Nothing like going back into history and brewing the past!
This ale is based on an old Latvian (Baltic) tradition of using local ingredients available to them, including the use of river stones to make their beer. Friends and family like to drink it to celebrate “Jani”, an ancient summer solstice festival held during the shortest night of the year. We jump over a bonfire, sing songs (Ligo! Ligo!), wear crowns of oak leaves, eat rye bread, and, of course, drink beer. Sounds strange, but trust me, it’s a blast!
The beer is based on an American Pale Ale recipe with nice blend additives, hops and malts. The easiest way for the early Balts to boil their wort in their wooden kettles was to use stones heated by fire. As such, it would add a caramel flavor to the beer, which I have enhanced by using crystal grains. I used some smoked malt as a reminder of how malt was dried in the old days. Juniper berries compliment the citrus bitterness of Amarillo hops. Likewise, the resiny aroma of mugwort goes well with the earthiness of Styrian Golding hops. Besides, I hear Tom Baker, brewer at Earth Bread, uses mugwort in his beer, so it must be good!
ABOUT THE CREATOR:
Aside from jumping over fires, Maris Kukainis is an avid home brewer, who for some unknown reason, uses lots of Maris Otter in making many of his beers. He is proud of his heritage, especially since his last name, Kukainis, means “bug” in Latvian. As a founding member of Sustainable Cherry Hill, he is a big proponent of all things local and green. Maris is a big fan (and investor) of Earth Bread and thanks his brewing buddy, Gary Kanefsky, for helping him make crazy beers. He Twitters constantly about beer (www.twitter/aluspils) and is also a member of the newly formed homebrew clubs, BrewJersians and Barley Legal.
11.0 lb American 2-Row Malt
0.50 lb Smoked Malt
0.50 lb Crystal 20L Malt
0.50 lb Belgian 20L Malt
1.0 oz Amarillo (8.2% AA) – 60 min
0.5 oz Styrian Goldings (5.2% AA) -15 min
0.5 oz Styrian Goldings (5.2% AA) – dry hop
1.0 oz Irish Moss -15 min
2.0 oz Juniper Berries -10 min
.50 oz Mugwort – 10 min
Wyeast 1056 American Ale
Step 1: Start an open pit fire with seasoned hardwood. Throw 5 – 6 fist sized stones into the fire. Be careful that the stones are dense and not porous to prevent from exploding. Heat for several hours.
Step 2: Mash grains at 152 degrees for 90 minutes.
Step 3: Sparge grains at 170 degrees into brew kettle. Target pre-boil gravity is 1.045.
Step 4: Use tongs to carefully place heated stones in metal basket (a colander works great!) tied to a pole for easy handling. Slowly immerse stones into the brew kettle. Keep a safe distance in case of volcanic eruption! Watch wort heat up over 15 minutes, caramelize and turn into a gold colored liquid (awesome!).
Step 5: At boil, add Amarillo hops. Maintain boil with burner for 60 minutes.
Step 6: With 15 minutes left, throw in Styrian Golding hops and Irish moss. With 10 minutes left, throw in Juniper berries and Mugwort.
Step 7: Chill to 70 degrees, aerate, and pitch yeast.
Step 8: Ferment for 2 weeks at 68 degrees.
Step 9: Dry hop Styrian Goldings in secondary for 1 week. Carbonate beer up to 2 volumes. Final OG should be about 1.052, perfect for summer!
Set 10: Jump over the bonfire and drink your beer (not necessarily in that order!)