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How to make yarrow beer

Discover how to use this herb to make your own beer with a recipe by wildcrafting brewer Pascal Baudar.

Yarrow flowers
Published: March 15, 2019 at 6:14 pm

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a very aromatic but bitter medicinal herb native to Asia, Europe, and North America. Historically it’s been used topically, for its healing properties on wounds.

Yarrow was also one of the main bittering agents used in Old World beers before the introduction of hops. From experience, probably due to location and soil conditions, the flavors of yarrow can range from mild to overwhelmingly bitter, so you may need to adjust the recipe a bit.

Thanks to its strong aromatic qualities, yarrow is also making a comeback as a culinary herb.



  • 12g Yarrow flowers, heads and leaves
  • 3.8l Water
  • 340g Brown sugar
  • 180ml Molasses
  • Yeast, beer yeast or wild yeast


  • STEP 1

    Mix the water, yarrow, brown sugar, and molasses in a large pot and bring the solution to a boil for 30 minutes. For more flavor, you can add extra yarrow 5 minutes before the end of the boiling time.

  • STEP 2

    Remove the pot from the heat and place it in cold water. Cool to 21°C, then add the yeast (wild or commercial). One packet of commercial yeast is usually enough for 5 gallons (18.9 L), so you don’t need to use the whole packet.

    If I’m using a wild yeast starter, I usually use a bit more than 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) of liquid.

  • STEP 3

    Strain the brew into the fermenter. Position the air-lock or cover your fermenter with a paper towel or cheesecloth.

  • STEP 4

    Let the brew ferment for 10 days. Start counting when the fermentation is active (this may take 2 to 3 days with a wild yeast starter).

  • STEP 5

    Siphon into 16-ounce (500 ml) swing-top beer bottles (you’ll need seven bottles) and prime each one with 1⁄2 teaspoon (2 g) white or brown sugar for car-bonation. Close the bottles and store in a place that’s not too hot. The beer will be ready to drink in 3 to 4 weeks.

Pascal Baudar is an author, wild food researcher, traditional food preservation instructor, and wild brewer living in Los Angeles. Pascal offers wildcrafting and food preservation classes through his website.

Pascal Baudar © Mia Wasilevich

This is a recipe from The Wildcrafting Brewer by Pascal Baudar, reprinted by arrangement with Chelsea Green Publishing.

The Wildcrafting Brewer

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