Birch Beer: The Off-Gridders National Beverage

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I just lost my homebrewing virginity to a tall, dark carboy of Birch Beer.  How do you make Birch Beer?  We don’t really know for sure, but you can check out our maiden voyage here:

Ok, it’s so simple, if you know of a lonely birch tree in your neighbourhood, you gotta try this:

How to Collect Sap from a Birch Tree:

First off, it must be collected in the spring.  Just put a hole in the tree and put a bucket under the hole.  You can read all about it here.

collecting birch sap

How to make Birch Beer from Birch sap:

  • Render down the sap so that it thickens up (don’t boil it, it will taste burnt).  We started with about 75 litres and ended up with 15 litres (this took a couple days sitting on the wood stove, adding more fresh sap each day).
  • Measure Specific Gravity (SG) with your hydrometer.  Ours was around 1.022, this would make very weak beer.  We added 800 grams of honey and the new SG was 1.038 (this should make beer around 5%).

how to make birch beer

  • Add a package of sparkling wine yeast (EC-1118) and place the whole batch in a carboy with stopper and airlock.
  • Enjoy the bubbling sounds from the airlock for the next 3-4 weeks (until it stops bubbling and gets clear).

how to make birch beer

  • Almost ready to bottle.  We racked it (siphoned) into a stainless pot and left the dead yeast bodies (the Lees) behind.  Add 90 grams (or maybe a bit more) of sugar (so that it will continue fermenting a little bit in the bottle to make it bubbly).  Fill bottles.

how to make birch beer

  • Wait at least 3-4 days for it to carbonate.

How to enjoy:

how to make birch beer

Love homebrewing? You gotta check out Beer for Children!

I’d like to thank Emma Hughes for posting her birch beer recipe at Miscellaneous Adventures, it pushed me over the edge and solidified my deep need for home made birch beer.

Ever made Birch Beer? Like this homebrew love story?  Tell us about it, like it and share it with even your remotest of acquaintances.  Already know how to make birch beer and you can tell we are a couple hacks? Hate beer and what it does to your belly? Then I recommend you expose us, and this low-carb post, with repeated facebook shamings.

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6 thoughts on “Birch Beer: The Off-Gridders National Beverage

  1. Hey there!

    Two weeks ago I tapped some birch trees (about 15 litres). Half of that sap I used to make birch syrup and with the other half I decided to make beer using your recipe! (Except that I made my own yeast using raisins and water)

    I so kept the proportions the same. You guys used 75 litres sap, I used 7.5 litres and so on. The mixture of honey, yeast and concetrated birch sap has been sitting in the carboy for one week and it is bubbling!

    I’ll let you know how it worked out.

    Thank you for sharing the recipe and for the inspiration from you life style.

    Kind regards from the Netherlands.

    • Valente,

      How exciting to hear about your birch sap syrup and beer! The sap is just starting to run here and we are looking forward to collecting. Did you try drinking the fresh sap? It is a refreshing, healthy drink and is one of our families favourites. We haven’t kept up with our blog, but continue to make videos and post them on our YouTube page, incase you are interested in continuing to follow us!
      Thanks for letting us know about your sap collection, and we’d love to hear how the beer turned out!

  2. I came across your recipe and am attempting to reproduce it. I have a question about the 90 grams of sugar you used. What type of sugar did you use?

  3. Hi there off-gridders!

    I’m back with news. Finally! I had some glasses of my home-brewed birch beer together with a friend (who brews actual beer). At first I was a bit dissapointed because it didn’t really tasted like beer. But we really enjoyed anyways since it was refreshing, carbonated, it had a beautiful colour, good taste and a pleasant percentage of alcohol. I am drinking one of the last glasses as i’m writting this. It turned out more like something between wine/cider/beer.

    I think one of the mistakes I made was that bottled it with a screw cap instead of a pop-it cap (like in your video) which allowed some of the gas to escape.

    None the less it was my personal discovery of the year, birch sap. The syrup is delicious, the sap is so refreshing and the beer was fun to do. To me it’s like the elixir of life.

    Thank you for sharing your recipe. And by the way, how did your harvest turned out this year?

    Kind regards from the Netherlands,

    Valente

    • Valente,
      Thanks for the update on your finished product. I’m glad to hear that it turned out and that you are really enjoying it!
      This year we made birch syrup, but did not get a chance to make beer. Hopefully we’ll try again next season.
      Have you checked us out on YouTube? We post videos much more regularly than on our blog. You can find us at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClt1rDdFd-VUX8VXmWummSQ

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