They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Twigs and Berries

- Hey! I know. Lets make a beer from barley. We'll make it strong, about 9% or so and we'll chuck in loads of honey in the mix while were at it. On second thought, let's put loads of muscat grapes in there too, and some saffron, yeah saffron for good measure! -

It sounds like a bit of a bizzar way to make a beer, but the Dogfish Head boys are no strangers to making crazy beers. Look a little more into this Midas Touch though, and you realize there's a lot more method to the madness that this beer seems to be. It's apparently the first beer they made in their Ancient Beer series. According to DFH the beer was made using the same ingredients found in some epically old (2700 years+) drinking vessels found in the tomb of King Midas. Somewhere between a wine and mead it certainly smells sweet, I wonder if they used any hops in the production of the beer, it does have a little old IBU of 12....

In the aroma it doesn't really smell like a beer at all. Sweet honeycomb, grape and especially melon skins are the most predominant items on the nose. The only real indicator that this is still a beer is the slight buzz of the carbonation on the tongue, which over all, is still rather light. I have no idea of what saffron tastes of... and I don't want to get into the argument of "What does saffron taste of?" - "Saffron" - "But what does it taste of?" etc etc.. I have heard that it tastes a little like a savory vanilla, I suppose I'll just have to get a pot of the stuff from t'market.

It's a very interesting beer, very sweet and quite vegetal. You get the feel that it's just a really rustic beverage, whilst still being made only months ago. Like most meads I've tried, the alcohol is dangerously hidden, but it's been a long day and I'm not complaining. I look forward to the day when DFH can start getting their beers back into this country!

I'm a big fan of things like this, I like historic styles of beer, it gives a good insight into the past, and is something I've always wanted to try myself. Which style to reproduce is the question though. I've always been interested to try a traditional Gose, and me and Matt have even had a joking conversation of making some Sahti beer - the king of twig and berry beers! (and yes I know these styles aren't extinct yet, but It's damn hard to find them!)

Till next time, Nastrovia!


  1. I liked the Midas Touch, and for something sahti-ish juniper berries are widely available in homebrew shops.

  2. I've been reading up on the style Ed and it seems you need to put whole twigs with the berries still attached in the boil and then filter the mix through a mesh of juniper leaves and twigs before fermentation for the proper Sahti effect! Sounds crazy to me, that's why I want to try it! :)

  3. This is an amazing beer, such a bonkers profile, it's so sweet and complex, the goes completely dry and then BANG... saffron and honey. Nice work on getting one, haven't come within spitting distance for a good few years...

  4. I still have a couple of bottles left - a few years old Matt, we should talk about a beer swap (or just a free North drinking sesh!) heheh ;)

  5. Saffron tastes of yellow.... Seriously, have cooked the same recipe with it and without and couldn't taste any difference. (But then we probably have rubbish quality saffron or something.)

  6. Interesting...been hankering after this one since reading about it in DFH's homebrew book. And - from what you say - it actually does taste of saffron and honey! Saffron....I agree with bailey. Tastes of yellow. Kind of floral?

  7. Yeah kind of floral, it may have been the sort of vegetal savoury flavour I was getting.