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Honey-Basil Ale II

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Honey-Basil Ale II

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Beer Style: Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer (21A)
Recipe Type: all-grain
Yield: 5 US gallons

Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer


I guess summer is the time for sequels, so I made another version of the honey basil ale that I posted last year (and is in the Cat's Meow I believe). The last try (my fourth or fifth batch as a homebrewer) was too bitter and overpowering as far as the basil.

Since then I have learned about IBUs and how to calculate them, my beers have become much more balanced and the bitterness more consistent. I learned what maltiness tastes like!

The beer is great, not as thin as I feared, and complex. There is an alocohol note in the taste, as you might have guessed. The beer is smooth. The bitterness is very slight, the maltiness is good and the basil is subtle. There is a slight basil nose. It is very drinkable, which means all the alcohol will sneak up behind you and knock you over the head. I was very happy with this version.

So for others who want to use herbs: I think 1/2 oz of basil in 5 gallons is fine. A little more wouldn't be bad, but 1 ounce is definately too much. I used rosemary once, and it is a stronger herb, so go lighter. I would like to hear your experience with vanilla beans: I'm thinking of putting one in the fermenter with a porter. Is one enough?


  • 3 lbs 2-row barley
  • 2 lbs Munich malt
  • 3 lbs honey (I used raw, wild mesquite honey from Trader Joe's)
  • 1/2 lb 10L crystal malt
  • 1/2 oz basil (fresh leaf basil from grocery store or farmer's market)
  • 20 IBU Willamette hops
  • Wyeast American Ale yeast

Beer Profile

Original Gravity: 1062
Final Gravity: 1008
Recipe Type: all-grain
Yield: 5.00 US Gallons

Click to Print Recipe


Standard mash and boil. I added the basil and 3/4 oz hops at the end of the boil and turned off the heat. Cooled with immersion chiller after 5 or 10 minutes.