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We’ve adapted this recipe from Keith Villa’s book, Brewing with Cannabis. This recipe is nonalcoholic, but it’s easy to imagine variations that keep the alcohol and/or leave out the weed. “This recipe gives a full-bodied porter with roasted peanut notes,” Villa writes. “The final THC content will be about 18 mg per 12-ounce bottle, which is a hefty dose and can lead to cross-fading if the alcohol is left in the beer. However, without alcohol, the THC will provide a buzz similar to drinking a couple of pints of alcoholic imperial porter.”
Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%
ABV: <0.5% (5.1% before alcohol removal)
6.9 lb (3.1 kg) pale two-row
14.4 oz (408 g) crystal 50°L
11.2 oz (318 g) crystal 75°L
11.2 oz (318 g) white wheat malt
3.2 oz (91 g) Bairds chocolate malt 450–550°L
HOPS & ADDITIONS SCHEDULE
0.35 oz (10 g) Chinook at 60 minutes [15 IBUs]
0.35 oz (10 g) Perle at 60 minutes [9 IBUs]
1 lb (454 g) peanut butter at 15 minutes
1 tablet Whirlfloc at 10 minutes
0.2 oz (6 g) of decarboxylated cannabis buds (22% THC) at dry hop
Wyeast WY1968 London ESB Ale
Mill the grains and mash in at 140°F (60°C), rest 30 minutes; raise to 149°F (65°C), rest 10 minutes; raise to 167°F (75°C), rest 10 minutes, and mash out. Sparge and top up as necessary to get about 6 gallons (23 liters) of wort, depending on your evaporation rate. Boil for 60 minutes, adding hops, peanut butter, and Whirlfloc (or Irish moss) according to the schedule. Chill the wort to 68°F (20°C), aerate, and pitch the yeast. Ferment at 68°F (20°C) until complete, rack to secondary, cool to 39°F (4°C), and add cannabis for 2 weeks.
To remove the alcohol: Transfer the beer back to the kettle and gently heat to 173°F (78°C). (Optionally, use an oven if that’s easier to control temperature.) Hold at that temperature for 1 hour; the sweet, solventy aroma of alcohol being boiled off will be noticeable during the first 30 minutes and steadily diminish. Then rack from the kettle and cool to 39°F (4°C). Package and carbonate to 2.7 volumes of CO2.
I tend to carbonate my porters and stouts higher than usual to help bring out the dark malt character in the aroma. The oils in the peanut butter will provide the yeast with nutrients to build cell membranes and multiply, much like the addition of oxygen; the final yeast crop will be about five times that of a normal yeast crop.
Water profile: 300 ppm alkalinity as CaCO3.