Brewing Country-style Beers

For the novice brewer, the brewing of country-stlye beers (also sometimes called hedgerow wines) is the easiest way to start in making your first beer. After all, people have been making basic beers in this way for hundreds or years and the results can sometimes be surprisingly good.

What's even better is that you don't have to go out and purchase lots of complicated and costly equipment. All you need is a bucket, bottles that can either be securely corked or that have flip-tops a little yeast, some toast and a big pot.

Country-style beers are typically made from water, a flavouring agent, sugar and yeast. The flavouring agent is typically sourced from the wild (which is why this style of beer is known as a 'hedgerow beer') and common ingredients include dandelion tips, sloes, elderberries, elderflowers, sea-buckthorn berries, dandelion and burdock roots, wild strawberries, rose hips and many more. In essence anything that can be used to infuse water with a pleasant flavour.

Once you have made your infusion you then add tartaric acid as an acidifyer (or you can add oranges and lemons to the infusion) and you will add about 500g sugar per 1l or liquid. Then it's a case of allowing everything to cool down to body temperature before adding the yeast. A good example of this beer type is nettle beer, the recipe for which is given below:

Nettle Beer

2l nettle tops
4l water
3 oranges, cut into segments (with peel)
3 lemons, cut into segments (with peel)
900g sugar cubes

Combine the nettle tops, water, oranges and lemons in a large pan. Bring to a boil and cook for 40 minutes. Take off the heat and strain through a muslin bag.

Return the liquid to a pan, bring back to a boil and boil for 30 minutes before adding the sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved then take off the heat. Pour into a fermenting bucket and allow to cool to blood temperature. Spread a piece of toast with 15g yeast and float this on the surface of the liquid. Allow to ferment for 3 days then rack into bottles (flip-top bottles are best). Stopper the bottles securely then lay down in a cool place. The beer will be ready to drink in 2 months.

In addition to using toast spread with yeast you can also use rye bread (naturally yeasty) or you can buy beer-making yeast and spread this directly on top of the sugared liquid.

The recipe above gives you the basic (and traditional) method for making this kind of beer. Just vary the recipe for anything you wish to make and in two months you will be drinking your own home-made sparkling ale.

Users Reading this article are also interested in:
Top Searches on Beer Guide:
Home Beer Brewing Equipment Home Brewing Beer Equipment
About The Author, Gwydion
Dyfed Lloyd Evans is the creator of he Celtnet Recipes site where you can find many more brewing recipes, including a guide to brewing from scratch.