Rooibos has unique flavours and characteristics that can complement and enhance beer profiles. Rooibos’ mild sweetness, earthy notes, and hints of vanilla and honey add to its appeal in beer. Try this recipe and see for yourself.
The way we drink beer is evolving. Once dominated by mass-produced lagers, the market has evolved into a dynamic landscape brimming with craft breweries, innovative flavours and a burgeoning consumer base.
To cater to different consumer preferences, breweries have pushed the boundaries of flavour innovation. Spices, fruit and herbal teas, like Rooibos, have found their way into beer recipes, resulting in intriguing blends that reflect the country’s rich culinary heritage.
“Homebrewing allows beer enthusiasts to experiment with different ingredients and brewing techniques, which provide them with a chance to create personalised and one-of-a-kind (signature) brews,” says Adele du Toit, spokesperson for the SA Rooibos Council.
“It also allows individuals to be creative with their beer recipes. They can experiment with various hops, malts, yeast strains, and extras to craft beers tailored to their preferences. This level of customisation is not always possible with commercial beers.”
She says the use of Rooibos in beer has found increasing favour among craft brewers the world over with dozens of Rooibos-infused beer options now available.
“Rooibos, which is native to South Africa, has unique flavours and characteristics that can complement and enhance beer profiles. Rooibos’ mild sweetness, earthy notes, and hints of vanilla and honey adds to its appeal in beer. These flavours can add complexity and depth to various beer styles, particularly lighter or malt-forward brews.
“Some craft brewers have been trialling Rooibos during different stages of the brewing process, such as during mashing, boiling or fermentation. The tisane can be used as a substitute for water or combined with traditional brewing ingredients to infuse the beer with its distinct taste.”
She says as the craft beer movement continues to grow, brewers and consumers alike will continue to seek new taste experiences, which is likely to contribute to the appeal of Rooibos-infused brews.
Homebrewers, give this Rooibos beer recipe a try.
Makes: 7¼ litres
Preparation Time: 20 Minutes (excluding fermentation time)
5 ml sugar
500 ml lukewarm water
1 x 10 g packet (15 ml) instant yeast
600 g (750 ml) castor sugar
15 ml tartaric acid
250 ml lemon juice
20 ml lemon rind
3 ml strong Rooibos tea
3½ litre Cold water
Dissolve the 5 ml sugar in 500 ml lukewarm water. Sprinkle the instant yeast over and set aside until frothy, about 10 minutes.
Mix the remaining dry ingredients with the liquid and juice together with the activated yeast mixture and stir until well mixed.
Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrapping and leave in a warm place for about 12 hours.
Strain the mixture through a muslin cloth and pour the beer into bottles with tops. Leave in a cool place for 3 days. Chill before serving.
As the beer is very fizzy, ensure that the bottles are opened slowly and carefully, allowing the fizz to subside before totally removing the lid. It must be stored in a cool place or else the yeast will ferment too quickly, and the bottles could explode (preferably use plastic bottles).