Live mussels were in the marked down section at Tesco on my way home from work on Wednesday. I am very partial to a bowl of mussels in beer so I remember thinking that my luck must have changed as before this my day had been a filthy nightmare of no barrels, vessels, and water due to a burst main. That was until I awoke at midnight with excoriating indigestion and delirium. I should have stuck to the safe option and gone for the tub of jellied eels. The reason for this week’s excess information about my intestinal health is a subtle link into the 43rd brew in my odyssey. We once again head seawards with the Seaweed Wheat Wine.
Seaweed is not as strange an ingredient as you might imagine, oh no. Almost every commercial beer in the UK has seaweed in it. The finings used to encourage the formation of trub in the copper (kettle) are made from the red seaweed Chondrus crispus and are known as carageenan. Carageenan is a polysaccharide which has a wide range of uses from making ice cream creamier to use as a “personal lubricant” (this is my new favourite euphemism). I have been out to Port Quinn which seems to be the seaweed capital of North Cornwall to harvest my seaweeds I have a few different varieties only one of which I have been able to identify, bladderwrack or Fucus vesiculosus.
Seaweed is one of those foodstuffs which is either in and out of fashion as a superfood (or a health food as they used to be known until that phrase was rendered meaningless by misuse). It may or may not have properties which will make you a superfit, superfertile, energy machine who will never get cancer depending on what version of the truth the media is currently peddling. I have absolutely no doubt that this beer will make you younger, fitter and irresistible to the opposite sex.
The seaweed will hopefully give some marine freshness to my very strong wheat wine. I am using 70% malted wheat in the grist to give tartness. This brew is more or less all uncharted for me so all that remains to be seen is if the surprise will be pleasant or unpleasant.
Malt: Malted wheat, Pale Ale and sucrose
Hops: Magnum, Perle