Honey Lemon Yarrow Summer Beer

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Bottle beer and allow to ferment for 14 to 21 days.
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Yarrows leaves and blossoms were widely used to bitter beer before hops became popular.

In The Homebrewer’s Garden(Storey Publishing, 2016) by Joe Fisher and Dennis Fisher, readers will find an abundance of recipes for brewing beer at home. Learn how to incorporate herbs and flowers into homemade beer for a unique beverage. This excerpt can be located in chapter 2, “Brewing Herbs.”


Milfoil, devil’s nettle

Achillea millefolium

Family: compositae (daisy)

Description: Fern-leaved, spreading perennial that grows up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall. Bears clusters of white to yellow flowers throughout summer. Good dried flower. Many hybrids are available with different colored flowers, such as ‘summer pastels’. Wide­spread roadside weed, easily gathered from the wild.

Similar Species: Fern-leaf yarrow (a. Filipendulina) has large flowers and grows 3 feet (90 cm) tall; cultivars include ‘coronation gold’ and ‘parker’s variety’.

Hardiness: Zones 3 to 8

Best Site: Will grow in most soils, but prefers mildly acid soil with a ph around 6. Full sun.

Propagation: Propagation is by seed or division in spring or fall. Divide yarrow clumps every 3 to 4 years to keep them vigorous.

Harvesting: Pick leaves and flowers soon after the plants come into bloom.

Brewing: Yarrows leaves and blossoms were widely used to bitter beer before hops became popular. Use 1/2 ounce (14 g) of fresh leaves or blossoms early in the boil to bring a mild, sagelike bittering to your beer.

Amelia’s Honey Lemon Yarrow Summer Beer

This recipe is from Amelia’s home brewery. She was kind enough to brew a special batch for us and includes these tasting notes: “A light, refreshing beer with a pleasant tartness and an intriguing herbal note. A touch of herbal bitterness to balance the malty finish. The key to this beer is resisting the urge to add too much yarrow. It is a potent herb, and too much can lead to a beer that is too astringent, bitter, and a little too inebriating!”

Yield: 5 gallons (19 L) • Initial Gravity: 1.050–1.056 • Final Gravity: 1.012–1.016


  • 3/4 pound (340 g) organic pilsner malt, crushed
  • 1/2 pound (226 g) organic light wheat malt
  • 1/2 pound (226 g) organic light Munich malt
  • 4 pounds (1.8 kg) organic pale dry malt extract
  • 2 pounds (900 g) light honey (clover or orange blossom)
  • 3/4 ounce (21 g) Sterling pellet hops, AA 8%, 6 HBU
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) organic Irish moss
  • 1 ounce (28 g) American Citra or Cascade pellet hops
  • 3/4 ounce (21 g) dried or 1-1/2 ounces (42.5 g) fresh yarrow flowers
  • 1–2 ounces (28-57 g) fresh zest from 3 or 4 Meyer lemons (Use a vegetable peeler to get as much fresh zest as possible.)
  • White Labs 002 English ale yeast, 001 California ale yeast, Wyeast 1968 London ESB ale yeast, 1056 American ale yeast, or Safale US-05 American ale yeast
  • 3/4 ounce (21 g) dried or 1-1/2 ounces (42.5 g) fresh yarrow flowers
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) organic corn sugar for priming


  1. Mix grains with at least 3 quarts (3 L) water, or fill a grain bag and place it in your brew pot filled with water.
  2. Gently heat to 150°F (66°C), and steep 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Strain all liquid from grains.
  4. Add enough water to the wort to fill brew kettle; total volume should be 5-1/4 to 5-1/2 gallons (20 to 21 L) (adjust for your brewing system).
  5. Heat to just before boiling, add malt extract and honey, and dissolve completely.
  6. Bring to a boil.
  7. Once wort has reached a full boil, start your timer and add Sterling hops.
  8. Boil 40 minutes. Add Irish moss, and boil 15 minutes. Add Cascade hops and 3/4 ounce yarrow, then turn heat off. As soon as the heat is turned off, add citrus zest, and stir well.
  9. Let steep 2 minutes before cooling.
  10. Cool wort to 65 to 70°F (18 to 21°C).
  11. Transfer to sanitized fer­menter, and aerate well.
  12. Add yeast, then ferment for 5 to 7 days.
  13. Rack to secondary fermenter if desired. Add additional 3/4 ounce yarrow to fer­menter. Ferment an additional 7 to 10 days.
  14. Prime and bottle beer using corn sugar when fermentation is complete. Allow to condition for at least 14 to 21 days.

All-Grain Adaptation

  • 4 pounds (1.8 kg) organic pale malt, crushed
  • 3 pounds (1.36 kg) organic Pilsner malt, crushed
  • 1 pound (454 g) organic wheat malt, crushed
  • 1 pound (454 g) organic Munich malt, crushed


  1. Heat 3-3/4 gallons (14 L) water to 170°F (76°C).
  2. Add all the grains, and mix well.
  3. Allow to rest a few minutes, then adjust temperature to 151 to 153°F (66 to 67°C) if needed.
  4. Hold this temperature 45 to 60 minutes or until starch conversion is complete.
  5. If possible, just before lautering, heat mash to 165°F (74°C).
  6. Sparge with 3-1/2 gallons of water at 168°F (76°C).
  7. Transfer wort to brew kettle, then continue with boil,

Reprinted with Permission from  The Homebrewer’s Garden and Published by Storey Publishing.

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