HBW: Parabias Recreation (Hecataeus); Elecampane, Millet and Barley Beer

Over the past few months, BCS has offered much discussion on both millet and inula/elecampane. For an anthology of these discussions, see below:

Hecataeaus Passage
Millet Beer HBWs (Strabo Passage; Brew Day; Tasting)
Konuza/Inula defined; Parabias defined.
Pliny on the dietary and medicinal qualities of inula
Historic uses of Elecampane in Beer/Alcohol

Today, BCS offers the much awaited recreation of the fifth c. BCE Thracian beer, parabias. Hecataeus describes this as a barley and millet beer with inula added. I brewed two beers with elecampane: one with the elecampane added at the end of the boil (like the modern herbal teas and common techniques for spice additions during the boil); the other, with the elecampane added during active fermentation (as was done during the Middle Ages and later for some mum beers). We will see just how “juicy” this batch becomes.

Below is my best effort to recreate this beer:

1 lb/0.9kg base malt (1:1 Rahr 2-Row, Fawcett Optic)
1 lb/0.45 kg malted millet (see Millet Beer HBW)
1oz/28.3g Elecampane @ 50 min. (Batch 2)
1oz/28.3g Elecampane, dry hop @ day 2 (Batch 1)
Safale US-05 Yeast

Mash @ 160F/71C —> 152F/67C, for 1.5 hour in 1.5ga/5.7l water.
Sparged with 0.25ga/0.94 l water.
60 min. (total) boil.
OG = 1.056

The wort was boiled for 50 minutes and split between two batches. Batch 1 is boiled for 10 more minutes, cooled to pitching temp (Batch 1), fermented, and 1 oz. of elecampane added as a “dry hop/inula” at the beginning of krausen. Batch 2 received its dose of elecampane with 10 min. left in the boil of elecampane before it was cooled to pitching temp and the yeast pitched.

Wort Tasting (Batch 2)
There is a very pleasant sweetness that balances well with the slight bitterness and aromatic qualities of the elecampane. The elecampane certainly does not impart as great a bitterness as the equivalent weight in hops, but the wort was promisingly enjoyable and among the most floral that I have had. Color me intrigued.


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