During last year I deviated from my method of propagating yeast and bacteria from flowers in incremental steps and added a bunch of heather directly to demijohn without any additional yeast. This was partially an experiment, partially laziness and partially opportunity as the heather was in flower when I had spare wort from a brew. It also allowed the flavour of heather to be incorporated by “dry hopping” with it. While there was a risk of a bad infection without the sensory testing steps, it was successful and possibly antimicrobial properties in the heather played a part.
Because of the different method and as a way of incorporating flavour I have included the recipe here.
OG:1.056 FG:1.009 ABV:6.0% SRM:6 IBU:17 20L batch
53% Maris Otter malt
24% Pilsner malt
11% wheat malt
2% spelt malt
4% flaked wheat
2% acidulated malt
18g East Kent Golding (5.92% AA) at 60mins
18g East Kent Golding at 15mins
15g each of Saaz, Celeia and East Kent Golding at 0mins
I mashed at 65 deg C for an hour
After three months, I racked the Heather Ale off the sprigs of heather. A very thin film had formed on top among the floating fronds. This had been an experiment to see what would happen if I cut out the propagation steps and sensory testing. It was a bit of a gamble, a bit lazy but also a way to “dry hop” the ale with heather as well as add a source of yeast. The gravity was 1.007 and the pH was 3.9. The ale had mostly cleared and tasted of a floral honey. I will give it a little more time before bottling.