I'm lichen this ale

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vykuza

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And we come full circle.

On topic again - how much did you pay for the Iceland Moss? I had a quick google, but it looks $100+/kg
 

TimT

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So, yeah. It would have been $100 per kg, and Bright Organics must have been taking their cut of that.
 

TimT

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Bottled this today. It's been a while but I think I was right to wait. I took successive samples that showed while the primary ferment got it down to the mid-30s, it took a few more weeks patient fermenting at higher temps to get it down to about 1.021 gravity. Still not ideal and probably my fault, but the results are very pleasant.

It's got bitterness: that's the lemon. It's got a sweetness: that's the residual sugar. It's got an unexpected fruitiness, too: some of that from the yeast, I expect. Esters and all that. The lichen I think has added acidity and turned the lemony bitterness to more of an orangey bitterness. It also has a delicate mushroomy salady, almost fishy kind of flavour - the similes don't really do it justice. I was definitely going for licheny weirdness so I want these flavours, definitely. They're very subtle in the brew itself (the orangey bitter sweetness tend to dominate) but they are there in the background.

My main regret is I didn't end up bottling all that much! It wasn't a big brew to begin with and the successive gravity samples made it even smaller! But I'd definitely use this Icelandic Moss again.
 

Ivar

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Activate plan lichen!

With no transcripts coming in today for work, I decided to give this lichen beer thang a go.

When we were away in Bright the other week I got about 300 grams of this stuff called 'Icelandic Moss' from the organics shop. I kind of bought it and looked it up afterwards; it appears in a lot of traditional Icelandic recipes - soups and teas and the like - is quite bitter because of acids it contains, and is actually not a moss at all, but a lichen. (I'll never trust a name again). It doesn't contain cyanobacteria - the 'algae' half of this particular symbiotic entity is a 'green algae', rather than a 'blue-green algae', apparently. Whatever they are.

Brewed a small batch wheat beer today, on the assumption that a sweetish wheat beer would hold the lichenish flavours better than, say, a big malty porter. About four litres: 500 g wheat malt, 400 g pale ale malt, 100 g Munich malt; mash at around 66 to get a bit of body and a bit of unfermentable sweetness; add some lemon peel in 30 mins before the end of the boil just because.... (because we've got shitloads of lemons, that's why), and add lichen after I turn the stove off.

I chucked it in, a tablespoon at a time, tasting each time.

At the moment it's still cooling down: I think I lost some of the licheny goodness in the heat (I could smell it evaporating from the pot), but there's a kind of delicate weedy bitterness to it. (I also chucked in six bags of chamomile tea).

I'm going to ferment that lot out, and if necessary add more lichen and/or lemon peel in secondary fermentation if I want some back-bittering. (Apparently the Iceland Moss bitter acids are readily soluble in alcohol). Definitely no hops: I think they'd be too intense for these delicate flavours; I want some weird witbier yeastiness to go with some funny licheny flavours.

Plan for the future: do a beer that contains *even more* microbiota: fungus (yeast, lichen); bacteria (lacto-bacilli for souring)... anything else?
Im "a kveik" brewer from Norway. Like to brew with 'Icelandic Moss', if I can find enough in the mountains. Now Im looking for sources and more details about; For about 50 years in the 1800’s Sweden led the world in lichen alcohol production with the rest of Europe and Russia joining in. It was viewed as an alternative to grain alcohol. Lichen brandy was a big hit, and it was also used in the making of Akvavit, a traditional caraway-flavored spirit.
 
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Intriguing. I'm going to iceland in a few weeks. Might have to try this: http://www.nordicstore.net/iceland_moss_schnapps_4487_prd1.htm
The moss is abundant in places and an easy i.d., but ideally some Icelanders would be glad to help a foreigner sample that and other old foods. They might serve you hákarl and slátur just to watch the expression on your face. I won´t spoil the fun by translating. Don´t use either in beer.

I look forward seeing you on Border Security trying to explain to the Aussie officials the bags of moss in your suitcase.
 

blacktop™

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I look forward seeing you on Border Security trying to explain to the Aussie officials the bags of moss in your suitcase.

His holiday was 8 years ago so if he was gonna be on border security you probably would have seen it by now.
 

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