Nettle Beer – Andy Hamilton

Nettle Beer easy recipe

Pick small nettles for food
Pick small nettles for food

Nettle Beer

This is an easy recipe to follow and creates a delightful, if not usual tasting beer. It is very cheap to make and follows a traditionally english recipe. Before hops were widely used in the 17th century all sorts of plant were used to flavor the ale including nettles.(Urtica dioica). It was also thought to help alleviate rheumatic pain, gout and asthma. Nettle beer can still be bought in the Czech republic and in the north of England where it is brewed with hops and is called internettle.


900grams (2lb) young nettle tops
3.8lts (1 gallon) of water
230 grams (8oz) of sugar, brown or demarrara sugar works best.
7.5 grams (0.25oz) of fresh yeast
small piece of toast
7.5 grams (0.25oz) of ground ginger


Boil the nettle tops in the water for half an hour (you will need a very large pan for this or preferably a cauldron).

Keeping the mixture, strain and add sugar, stirring to dissolve. I mentioned keeping the mixture as the first time I did this I strained it and poured the liquid down the sink, so had to go out and pick more nettles. Also stir in the ginger. Pour mixture into a sterile container, ask at most home brew shops for details, if you don’t have a home brew shop near you then a big branch of Boots should offer a Brewers bucket.

Spread the yeast onto the toast and float on the surface of the nettle liquid. Cover and leave for about 3 days at room temperature, do not allow the temperature to fluctuate too much as this will ruin the fermentation process.

Strain again and put into clean, strong screw top beer bottles, or sealable wine bottles.

For more beer and homebrew recipes see The Other Andy Hamilton

5 Comments on Nettle Beer – Andy Hamilton

  1. I’ve made nettle beer and am still drinking some I made last March (almost December now). It is utterly delicious. My recipe is very similar to yours but without the piece of toast. What does that do?

  2. What is the ‘fresh yeast’? is it brewers yeast? can bread yeast be used? even my sour-dough starter?

  3. How beery is this beer? is it like an actual beer with alcohol, or is the alcohol negligable like in (most) ginger beer?

  4. I’m going to try this out this spring – lots of fresh nettles available in the local markets around these parts (Eastern Europe). Don’t think anyone makes beer out of it here though.

    @Martin – I suppose by fresh yeast here means the soft cakes of bakers yeast, rather than the dry active yeast you get in packets. Brewer’s yeast should work too, though.
    @ Ray – With that amount of sugar it’ll probably be about 2% or so.
    Also, just for people in the UK, the recipe says 1 gallon, but at 3.8l that’d make it a US gallon. A UK gallon is 4.55l, so be careful with your measuring jug.

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