Back in March, Stulli had brewed with icelandic brewing herbs and they were now all ready for tasting. He invited us over for an evening of Sensory Evaluation, to be followed by some hand crafted thai red curry.
We were issued with note paper and pens, and encouraged to write down our guesses as to the herb used, or any other opinions we might have, and then Stulli just started bring forth the numbered bottles. What a treat!
Referring to my notes, which are little rough... (If you want actual amounts, you should contact Stulli for the brew day notes) All brews were from the same basic wort, straight Marris Otter, no specialty grains, then boiled in ~4l batches.
- Beer number 1, Blóðberg aka Icelandic Thyme. I found this to be almost "normal" tasting, though it left an odd sensation on my tongue after the beer was gone. Not unpleasant, but probably wouldn't be itching to try it again. I had no clue.
- Beer number 3, Lavendar as well as Mjaðjurt. (My dictionary says Mjaðjurt is Dropwort. Wikipedia says it's actually Filipendula ulmaria or Meadowsweet. (Meadosweet is famous for being used to make the original Aspirin) This had LOTS of aroma, and a nicer amber colour. I might try using this again, though in conjunction with other hops, and different malts. I managed to pick the lavendar. :)
- Beer number 4, Chamomile. "Not overly pleasant" is the first thing on my notes. Bitterness felt off whack. I wasn't a huge fan of this one.
- Beer number 5, Vallhumall aka Yarrow. A very traditional brewing herb, used before hops were widespread. This had a deeper cleaner stronger aftertaste than regular hops. Quite bitter. Potential definitely.
- Beer number 6, Rosebuds. This was a surprise, it was brewed after I'd left, so I didn't know it was one of the things to even be looking for. Probably not something you'd advertise, it drew comments like, "armani beer" (that was one of the more polite forms) But it was actually very very tasty. It needed more body, but as a flavouring, quite interesting.
- Beer number 2, Fjallagrös aka Icelandic Moss. This was last, as we only had one solitary bottle of it. Even on the brew day it had absorbed a vast quantity of the wort, and in the fermenters it had sucked up even more. On the brew day I thought the "spent" lichen was quite tasty, almost like partially sauteed mushrooms. The final beer? Well, it had a very odd aroma and not a great taste. 4 out 6 of us got very strong mouldy dirty aftertastes. Not really recommended.
After that, well, time for curry! Stulli and his gracious wife Sissa fired up the stove and served a delicioud red curry, leaving sniffles and sweaty scalps in their wake, before we settled down to more adventures in the record collection, tall tales, other homebrews, more beer, more tall tales and eventually, out into the wild nights of reykjavik.
An excellent evening with good company.