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Book Review – Booze For Free

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Booze for Free – The Definitive Guide to Making Beer, Wine, Cocktail Bases, Ciders, and Other Drinks at Home – by Andy Hamilton.

Booze for Free Book Review

This book is a fun, quick read with some witty comments by the author.  The book is mostly focused on ingredients that can be foraged, like wild herbs, berries, fruits. It includes more exotic, historical, and what are now considered peculiar ingredients like tree sap, dandelion, nettles, etc. Touches on beer a little, but there are much better books out there that focus strictly on beer.  The free part is a bit of a misnomer, unless you want to forage for berries and do a wild fermentation. I’d like to re-iterate to readers, when it comes to brewing anything – you get what you pay for in terms of ingredients! Garbage in garbage out is the saying in the computer world, and the same is true in the brewing world. My advice is to start with the highest quality freshest ingredients you can afford!

If you are interested in brewing with any of the following ingredients, I’d check the book out. There over 100 recipes using the following:

  • Acorns
  • Apples
  • Bay
  • Beech Leaf
  • Beets
  • Birch sap
  • Blackberry
  • Blackcurrants
  • Broad Bean (fava beans)
  • Broom Flower
  • Carrots
  • Cherries
  • Cleavers
  • Courgette
  • Damson
  • Danelion
  • Elderflower
  • Grapes white/red
  • Golden lime sap
  • Gorse
  • Hazelnut
  • Himalayn balsam
  • Hops
  • Horseradish (vodka – whew!)
  • Japanese Knotweed
  • Japanese Rose Petals
  • Lavender
  • Mint
  • Mugwort
  • Mulberry
  • Nettles
  • Pears
  • Pine needles
  • Plumbs
  • Pumpkin
  • Quince
  • Ratafia
  • Rhubarb
  • Rosebay
  • Rosehip
  • Rosemary
  • Rumtopf
  • Sloe
  • Sumac
  • Sweet corn
  • Walnuts
  • Yarrow

    and finally:

  • Prison Booze – complete recipe!


I personally wish I could try small samples of some of the recipes and see if it is worth attempting a brew. I’m pretty skeptical of dandelions in beer…  However, my lawn is full of them!  I’d have a year round supply (if it was to my taste that is).

Disclaimer: Brewer’s Friend was sent a free copy of the book to review.

Post by Larry

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