Elderflower Ale Suggestions?

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Edison

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Hello all,

I was planning on brewing a more traditional English IPA tomorrow, but I have noticed I seem to have an abundance of elderflowers growing in my hedge at the bottom of the garden! That got me to thinking and I’m now considering making a refreshing pale ale, about 4.5%, MO base and perhaps some light crystal for body and sweetness (I also have Munich and Aromatic in the inventory).

I usually go for 40+ IBU and have a reasonable selection of random hops in the freezer, some American, also some saaz, mosaic, EKG and fuggles. I brew AG with a batch size of 19l.

I brewed Greg’s Elderflower Ale recipe a while ago but wasn’t blown away by it (I am blaming ropey dried elder flowers for that though).

I‘ll plug the numbers into Beer Smith in the morning, but I’m curious what the great minds on here would suggest as to quantities of fresh elderflowers and appropriate hops.

Short notice I know, but thanks in advance!
 

An Ankoù

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Don't know about great minds, but I once made an elderflower ale based on a Summer Lightning recipe with added (dried) elderflowers in secondary. I think it was a success just not to my taste. S L is already 38 ibus. I think it might be a mistake to overdo the bitterness.
 

Edison

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Don't know about great minds, but I once made an elderflower ale based on a Summer Lightning recipe with added (dried) elderflowers in secondary. I think it was a success just not to my taste. S L is already 38 ibus. I think it might be a mistake to overdo the bitterness.
Thanks An Ankoù, do you think the bitterness clashed badly with the elderflower?

I was thinking something along the lines of SL, but if I’m going to be keeping the ABV lower than my usual levels (to make it a bit more quaffable) I’ll perhaps reign in the bitterness too!
 

An Ankoù

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Thanks An Ankoù, do you think the bitterness clashed badly with the elderflower?

I was thinking something along the lines of SL, but if I’m going to be keeping the ABV lower than my usual levels (to make it a bit more quaffable) I’ll perhaps reign in the bitterness too!
I think I'd go that way, too. No late hops, just a normal "bitter" flavoured with elderflower. I think an OG of 1050 would easily stand 35 ibus. On the subject of elderflowers, I read ages ago that some of them can taste "catty" so I always used dried ones (which presumably taste ok) but this might be another entry for the "myths" thread.
 

Edison

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Have a look at my Elderflower Pale thread. The recipe is from James Morton's Brew book
Thanks Gingerbrews, that's really helpful. I have three different crystal malts so I might try the light one. Wondering if Mosaic hops might work well, FWH and just a small late hop.
 

Edison

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Thanks all, seems today works better for me to be brewing. Just finished up the recipe below, hope it works out ok. Didn’t have enough Mosaic in the end to use it to bitter, so given that job to Simcoe. Need to mill and get the mash on, then it’s up the ladder to pick some flowers now the rain has stopped!

Cheers!
#39 summer elderflower.jpg
 

Edison

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Now the mash is on I went and confused the neighbours by looking like a loon standing on the shed roof with a pair of scissors!

Collected about 16 flower heads, going for the ones that are still bright white and a few unopened flower buds avoiding any that look like they're beginning to darken in colour (trying to avoid any 'catty' aromas).

I tried stripping the individual flowers off with a fork but it began to smell quite vegative so I ditched that idea and just snipped off most of the green stems.

I have 50g now ready to go into the hop spider for the last 5 minutes of the boil.

This is more like 9 heads trimmed.
20200604_130823.jpg
 

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Edison

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Successful brew day, OG 1.044, pretty much where I was hoping for. Simcoe and Mosaic smelt good with the flowers and the finished wort tasted promising. Here's hoping!
20200604_201744.jpg
 

Dearnley

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Hello all,

I was planning on brewing a more traditional English IPA tomorrow, but I have noticed I seem to have an abundance of elderflowers growing in my hedge at the bottom of the garden! That got me to thinking and I’m now considering making a refreshing pale ale, about 4.5%, MO base and perhaps some light crystal for body and sweetness (I also have Munich and Aromatic in the inventory).

I usually go for 40+ IBU and have a reasonable selection of random hops in the freezer, some American, also some saaz, mosaic, EKG and fuggles. I brew AG with a batch size of 19l.

I brewed Greg’s Elderflower Ale recipe a while ago but wasn’t blown away by it (I am blaming ropey dried elder flowers for that though).

I‘ll plug the numbers into Beer Smith in the morning, but I’m curious what the great minds on here would suggest as to quantities of fresh elderflowers and appropriate hops.

Short notice I know, but thanks in advance!
The elderflower tempted to do more than just champagne this year. I’m following an early 70s book by CJJ Berry for elderflower ale. using a safele US05 I bought last year. Against my expectations I have to say it is ferenting well, smells wonderful and should finish off at just a smidgeon over 5%abv. Always willing to try something new.
 

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clyne

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I know it might be a bit early but I’ve been considering whether to make a beer with elderflower as well - wondered how these turned out?
 

Edison

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My ale turned out well, lovely golden colour, some sweet maltiness to it and plenty of elderflower aroma without being overpowering. It’s still a bit young but is improving (it’s on tap already as I’m impatient and had a free tap). Started off quite hazy, presumably from the pollen, but beginning to clear. This is my first attempt at using fresh elderflowers, from using them in the last 10 minutes of the boil you get more of a slight spicy/herbal flavour than the sweet fragrance you can smell in the fresh flower, but I like it. Not worth risking dry hopping them.
Not sure where you are Clyne but by me (Staffordshire) most of the wild elderflowers have gone now.
I left plenty in my hedge and am resisting trimming them, even though I should get the trimmers out, I’m considering trying an elderberry and first gold beer later in the year.
 

clyne

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Hey @Edison - thanks for the reply, sounds lovely! Any chance you can send over that recipe? I use beersmith but the link didn't work for me? Not sure if you share to everyone or just certain people (I'm pretty new to beersmith) - my username is md2k9 on there if that helps?

I life in the far north of Scotland so we're usually 4-6 weeks behind everyone else. Our elderflowers are just coming into full bloom now. I picked about 20 heads at the weekend and have them frozen ready for us. Wanted to make an elderflower wine too so will pick some more when it stops raining :)
 

Edison

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Sure, no worries. I updated the recipe and re-uploaded it. This should work:


Most of my recipes are on there, feel free to search for my profile 'ed_lx'. Not all the fine details are correct, but the ingredients should be what went into the brew!

FYI I only used the very freshest/whitest flowers as they can go a bit stinky, and I snipped off the larger stalks from the flower head. All the best!
 

clyne

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Nice one, thanks @Edison - can see the recipe now, cheers acheers.
 

Edison

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This is the beer I found, never tried it though...


If my elderberries (which I have never used before) and my Prima Donna (first gold) hops come good at similar times, it seems a shame not to try some magic!
 

MagnusTS

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This is the beer I found, never tried it though...


If my elderberries (which I have never used before) and my Prima Donna (first gold) hops come good at similar times, it seems a shame not to try some magic!
I love First Gold hops, like spicy marmalade. A 'druid ale' sounds awesome. Would be interested to see how this one turns out later this year. Hope you start a thread when you brew it.

I am planning an elderberry hefeweizen. Just a normal hefeweizen (from James Morton), with an elderberry addition during fermentation. Planning to mash up about 150g of elderberries (for an 8L brew), pour on boiling water, cool, and pour through sieve into the FV. Not figured out all the details yet.
 
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