My brother is turning into a keen brewer, despite being too skint for much equipment, or indeed, ingredients. Therefore he was very excited to read about nettle and dandelion beer, something you can make from free and extremely abundant ingredients. Infuriatingly abundant for most gardeners.
The recipe says get a bin bag of nettles, a box of dandelion flowers (which is nice and easy as you don't have to dig up the roots and spend ages washing them), boil them for half an hour, strain off the liquor, add three and a bit kilos of sugar, cool it, add the yeast, done. Oh and some citric acid and yeast nutrient. Sounds easy as pie. So we picked a bag of nettles:
And a box of dandelions:
And then realised that we didn't have anything big enough to boil it all up in. People into brewing have big stainless steel pots and gas burner things to do it in, but we didn't so Pete spent all day boiling little batches in as many pots as we could find!
He does however have a big bucket to brew in, so eventually it all made its way in there and has now finished fermenting.
It didn't ferment for as long as we were expecting so the yeast might have died early. It might have gone horribly wrong! I'm not going to be the first one to taste it, that's for sure, it looks disgusting.
Its golden companion you can see there behind it is the mead! It's basically fermented honey solution. Isn't it beeyoitiful? It's been bubbling merrily for weeks now and shows no sign of settling down. I can't wait to taste that, but apparently I have to wait for a year, and then there's only that much of it! Honey is expensive.
Soon we shall bottle the nettle and dandelion beer....