May 28, 2024

Dandelion Beer Recipe: A Springtime Treat

Beer in a glass mug on a wood table with dandelions
You may have heard of dandelion wine, but have you ever made dandelion beer? Here's some info on making one – including two dandelion beer recipes!

Though most people consider the dandelion an obnoxious weed, the whole plant is actually edible: roots, leaves, and flowers. Dandelion is medicinal as well, sometimes taken in the form of tea for its detoxifying qualities.

For those interested in traditional and rustic pseudo-beers, a dandelion beer may give a hint as to what an early American settler would have made in the absence of hops, using the ubiquitous dandelion to help provide bitterness and flavor.

A number of American craft brewers have given dandelion new life by putting it in some of their specialty beers:
  • New Belgium made a Dandelion Ale as part of the Lips of Faith series. Their version used pilsner malt, dandelion greens, grains of paradise, and Belgian ale yeast.
  • Fonta Flora, a newer brewery in Morganton, North Carolina, brewed a dandelion brettanomyces saison.

As you can see, there are many ways to interpret the style of dandelion beer. The key component, as with any beer, is balance.

A Note on Harvesting Dandelion

It should be easy enough to find dandelions. Just be sure that the location you’re pulling the dandelions from hasn’t been sprayed with pesticide or herbicide, is far enough away from any cars and pets so as to avoid contamination.

A Traditional Dandelion Beer Recipe

This recipe, from Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers, is a traditional dandelion beer recipe from 1931. Though the fermentable sugar in this case is from sugar, feel free to use malt extract instead for more body. Sugar beers tend to finish a little thin. The flavor is hard to describe: floral, yet not in the way hops can be floral. "I served this beer at a homebrew festival a couple years ago – it’s strange, but some people really liked it." Be warned – the beer will stain a plastic fermenter, so I recommend a glass carboy or stainless steel fermentor.

Ingredients (two-gallon batch)

2 oz. dried dandelion
2 oz. dried nettle
1 oz. dried yellow dock root
1 gal. water (plus 1 gallon preboiled and cooled for topping off)
2 lbs. sugar
2 tbsp. dried ginger
Fermentis SafAle US-05

Boil the dandelion, nettle, and yellow dock root in water for 15 minutes. Place the sugar and ginger in your glass fermenter, then strain the “tea” over the sugar. Allow to cool to room temperature, then add enough preboiled, cooled water to bring the total volume to two gallons. Add your yeast and stir into the wort. Ferment until complete, then bottle.

A Modern Dandelion Beer Recipe

The Dandelion Bitter from the Homebrewer’s Garden offers a recipe a little closer to what most of us consider beer.


OG: 1.048
FG: 1.012 – 1.016
Color: orange-brown

Ingredients (five-gallon batch)

1/2 lb. Biscuit Malt
1/2 lb. 60L crystal malt
3.15 lbs. Briess Gold Malt Extract Syrup
3 lbs. Briess Pilsen Light DME
1 lb. dandelions: leaves, blossoms, and roots at start of boil 60
1 oz. Kent Goldings hops at 15min from end of boil
1/2 oz. Willamette hops at 2min from end of boil 
1/2 oz. Willamette hops (dry hops)
Wyeast 1028: London Ale Yeast or Fermentis SafAle™ S-04
2/3 c. Corn Sugar for priming

Muslin Mesh Grain Bag for steeping grains.

Clean the dandelions thoroughly. Pour grain into a mesh bag, and tie the open end in a knot. Steep for 30 min at 150° - 160°F. Remove the bag, drain, and discard. Stir in the malt extracts and bring to a boil. Boil for one hour, adding dandelions and hops according to the schedule above. When the 60-minute boil is finished, cool the wort to approximately 100°F as rapidly as possible by using a wort chiller, or put the kettle in an ice bath in your sink. Fill the primary fermenter with 2 gal cold water, then pour in cooled wort. Leave any thick sludge in the bottom of the kettle. Add more cold water as needed to bring volume to 5 gal.

When wort is 70˚F or below, pitch yeast. Ferment at 64-70˚F. At the end of primary fermentation, add the Willamette dry hops. After secondary fermentation, bottle with priming sugar and condition for two weeks.

Have you ever brewed a dandelion beer? Or, do you have a dandelion beer recipe you’d like to share with us? How did it turn out?