Woodrat - Homebrewer Profile

Woodrat

Woodrat

11/26/2018
23
0

Experimental all-grain homebrewer from central Pennsylvania with years of experience making herbal and gruit beers and a strong interest in using local ingredients. I now spend part of the year in London, UK, where a smaller kitchen dictates smaller batches (~3 gals) and metric (yikes).
Website: https://www.herbalbrewing.com

Ginger-Angelica Gruit Porter

Ginger-Angelica Gruit Porter

by Woodrat on 12/4/2018
All Grain | 5 Gallon(s) | Unknown Style | 7.1 % ABV
Put all spices into a muslin bag to go in the primary and add it to brewpot 5-10 minutes before flame-out to sanitize.
Calaguala Ale

Calaguala Ale

by Woodrat on 12/4/2018
All Grain + Extract | 5 Gallon(s) | Unknown Style | 6.1 % ABV
A partial mash-extract beer. Calaguala or samambaia is a type of tropical fern. Back in 2003, my brother Mark brought me a couple of quarts of calaguala rhizomes back from Honduras, along with some cinchona bark, so naturally I had to brew with them.
Indian Sarsaparilla Gruit Ale

Indian Sarsaparilla Gruit Ale

by Woodrat on 12/4/2018
All Grain + Extract | 5 Gallon(s) | Unknown Style | 7.5 % ABV
A partial mash-extract brew. Add all herbs and spices ten minutes before the end of the boil, then turn off and lid brewpot and let them steep for at least half an hour.
Yarrow Gruit Braggot Ale

Yarrow Gruit Braggot Ale

by Woodrat on 12/4/2018
All Grain + Extract | 6 Gallon(s) | Unknown Style | 6.7 % ABV
Braggot is half beer, half mead. I made this back in 2002, when the local wildflower honey was still extremely cheap (and before I switched to all-grain brewing). My technique at that time involved making a two-gallon tea with part of the herbs the day before—in this case, with the yarrow—and refrigerating it in sanitized jars to add to the wort at the end of the boil... a very long boil, as you can imagine. Alternatively, you could just add the yarrow leaf to the wort ten minutes before the ...
Dark Lager with Mugwort

Dark Lager with Mugwort

by Woodrat on 12/3/2018
All Grain | 5 Gallon(s) | Unknown Style | 7.0 % ABV
An unhopped lager. The herbs are assertive but not overpowering, and the bitterness is fairly low. Mash at 154F for maltiness. Add .75 oz mugwort at the beginning of the boil and the remainder at the end. The elecampane and gentian can also go in at the beginning, but save the orange peel for the end.
Sleepytime Beer

Sleepytime Beer

by Woodrat on 12/3/2018
All Grain | 5 Gallon(s) | Unknown Style | 5.7 % ABV
Hops, valerian, and chamomile to sedate and mint to aid digestion. (The mint may be left out, however. Not everyone appreciates beer that tastes like toothpaste.) Elecampane is just for the taste. Boil the hops and 1/2 oz of chamomile flowers in the wort for an hour, the elecampane for half an hour, the remaining 2 oz. of chamomile for ten minutes, and the mint for five minutes. Add the valerian root to the primary.
Wild Ginger and Lemon Verbena Wheat Beer

Wild Ginger and Lemon Verbena Wheat Beer

by Woodrat on 12/3/2018
All Grain | 5 Gallon(s) | Unknown Style | 4.6 % ABV
I added the wild ginger 20 minutes before the end of the boil and the lemon verbena right at the end, letting it steep in the hot wort for ten minutes before cooling. The gentian root goes in at the beginning of the boil, and yes, one teaspoon is plenty bitter!
Abbey Gruit

Abbey Gruit

by Woodrat on 12/3/2018
All Grain | 5.5 Gallon(s) | Belgian Dubbel | 5.8 % ABV
One of my typical gruit blends meets White Labs Trappist Ale (aka Monastery) yeast. I made a gallon of tea ahead of time from the staghorn sumac, mugwort, yarrow, and 2 oz. of the sweetfern, then heated it up and added it to the boil just before the end, after a long boil to reduce the volume of the wort to ~4 gallons. This was probably more work than is absolutely necessary, though I think the caramelization was an asset.
Gruit Ale with Kveik

Gruit Ale with Kveik

by Woodrat on 12/2/2018
All Grain | 5 Gallon(s) | Unknown Style | 5.7 % ABV
One of the herbal beers I typically make, but using the yeast (kveik) from Norwegian farmhouse beer. I kept the primary temperature around 80F, and it was ready to bottle in three days! It tasted nice: tart, somewhat citrusy. A perfect background for juniper (eastern red cedar) and sweetfern. The juniper went in the mash; I added the yarrow and mugwort at the beginning of the boil, mainly for bitterness, and the sweetfern ten minutes before flame-out.
Elderberry Wheat Beer

Elderberry Wheat Beer

by Woodrat on 12/1/2018
All Grain | 12 Liter(s) | Unknown Style | 6.3 % ABV
As so many brewers have discovered, elderberries and beer is a match made in heaven.
Sweetfern Chamomile Gruit Ale

