Debatable Brewers' Recipes: Dandelion Ale

(brewed April 18th, 1997; bottled May 27, 1997)

My lady wife, her Excellency Genevieve, was struck by the horticultural bug this past spring, and decided that our (extremely) small front yard needed to turn into a bed of flowers. This involved removing all the grass, and quite a number of bright yellow flowering dandelions.

I thought to myself, "Dandelions? Weren't they used in ale?" It was the night of our monthly guild meeting, so I asked her if she could throw the healthy looking dandelions into a separate bag. We took these in, and carefully separated out the best looking heads (flowers) from the rest, and proceeded to brew...


Crush the malts. Boil 7 qts. of water. Pour these 7 qts of boiling water, plus 1 1/2 cup of cold (out of the tap) water, into the mash-lauter tun (a converted cooler). Add the Epsom salts, and stir. You should measure 166-168 F. Add all the grains, stirring well. The whole mess should now be about 150-151 F., and fairly stiff.

Mash for 1 1/2 hour. Toward the end of the mash, start 4 1/2 gallons of water boiling.

Recirculate until (fairly) clear, and collect runnings, sparging with the 4 1/2 gallons of water. You should collect about 5 1/2 gallons of liquor.

Start the yeast packet according to its directions. Boil the wart for about an hour, adding the hops and dandelions for the last 20 mins.

Cool, strain, add cold water if needed (we boiled ours down a bit much, to 4 gallons, and really wanted to end up with 5). Aerate and pitch the yeast.

Our batch had a starting specific gravity of 1.044, and a final gravity of 1.014, for 4% alcohol by volume. It is nice and quite refreshing, with a faint flowery taste. Next time, I'm going to use some of the leaves as well.

Tofi Kerthjalfadsson, guildmaster, BMDL Brewers' Guild.
pwp+ (AT) cs dot cmu dot edu