Wistman’s Ale

I’m terrible for keeping track of all my beer recipes. I make some really nice beers, but I forget what I’ve put in the best of them and so they’re never to be repeated. So I’m going to post my recipes on here instead. If you’ve never made homebrew before, this probably won’t help you very much as I’m assuming you have a good idea of the process.

This recipe is for an ale I made for my brother for Christmas. It’s a very dark ruby beer, very malty and just a little sweet, but with a really nice bite from the hops too.


  • Tin of Cooper’s dark malt extract
  • 500g dark spraymalt
  • 150g dried elderberries
  • 150g sloes (I used dried – if you use fresh double this quantity)
  • 50g fuggles hops
  • 1kg sugar

Dissolve the sugar in 2 pints of boiling water, add the malt extract and dissolve this in the sugary water. Use a couple of pints of boiling water to wash out the last bits from the tin, then add the spraymalt and mix all into a thick syrup. Top up the vessel to a temperature of 25°.

Stir in your yeast, then add the elderberries, sloes and hops to a muslin bag and either float this in the top like a big teabag or stretch it over your fermentation vessel.

You’ll probably find that because this is quite a heavy beer fermentation will be complete as bit sooner than you’d expect – around 1.010 or so, in fact. Despite this your beer should still be in the range 5.0 to 5.0% using the quantities above.