The most experimental beer we’ve ever made

So this weekend we brewed a beer I’ve always wanted to brew for a private event. It had three things I’ve always wanted to put in a brew at one time, but I wasn’t sure if all these elements should be in a drink at one time.

If you know me, you know I love sour beers – this isn’t one though. It’s meant to be a refreshing IPA. But the bitterness and residual sugar in IPAs can be tiring after a few beers, I wanted to take the best parts of some of the other IPAs and combine them to make a refreshing drink, but we’ll see…

Hops with Seabuckthorn and Cedar wood
Hops with Seabuckthorn and Cedar wood

The three things I put in was brett, sea buckthorn berries and cedar wood. The brett idea came about from drinking Evil Twin Femme Fatale. It’s one of my favourite IPAs – even though its not really an IPA but more of a Belgian Blonde Ale with lots of hops. It finishes very dry and has a lovely, funky nose and a tart, refreshing flavour perfect for the style of IPA I’m looking for.

Next, I put in sea buckthorn, which is a berry that grows in cold, dry northern hemisphere climates like Sweden in China. We first tasted this in To Øl’s Baltic Frontier, which by the way is Natasha’s favourite beer. It adds a tart sourness to the beer, which helps makes it refreshing.

The final ingredient is cedar wood, which we tasted in To Øl’s Close But No Cigar. The ingredient mainly adds floral aromas, which helps take away the sometimes dank and grassy aromas you get from a lot of West Coast IPAs.

We found the ingredients on eBay. The sea buckthorn came dried from a Chinese tea supplier and the cedar wood from somebody who called him/herself a wiccan. The sea buckthorn might have been a bit problematic as it had be dried, so I was worried that some of the acids could have been lost in the drying process. On the bright side though, that should have reduced the high oil count of the berry – too much oil could lead to a beer with no head, or in the worst case scenario, a skunked beer.

The cedar wood came in wood shavings, which people have suggested isn’t the best option. I think though, the high surface are to volume ratio will help flavour it faster, and it would that I would have needed to use less cedar wood chips to get the effect I wanted. Most brewers use planks of cedar wood, which is crazy. With cedar, a little went a long way as the smell was so potent and very floral. The sea buckthorn, on the other hand, was a different issue as I made the tea with the instructions given, but it brewed with little aroma and no flavour. I thought I would have to use a lot of this to get and flavor or aroma from it.


I added 125g of sea buckthorn and 5g of cedar wood at 5 minutes before the boil ended. I believed dry hopping would be best but I think the sea buckthorn could easily infect the beer and I thought of soaking some in vodka before adding it in. I aimed to add the brett to the secondary, and ferment with Nottingham yeast. The brett I used is the WLP653 Brett Lambiscus, though I should have used Brett C, which is the strain used in Evil Twin.

For anybody interested in the recipe, I’ve attached below. I will provide an update in the future on how it tastes. To be honest I think it will ended up being shit as there are too many new things I have added that I don’t know anything about, but with any luck it might at least be palatable!


Quick update regarding the taste, the Brett did not really come through at all even through I let it age 5 weeks with Brett. The seabuckthorn add a sour sweet taste that was not over powering. But the thing that really came through was the bitterness and the cedar wood. I think I really over did it with the cedar wood. The beer was still palatable and the feedback on the beer was good, with most people seeming to enjoy it.





Batch Size 20.820 L Boil Size 23.659 L
Boil Time 60.000 min Efficiency 70%
OG 1.067 FG 1.013
ABV 7.0% Bitterness 54.8 IBU (Tinseth)
Color 7.6 srm (Morey) Calories (per 12 oz.) 221


Total grain: 6.500 kg
Name Type Amount Mashed Late Yield Color
Weyermann – Pale Ale Malt Grain 5.000 kg Yes No 85% 3.4 srm
Munich Malt Grain 1.000 kg Yes No 80% 9.0 srm
Cara-Pils/Dextrine Grain 500.000 g Yes No 72% 2.0 srm


Name Alpha Amount Use Time Form IBU
Chinook 13.0% 35.000 g Boil 60.000 min Pellet 44.8
Mosaic 14.0% 20.000 g Boil 10.000 min Pellet 10.0
Chinook 13.0% 35.000 g Boil 0.000 s Pellet 0.0
Galaxy 13.0% 30.000 g Boil 0.000 s Pellet 0.0
Vic Secret 14.0% 20.000 g Boil 0.000 s Pellet 0.0


Cedar woodOtherBoil10.000 g5.000 minSeabuckthornOtherBoil250.000 g0.000 sSeabuckthornOtherBoil250.000 g5.000 minCedar woodOtherBoil10.000 g0.000 s

Name Type Use Amount Time


Name Type Form Amount Stage
Danstar – Nottingham Ale Dry 11.001 mL Primary
WLP653 – Brettanomyces lambicus Ale Liquid 35.000 mL Primary


Name Type Amount Temp Target Temp Time
single step Infusion 17.875 L 71.545 C 65.000 C 60.000 min
Final Batch Sparge Infusion 12.836 L 86.783 C 74.000 C 15.000 min



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