experimental beers with a botanical twist

Sleepytime Beer

Valeriana officinalis
Valeriana officinalis
Brewed on 26 August 2014 in Plummer’s Hollow.

Cue the Ramones. The great thing about hopped beer is how readily it knocks you out after a hard day’s work. But it’s not the only herb with sedative properties, of course.

I should try growing valerian in the garden. Maude Grieve says this about the difference between the fresh and dried roots:

The drug has a camphoraceous, slightly bitter taste and a characteristic, powerful, disagreeable odour, which gradually develops during the process of drying, owing to a change which occurs in the composition of the volatile oil contained in the sub-epidermal layer of cells: the odour of the fresh root, though not very agreeable, is devoid of the unpleasant valerianaceous odour. […]

Though in ordinary doses, it exerts an influence quieting and soothing in its nature upon the brain and nervous system, large doses, too often repeated, have a tendency to produce pain in the head, heaviness and stupor.

That odor was present but not prominent in the valerian I used, and was undetectable in the beer.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
5 gal 60 min 25.0 IBUs 25.4 SRM 1.055 1.011 5.8 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
Pale 2-Row - US 7 lbs 66.67
Belgian Aromatic - BE 1 lbs 9.52
Vienna - US 1 lbs 9.52
De-Bittered Black - BE 8 oz 4.76
Munich - Light 10L - US 8 oz 4.76
Victory Malt - US 8 oz 4.76

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Simcoe 0.5 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 13

Miscs

Name Amount Time Use Type
chamomile flowers, dried 2.50 oz 0 min Boil Other
elecampane root 0.50 oz 0 min Boil Other
valerian root 0.50 oz 0 min Boil Other
mountain mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum) leaves, dried 0.25 oz 0 min Boil Other

Yeast

Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
Danstar Nottingham 80% 64°F - 69°F
Fermentis Safale S-04 75% 64°F - 69°F

Notes

Hops, valerian, and chamomile to sedate and mint to aid digestion. (The mint may be left out, however. Not everyone appreciates beer that tastes like toothpaste.) Elecampane is just for the taste.

Boil the hops and 1/2 oz of chamomile flowers in the wort for an hour, the elecampane for half an hour, the remaining 2 oz. of chamomile for ten minutes, and the mint for five minutes. Add the valerian root to the primary.


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