experimental beers with a botanical twist

Sleepytime Lager

Lavender
The concept here: a black lager with an extra midnight-y nudge in the direction of bed. I’ve made sleepytime beer before, using a more standard ale approach, but this was a chance to experiment with a slightly more complicated mashing process and pretend I’m a real brewer. Proof that I don’t entirely know what I’m doing, however: I fucked up and added some old, ridiculously bitter wormwood from an herbal supply company for an extra relaxing effect, but the clean taste of lager allows little room for error, and I think this recipe is better without that bitter edge, so I’ve fudged and left it out. Otherwise, it turned out fine, taking advantage of an unusually cool May and June here in the UK to ferment and age at room temperature (there’s no cellar). So if you’re a homebrewer with minimal equipment like me, don’t be intimidated by most of what you read about the supposed finickiness of lager yeast. It’ll be fine.

Don’t use too much valerian, because it has kind of an unpleasant odor, but lavender and chamomile are both very nice and go well together.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
12 L 60 min 23.4 IBUs 42.1 EBC 1.044 1.008 4.8 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
Maris Otter Pale - UK 2.16 kg 91.53
Midnight Wheat - US 80 g 3.39
Belgian Aromatic - BE 70 g 2.97
Chocolate - BE 50 g 2.12

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Hallertauer Mittelfrh 25 g 45 min Boil Pellet 4.3

Miscs

Name Amount Time Use Type
valerian root 6.00 ml 10 min Boil Other
chamomile flowers, dried 0.88 oz 10 min Boil Other
lavender flowers, dried 0.88 oz 10 min Boil Other

Yeast

Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
M84 Bohemian Lager Yeast 80% 17.78°C - 20.56°C

Mash

Step Temperature Time
Protein Rest 50°C 30 min
Saccharification 66.67°C 30 min
Mash Out 75.56°C 10 min

Notes

A black lager with hops and other soporific herbs. Add herbs ~10 minutes before flameout. I did a step infusion mash with a half-hour rest at 132F/55C before bringing it up to saccharification range for another half hour. I didn't use Pilsner malt simply because I didn't have any on hand.


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