Birch Beer

Along with spruce beers, birch and maple beers were brewed by early American colonists as a substitute for barley beers. Sap from the black birch was used, but given the amounts of birch sap necessary to make beer, additional sugars - such as maple syrup, honey or sugar - were added.

Traditional Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 gallons birch sap

  • 1 gallon honey

  • 4 quarts budding birch twigs

  • yeast and yeast nutrient

Instructions:

  1. Boil the sap for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and add the honey.

  2. Add the birch twigs, allow the mixture to cool to 70F.

  3. Strain into a fermenter, pitch the yeast and ferment thoroughly.

  4. Prime, bottle and condition for 2 weeks before drinking.

Modern Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4-1/2 gallons water

  • 1 quart maple syrup

  • 5 pounds honey

  • 2 ounces wintergreen extract

  • yeast

Instructions:

  1. Heat the water enough to dissolve the honey and maple sap in the water.

  2. Allow the mixture to cool to 70F.

  3. Strain into a fermenter, pitch the yeast and ferment thoroughly.

  4. Prime, bottle and condition for 2 weeks before drinking.

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