Homebrew: Catnip Wheat (#3)

I was super excited to try making this beer. I’m not sure where the idea to add catnip to my beer came from, but I think it might have something to do with me trying to figure a way to piss off my cats. Since I knew that catnip could be used to make tea, I figured beer wasn’t too large of a leap. In fact, I found out afterward that this wasn’t a totally original idea. Apparently, monks had once used catnip when the price of hops were too great. I didn’t use catnip in place of hops, but rather in addition.

So here’s what I used for this batch. For grains, I used Bohemian Pilsner Malt and Golden Promise, which I’ve been using for almost every batch now. I also used a little bit of flaked wheat. I learned that when using wheat in the mash, I needed to add some extra water and pay more attention to it, stirring it more often. For hops, I choose Chinook and Amarillo, and of course added in some fresh catnip. I made sure to add the catnip towards the end of the boil, but I think next time I would add half at where I did (the 0:40 mark) and then steep the rest right after the boil. Finally, I used a Belgian Strong Ale yeast. The expected ABV for this beer is 7.5%.

The result is that I am extremely happy with this beer. In fact, this is my best one yet. There’s really no taste of catnip, and next time I am going to add a lot more, but at the same time I don’t want that to be the focus of the beer. The wheat actually seems to add some nice weight, especially paired with the Strong Ale yeast (if it’s not apparent yet I do like heavier ABV beers).

2 Responses to “Homebrew: Catnip Wheat (#3)”

  • sam Says:

    Hey Decker, beautiful blog!
    I was wondering how much catnip you used and where you got it. My friends love IPAs and are having a birthday party for their cat (read “big springtime BBQ and Beer picnic”) so I am thinking of doing a “nipped” IPA to honor both them and their fluffy friend. Any catnipspertise is greatly appreciated!

  • Decker Says:

    Ah crap, sorry Sam, I haven’t checked this blog in months. I hope you’re catnip IPA turned out well. The one I did used fresh nip that was growing on my windowsill and I didn’t have very much to add. I’m doing another attempt at it pretty soon though. I found catnip at a grocery store but sold as a tea for humans. It’s very bitter and stronger than I would have thought, and not the least bit minty as I would expect. It reminds me a little of yerba matte. We mixed it with some milk, sugar and spices and it tasted like a chai. Anyways, next time I’m going to do a stronger wheat beer with this dried tea nip instead of just the fresh kind I have to fight with my cats over. If you made yours please share any tips or tricks you might have learned. Again, sorry for responding 5 months late.

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