Monday, January 21, 2008

3rd Brew: Sage Ale

I thought of creating a Sage Beer when I first heard of the hops shortage. I also would like to create a beer that can be strongly identified with my home in San Diego county.

I found a recipe online and decided to try it. I don't expect it to taste good, but I am very curious how it does taste to see if it is something I can work with to create something more, or if it just skunky and nasty and horrible.

The recipe called for brown sugar but I substituted agave syrup (another regional ingredient).

Here is my adapted recipe:

16 grams of dried sage
1 lb of light english malt
1/3 lb of agave syrup.


  • Pick 3 handfuls of sage, dry in oven @ 100 degrees (F) then freeze until needed
  • Boil 1/2 gallon of water in a pot at least 6 quarts in size
  • After boil, turn off heat and add 1lb of light english malt
  • add another gallon and bring to boil
  • Add 8 grams of dried sage, and boil for 20 minutes
  • Add 1/3 lb of Agave syrup, bring back to boil for 1 minute
  • Add 8 grams of dried sage, Boil for 1 minute
  • Cool by immersion in larger kettle (~20 min) to 80 degress (F)
  • Siphon into 1 gallon jug
  • Pitch 200cc of ale yeast prepared from starter, or 1 tube.
  • Add water leaving enough space on the top of the jug to accommodate the krausen without overflowing
The whole brew required only 1 hour not including cleanup, I like the 1 gallon batch!!!

I see from my page tracker that this entry is getting a lot of traffic so I will post an update here.

After bottling and conditioning I tasted this ale and it tasted baaaad. At first I thought it was just the sage, but I later brewed an english-style pale ale with that same yeast and found that beer to taste bad in a similar way.

Later this year (2008) I may tackle this recipe again with a good yeast to see how it tastes. If I do, I will post another update so you know.


Andrew Campbell said...

Looking forward to reading the results of this experiment! Just got given a subscription to Malt of the Earth (the microbrew beer-of-the-month club)... and am enjoying my way through a very nice, slightly grapefruity Otter Creek IPA.

best of luck

Eric said...

I am looking forward to it too. I will try to find an Otter Creek IPA and let you know how it tastes to me.

I noticed several other variations from the original recipe: I didn't boil the sage as long. I used dried, fresh sage, and I didn't include sage in the fermenter. I guess if it comes out poorly I can try again.

Another problem is I couldn't get another gallon jug from my local shop, I had to order it online, so I will need to wait more than a week to rack this to secondary.

Mattress said...

You need to put sage in the fermentor, the reason is that the sage oils that are preservative are not water soluble like the stuff in hops that are drawn into the wort during the boil. By adding sage to the fermentor those oils are extracted via the alcohol.

Eric said...

Thanks Mattress, I will try again someday and try it that way next.