greatly attenuated so they don’t infect the beer.  So you don’t have to mess around with boiling fruit (which leads to horrible haze) or trying to pasturize the fruit like you would for other types of fruit beers.

Just thinking of that tart beer is making me thirsty….where is that damn recipe????


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  1. Mike

    What a great recipe! Actually this may be just the recipe I need to brew up to settle my current craving for sour beers. Although its not truly a sour beer because its just some tart cranberries.

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