Sweetgrass Ale

Sweetgrass Ale

(5 gallons/19 L, all grain)
OG = 1.039  FG = 1.010
IBU = 13  SRM = 4  ABV = 3.9%

5 lbs. (2.25 kg) pale malt
2.5 lbs. (1.12 kg) wheat malt
8 oz. (224 g) crystal malt (10 °L)
8 oz. (224 g) Vienna malt
2.8 AAU Cascade hops (60 min.) (0.56 oz./16 g at 5% alpha acids)
2 AAU Hallertau hops (20 min.) (0.5 oz./14 g at 4% alpha acid)
0.25 oz. (7 g) Hallertau hops (dry hop)
1 oz. (28 g) dried sweetgrass leaves (“dry hop” in secondary)
Wyeast 1007 (German Ale) yeast
8 oz. (224 g) of dry malt extract (if priming)

Step by step
Crush malt and mash at 153 °F (67 °C) for 90 minutes at pH 5.3. Sparge with a little less than 3 gallons (11.4 liters) of 168 °F (76 °C) water at pH 6.2. Top up to at least 6.25 gallons (23.7 liters) to allow 1-gallon (3.8-liter) loss during boil. Bring to a boil and add Cascade hops for last 60 minutes of the boil. Add 0.5 ounce (14 gram) Hallertau hops for last 20 minutes of the boil.

When done boiling, chill with wort chiller to 65–70 °F (18–21 °C) and siphon into glass carboy. Aerate the wort and pitch a one-pint (470 mL) yeast starter. Set carboy in 58 °F place (14 °C) until primary fermentation is complete (about 2 weeks). Rack beer onto sweetgrass cut into 3-4 inch pieces and 0.25 ounce (7 g) of whole Hallertau hops in a sanitized glass carboy for secondary fermentation at 58 °F (14 °C). Allow sweetgrass and hops to soak for 3 days in secondary fermenter, then rack into a bottling bucket and add 8 ounces (224 g) of dry malt extract, pre-boiled in a pint (470 mL) of water. Bottle the batch. Allow beer to condition in the bottle for at least one month in a cool, dark place.

Partial-mash option:
Replace the 7.5 pounds (3.4 kg) of pale malt and wheat malt with 6 pounds (2.7 kg) of liquid malt extract (LME) for wheat beers. Steep Vienna and crystal malts at 153 °F (67 °C) in 2 qts. (2 L) for 45 minutes. Wash grains with 2 qts. (2 L) hot water. Bring this wort to a boil and add LME.


Issue: May-June 2003

En lieu of dry hops, try adding sweetgrass to make a unique beer with a vanilla-like essence.