Julius: slight return?

It had an orange-ish hue. A hint of crisp biscuit from the Vienna malt; a mere smear of toffee-sweetness from Crystal. Lemon edges with slight spices from the Liberty and Sorachi Ace hops. And then, a garden and kitchen raided; coriander seeds, lemongrass, lemon balm, mint, Tahitian lime leaves. All lovingly prepared by a chef. With a mallet.

Julius was a one-off born in the summer of 2009, a collaboration between myself, the irrepressible Ian Harrison of Pubs & Beer and those brewing fellas at Thornbridge. Why write about it now? Well, I've been recently reading a great deal about the historical use of herbs in English ale and it's giving me ideas...

I'd love to brew something herbal in the spring. Perhaps something that does away with the hop addition altogether? A dandelion stout? A mint bitter? Anything with bog myrtle in it?

All I need to do now is find a sympathetic, adventurous, slightly-mad brewer to work with. Any takers?


  1. I made a lemon balm ale last year, which my non-beer drinking brother likes but I'm not that keen on it myself.

  2. I did an experimental brew with sage, yarrow, fennel, heather, coriander and no hops last year. Everyone who tried it liked it, though the less-charitable described it as "pizza beer".

    I'll be scaling the recipe up when my garden comes back to life. I've just a couple of bottles left and I'm testing if the antiseptic properties of sage really are as good as those of hops.

  3. @Ed I'd like to try more lemon balm beer. If anything, I'd tone down the other additions to see how lemon balm stood up on its own.

    @beernut that sounds a perfect combo. Did you use fennel seeds? I'm using them loads in various chocolate recipes.

  4. No, I used the ferny bits. I wouldn't know where to find the seeds on a fennel.

  5. They're from the flowers of wild fennel; I take it you're using the fronds from cultivated (bulb) fennel.

    I've used fennel seeds and coriander in chocolate, which makes me wonder if a robust stout/porter would carry those flavours too (I think Nethergate add coriander to one of their porters, Umbel Magna??)