Wild Hops Honey Ale Recipe

This delicious beer recipe is full of the unique tastes of wild hops, wildflower honey, and a mix of tasty malts.

From "The Homebrewer's Garden, 2nd Edition"
June 2016

  • This recipe came about when one man extracted raw honey from a nest and presented it to his homebrewing friend, who found it to be the perfect key ingredient in his ale.
    Photo by Fotolia/yatcenko
  • “The Homebrewer’s Garden, 2nd Edition” by Joe and Dennis Fisher
    Photo courtesy of Storey Publishing

Yield: Yields 5 gallons (19 L)

From those just getting started to small farmers looking to expand their repertoire, the pages of The Homebrewer’s Garden, 2nd Edition (Storey Publishing, 2016), by Joe and Dennis Fisher, contain no shortage of growing and brewing inspiration. For the garden, there are sections filled with advice about small-space hops cultivation, trellising, the latest grain-growing techniques, tips for successful hop, herb and grain cultivation, troubleshooting, and more. And for the beer, there’s a collection of delicious recipes for 32 specialty homebrews just like this one. Filled with wisdom from two men who have experienced it firsthand, this book is the essential guide for the gardener who loves beer.

Wild hops are a brewing resource worthy of wider attention. Nameless feral cultivars escaped from gardens and gone to seed can be a source of subtle aromas and bracing bitterness. We grow a vari­ety of wild Fuggles descended from a bootlegger’s private stock. Our brewing friend Brad Hunter found an unknown high-alpha hop grow­ing up the side of an abandoned schoolhouse on Matinicus Island in Maine. Here’s what he has to say about this recipe: “A house-builder friend of mine was doing a renovation in Rockland, and when one of his crew ripped open the trim on this old house they discovered a huge honeybee nest. He collected all the comb and painstakingly extracted the honey, then didn’t know what to do with it, so knowing I brewed, he gave it to me. He got a couple of six-packs in return and it was a really tasty blend of honey, Munich malt toastiness, and a nice hop balance from my Matinicus hops.”

Initial Gravity: 1.078–1.082
Final Gravity: 1.016–1.020


• 1 pound (454 g) 60°L British crystal malt
• 2 pounds (908 g) Munich malt
• 5-1/2 pounds (2.5 kg) light dry malt extract
• 4-1/2 pounds (2 kg) wildflower honey
• 2 ounces (55 g) powdered dextrin
• 1/2 teaspoon (14 g) Irish moss
• 1/2 ounce (14 g) Chinook hops, AA 12.7 percent, HBU 6.35
• 1/2 ounce (14 g) homegrown Cascade whole hops
• 1/2 ounce (14 g) homegrown Cascade whole hops
• Wyeast 1098 British ale yeast
• 1/2 cup (160 ml) corn sugar for priming


1. Raise 3-1/2 gallons (13 L) water to 153 degrees F (67 degrees C). Mash-in grains, sta­bilize at 150 degrees F (67 degrees C), and hold 60 minutes. Sparge at 170 degrees F (77 degrees C) and collect 5-1/2 gallons (21 L) runoff.

2. Add extract and honey to runoff. Bring to a boil and add Irish moss and maltodextrine powder. Boil 40 minutes and add Chinook bit­tering hops. Boil 20 minutes. Add 1/2 ounce (14 g) Cascade flavoring hops to final 2 minutes of boil. Turn off heat and add 1/2 ounce (14 g) Cascade aroma hops. Steep 15 minutes.

3. Chill wort, strain out hops, and transfer to carboy. Pitch yeast when wort cools to 70 degrees F (21 degrees C).

4. Ferment at ale temperatures (65–70 degrees F/18–21 degrees C).

5. Bottle with priming sugar when fermentation ceases (1 to 2 weeks). Age 3 weeks before drinking.

More from The Homebrewer's Garden:

Grow the Ingredients and Homebrew the Beer
B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Beets) Farmhouse Ale Recipe

Reprinted with permission from The Homebrewer’s Garden, 2nd Edition by Joe Fisher and Dennis Fisher, published by Storey Publishing, 2016.

Live The Good Life with GRIT!

Grit JulAug 2016At GRIT, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to GRIT through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $6 and get 6 issues of GRIT for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of GRIT for just $22.95!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters