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I'd like to brew a pale ale with rosemary and am looking for the right technique. I've read various techniques from adding it late in the boil to adding it in the secondary. What technique have you had the best success with?

  • How much should I use?
  • Fresh or dried?
  • When should I add it?
  • How long should I leave it in for?
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I've never brewed with rosemary, but please allow me to offer my thoughts - I use it a often in the kitchen, and also as essential oil for aroma in the home.

The aroma of the essential oil when heated combines well with citric fruit aromas, so I imagine it would work well with citrussy hops, Cascades being the obvious choice.

I would recommend using fresh only, since the flavor and aroma are more delicate than when dried. Even so, the flaour and aroma are quite robust - I usually use it in a red wine reduction - about 2 tablespoons of chopped leaves for 4 people, and the aroma and flavor is quite apparent. I doubt you would want more than 4 tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary leaves in a 5 gallon batch, so the flavor and aroma are subtle.

In the same way we etra the flavor and aromatic oils in hops, I would think the oils in rosmary can be extracted by adding late to the boil or "dry herbing" in the fermentor.

No hard facts here, just conjecture. It would be interesting to hear how your expriment compares to what I write here!

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    Since rosemary is probably not as microbe-resistant as hops, I wonder if dry-herbing is likely to result in an infection? I'd soak the herbs in a little vodka for an hour or two before adding them to the fermentor. – Graham Sep 19 '11 at 17:43
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I have added it to numerous pale ales. One of my recipes uses cascade and northern brewers hops and it works great. You want to shoot for a greater body too so if you are running all grain do about 156 for the mash temp. I throw 2 ozs of the dried cooking herb type to the boil about 5 mins before flameoff and it works great. Cascade and northern brewer (as long as it not too high AA) will complement very well with that amount of rosemary. If you want to kick it up a bit I would add an extra oz. As for the grain bill just follow any american pale ale bill, perhaps go heavier on the base malts to bring out those herbal tones.

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I've used it (1 tablespoon dried) at 10 minutes til flameout, was great. Fresh would probably be better. (I also added catnip with the rosemary, and clove during fermentation)

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