hist-brewing: Yarrow and other bittering herbs

adam larsen euphonic at flash.net
Wed May 17 14:06:18 PDT 2000

    Well, i must say that i didn't suspect that Pensee's stuff is not as well
known with the readership as i initially thought.  Pensee's information
regarding Bog Bean is lifted from J.G. Hahn's "Die Hausbrauerei" (1804).
Pensee's translation is as follows:

    "One lets the Buckbean boil in water for a few minutes and then discards
the bitter brew. Then cook the leaves for another hour in fresh water and
strain.  Add half of this extract to the wort and boil for one hour. Decide if
the wort is going to be bitter enough.  If not, add from the rest of the
Buckbean extract to the worts.  If, against expectation , the beer is not
bitter enough add the extract a spoonful at a time to the maturing beer when it
is in the barrels. To one bucket (about 70 tankards of 1/2 liter each) 10-12
loths (1 loth is about 14 grams) Buckbean are used. Before fermentation one can
not use such a beer, but immediatelyafter  it has fermented out is loses the
harshness.  Such beers never sours and may be kept for years and thus one can
brew in reserve, but it must ferment out."
    Hahn then continues to describe how true porter uses mace, starch and
Buckbean.  He then describes the use of  juniper as an ale flavoring.  I agree
with Pensee that Hahn's notions of  the origin of Porter are dubious.  I have
also  found his suggestions for juniper to be unsatisfactory.
    That being said, his recommendations for the use of  Buckbean are quite
good provided one uses dried roots or flowers.  The method  works equally well
for Yarrow & Horehound, although not for aloe.  I have used Hahn's
recommendations as a starting point for lots of  herbs in many different
gruited and mulled ales.  I have also taken the easy way out by using store
bought Buckbean extract when it's diluted 4-6 parts parts water to 1 part
Hope this is of help.

PBLoomis at aol.com wrote:

> In a message dated 5/16/00 12:17:03 PM Central Daylight Time,
> euphonic at flash.net writes:
> >  I have found that
> >  Clive La Pensee's recommendations in  "The Historical Companion to House
> >  Brewing" regarding the use of bog bean, pages 142 & 144, can easily be
> >  applied to any bittering  herb.  If  someone out their can't get the
> >  book  I suppose I could post the relevant segment in this forum.
> >
>     Please do.  Scotti

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