Sweetfern Chamomile Gruit Ale

by Woodrat on 11/30/2018
All Grain | 5.5 Gallon(s) | Unknown Style | 5.7 % ABV
The chamomile taste is up-front but not dominant, and most of the other herbs are present as spicy background notes. There’s a bit of camphor taste from the sweetfern. Probably one of my most well-balanced herbal beers yet, with good head retention and full mouthfeel—a very pleasant, malt-forward, summertime ale. Add half of sweetfern (loose, not in a bag) and honey at beginning of boil and the rest ten minutes before the end. Add lemonbalm and 1 oz. of chamomile five minutes before end of ...
Elderflower Wheat Beer

Elderflower Wheat Beer

by Woodrat on 11/30/2018
All Grain | 12 Liter(s) | Belgian Blond Ale | 7.0 % ABV
A Belgian-style wheat beer with elderflowers from the back garden tree in London. (American black elderberry flowers could be substituted. Regardless, dry them on newspapers for at least three days, and add ten minutes before end of boil.)
Fraoch Porter

Fraoch Porter

by Woodrat on 11/30/2018
All Grain | 12 Liter(s) | Baltic Porter | 7.1 % ABV
A heather-based gruit with yarrow, gentian, and meadowsweet. Floral and malty.
Special Relationship Wheat Beer

Special Relationship Wheat Beer

by Woodrat on 11/30/2018
All Grain | 12 Liter(s) | Unknown Style | 6.1 % ABV
Brewed to celebrate my marriage to a British woman, the concept here is simple: an American wheat beer with British ingredients. (The Anglo-American alliance has been described as a "special relationship" since WWII. Sadly, this does not translate to special treatment in immigration.)
Sloe Stout

Sloe Stout

by Woodrat on 11/30/2018
All Grain | 12.0001 Liter(s) | Foreign Extra Stout | 7.3 % ABV
A stout with sloes and juniper berries (both pasteurized in a hop bag with two quarts of drawn-off beer as it is racked into the secondary). I used UK treacle instead of molasses.
Belgian Gale Ale

Belgian Gale Ale

by Woodrat on 11/30/2018
All Grain | 12.0001 Liter(s) | Unknown Style | 7.1 % ABV
Sweet gale or bog myrtle is a classic northern European gruit herb, but can be hard to get in the US in any form other than really old, overpoweringly bitter, and otherwise lacking in flavor. I took advantage of a visit to the UK to obtain some high-quality bog myrtle from a mail-order supplier (Totally Herby) in Scotland, and it was a night-and-day difference from what I'd attempted to use previously: pleasantly floral with just a hint of bitterness. Add yarrow at beginning of boil, and ...
Appalachian True Root Beer

Appalachian True Root Beer

by Woodrat on 11/30/2018
All Grain | 4 Gallon(s) | Doppelbock | 8.0 % ABV
An alcoholic root beer with hops, for the the gruit-averse. Add roots in muslin bag near end of boil to sanitize, then keep in primary for a week. (I don't have the right equipment or conditions for lagering, so I use an ale yeast, but the grain bill and hops are modeled after doppelbock.)
Pennsylvania Native Gruit Beer

Pennsylvania Native Gruit Beer

by Woodrat on 11/30/2018
All Grain | 3 Gallon(s) | Unknown Style | 6.3 % ABV
A true root beer made with 100% native herbs and trees, gathered in my own back forty.
Sweetfern Red Ale

Sweetfern Red Ale

by Woodrat on 11/30/2018
All Grain | 5 Gallon(s) | Irish Red Ale | 6.2 % ABV
Wildcrafted sweetfern (Comptonia peregrina), a North American native herb, replaces 100% of the hops to good effect. (Obviously the automatic IBU calculation here is way off.) The herbs in the secondary are optional; it's good either way. Both yeasts may not be necessary, but I like complexity.
Chicory Stout

Chicory Stout

by Woodrat on 11/29/2018
All Grain | 5 Gallon(s) | Sweet Stout | 6.7 % ABV
A stout in which chicory root provides the roastiness.
Scottish Wee Heavy

Scottish Wee Heavy

by Woodrat on 11/29/2018
All Grain | 5.5 Gallon(s) | Strong Scotch Ale | 10.2 % ABV
My first attempt at this style, using ingredients I had on hand.
Appalachian Gruit Stout

Appalachian Gruit Stout

by Woodrat on 11/26/2018
All Grain | 5 Gallon(s) | Foreign Extra Stout | 7.6 % ABV
Using herbs from the back forty (sweetfern and mugwort) and locally grown base malt from Appalachian Malting in Portage, PA. No hops are needed for sanitation or bittering. Sweetfern imparts a spruce-lish, camphor type of flavor, and also seems to have strong anti-microbial properties (as does mugwort).
Mexican American Amber Ale

Mexican American Amber Ale

by Woodrat on 11/26/2018
All Grain | 5 Gallon(s) | Unknown Style | 7.2 % ABV
Made with locally malted barley from Appalachian Malting in Portage, PA, and some herbs my Mexican sister-in-law brought me on a recent visit. It's been pointed out to me that this could be made "more Mexican" with the addition of some hot peppers — an interesting suggestion. But I'm thinking instead I'd like to make a different, darker beer patterned after mole poblano, with chocolate (from cacao nibs, chocolate malt, and perhaps roasted chicory) balancing out the hot peppers.
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