At the end of last year I decided that in order to create and test as many different recipes as possible I was going to start making half gallon batches. Yes, this seems like a ridiculously small about of beer to make but if I strike gold I can always double the batch later.
This happens to be the case with my first experiment. I’ve heard that it was possible to brew with mushrooms but I wasn’t exactly sure when in the process to toss them in until I listened to a Basic Brewing Podcast interview with a home brewer that was using Chaga Mushrooms.
What are Chaga mushrooms? That’s the first question I asked. Apparently they are supposed to have great medicinal value and they grow primarily very cold regions. I’m not the expert here this is just what I learned on the podcast so perhaps a little more research is in order. Anyway they are definitely not something that I can find in our local Southern California forests. I had to order them online and they were a little pricey. All I used was a small chunk. They look like chunks of a tree trunk. If used for teas they can be reused several times according the the package they came in.
Based on some of the things discussed in the podcast (mind you they were making 5 gallon batches of beer) I put together this recipe using both dry malt extract and crushed grains as well as some Jaggery sugar for the fermentables.
1/2 gallon beer recipe ingredients:
1/2 gallon water
1/2 lb. Light dry malt extract
2 tablespoons Caramunich malt grains
1/2 cup Crystal 40 grains
78 grams Jaggery sugar
1 gram gypsum
1.5 grams Bitter orange peel
1/2 teaspoon Licorice root
5 grams Chaga Mushroom
4 grams Fuggles hops
2 grams Willamette hops
1.5 grams Whirlfloc
Pinch of yeast nutrient
Safbrew Abbaye Yeast
This was a 40 minute brew. I added the Chaga mushroom 15 minutes from the end of the boil and used the Willamette hops for flavor at flameout.
Since I accidentally tipped over my jar of irish moss, I had to use half a Whirlfloc tablet instead. I am not sure if this is what caused the weird Kreusen after a day or so but it looked like a bunch of brains floating around. I’ve never seen this before and the same thing happened with 2 more batches where I used the Whirlfloc. It’s pretty messy and I don’t think I’ll use it again.
Anyway, bottling day only yielded 1 16 ounce and 3 12 ounce bottles. This is pretty good for testing but this beer is so good I wish I had more right now.
It has a light caramel flavor but not sweet and the hops are perfectly balanced with enough bitterness and no “hoppy” flavor. The carbonation is perfect. I used light agave syrup for bottling rather than sugar. I am definitely going to use it again.
I will drink my last 3 bottles wisely until I make a full gallon batch. This one is a keeper.