by Wesley Sommers
And it's gluten free, too!
5gal cooking pot, 5gal bucket w/lid or 5 gal glass carboy with airlock, clear plastic syphoning tube, large colander/ strainer, glass beer bottles, bottle caps, bottle capper.
1/2 oz (a nice grip) dried mugwort leaf, 10 meyer lemons, 5lbs brown sugar, 5 gal water, 1 packet (or tablespoon) of bread yeast.
For max potency, gather your mugwort leaves in the early morning of a Spring Full Moon, and allow to fully dry before use in beer. Mugwort is a magical plant, associated with the Goddess Artemus, and contains the powers to help you dream lucidly, treat gout, and dispel weariness or depression. Mugwort is a name comprised of two words: mug, and wort. We all know what a mug is, but "wort" is a brewing term for the massive "tea" that contains all the ingredients for beer except the yeast. Ancient brewers named the plant mugwort to let us know that this is the plant we want to use for the wort in our mugs!
Boil 5 gallons of water with 5 lbs of brown sugar. Cut and squeeze 10 lemons into the boil. Boil for 30 minutes while stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Turn off heat and add mugwort, let all cool to room temp. Strain wort into fermentation vessel, it's ok if there are bits of lemon and mugwort in the fermentor, just try to strain out most of it.
Now it's time to add yeast. You can easily find baking yeast in any grocer, I've used Red Star bread yeast and it made for a nice bubbly slightly sour beer. Cut open one packet of yeast (two if you really want to see a show), hydrate the yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water, preferably filtered or boiled, stir it up nice and good, then pour it into your wort.
For this recipe it should take at least two weeks for the yeast to eat all the sugar it can, converting it to alcohol, CO2, and lovely aromas and flavors. If you're using the 5 gal bucket with a lid, just leave it in a warm spot, check on it after 2 weeks and listen for fizz. If it stops fizzing, it's not fermenting anymore and time to bottle. If you're using a carboy and airlock, your airlock will no longer be bubbling when fermentation ceases.
Before syphoning beer into bottles, you need to feed the yeast a little sugar snack so it'll carbonate well in the bottle. Boil 1 cup water with 1/2 cup brown sugar, let cool to room temp, then pour in to wort and mix well. Alternatively, add one tablespoon of brown sugar to each bottle, then syphon beer into bottles. After syphoning, cap bottles immediately. Let the beer carbonate for two weeks more in bottles.
Mugwort beer has a much different taste and sensory experience from beer brewed with barley and hops. So before drinking, clear your pallet of expectation. This is totally new. When I first tasted this simple brew, I felt as though I was drinking with the Goddess Artemus.
A note on materials and ingredients
This is great beer to make on a budget, because most of the materials can be got at Salvation Army or Goodwill, or even borrowed from a friend. The tricky part is bottle caps and bottle cappers. Unless you know someone who has them, you'll probably have to go to a brew store or beg for them at a brewery. But as for the ingredients: totally food-stamp friendly!