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Reishi Ginger Turmeric Pale Ale

By Willoughby Arevalo, Max Brotman, and Claire Brown

This refreshing beer is spicy, crisp, aromatic, earthy, and a little bitter. It will make you want to take your medicine. The amount of Reishi used is calculated to give a 4 gram dose per 12 ounces (350 mL) of beer, the daily dose recommended by Robert Rogers in The Fungal Pharmacy. As everyone’s brewing setup and process is a little different, this basic recipe has been left open to interpretation. If you are unfamiliar with beer brewing, consult your local brew shop, a home brewing book, or one of the many online brewing forums. 19 Also, feel free to just wing it. Makes 5 gallons (19 L). Partial mash.


Closing loops, the grains that are leftover from beer brewing can be used to grow mushrooms.


6 pounds (2.75 kg) light malt syrup

2 pounds (900 g) 2-row malt, cracked

1 pound (450 g) Munich malt, cracked

0.5 pounds (225 g) dried Reishi, finely cut or coarsely ground

1 pound (450 g) fresh ginger rhizomes, grated

0.75 pounds (340 g) fresh turmeric rhizomes, grated (if you can’t get it fresh, try using 0.5 cups [225 mL] dry turmeric powder)

1 ounce (30 g) hops for bittering (such as Challenger)

1 ounce (30 g) hops for aroma (a citrusy type, such as Centennial)

1 packet American ale yeast (or culture your own)

4.5 ounces (183 g) light dry malt extract (for bottling)



Put the Reishi, ginger, and turmeric in a large, non-reactive pot (or a crock pot) with about 1 gallon (4 L) of water, and simmer for 2–24 hours, adding more water if necessary to maintain the volume.



Fill your kettle with about 2 gallons (8 L) of water and heat to about 160°F (71°C). Simultaneously, heat 2 gallons of sparge water to about 160°F (71°C) in another pot.


Put the grains in a sac and submerge it in the first kettle, dipping and swirling the sac to thoroughly wet the grains. Suspend the sac from a wooden spoon laid across the top of the pot to keep the grains off the bottom while they cook.


Watch closely and maintain the temperature for 30 minutes.


Alternately, do your mash in a food-grade plastic bucket, which will hold the tem- perature pretty well.


Remove the grain sac and put it in a large colander perched atop the kettle, allowing it to drip back into the kettle.



Pour the second pot of water through the grains to rinse out the remaining sugars.



Add the malt extract syrup and the Reishi-ginger-turmeric decoction (including the solids) to the kettle, to make a total volume of about 5 gallons (19 L).


Bring the wort to a boil and add the bittering hops (or slow hop, adding hops little by little throughout the boil, starting with the bittering hops and keeping some aroma hops for the end).


Boil for one hour.



Turn off the heat and add your finishing (aroma) hops. Cover and chill.


Once cooled to 70–75ºF (21–24ºC), strain out the solids and transfer to your pri- mary fermenting vessel.

162 Radical Mycology

13. If you want to calculate the beer’s alcohol by volume, take a hydrometer reading of the original gravity.

14. Pitch the yeast, ferment, and bottle as usual. If the ginger and turmeric flavors aren’t strong enough for you, juice some and add it to the beer just before bottling.

High Proof Alcohol

All alcoholic drinks can be distilled to produce high proof alcohols using a tabletop distillation train (as described at the end of Chapter 7) or large still. Some home distillers and bootleggers convert a metal keg or pressure cooker to serve this purpose. Building a still and safely distilling alcohol is beyond the scope of this book, but information abounds on the internet. 20 The home production of high proof alcohol is illegal in some countries. High proof alcohol, whether homemade or purchased, is a wonderful medium for carrying the medicinal qualities and flavors of fungi. One example recipe is to soak 1 part dried Boletus edulis mushrooms in 4 parts sherry (the distillate of wine) for a few weeks before filtering out the solids. The iterations of this concept are limitless.

Jelly Fungi Shots

By Willoughby Arevalo

Before S. cerevisiae became the preferred yeast among brewers, many of the tradi- tional saisons or lambics of Belgium were fermented, at least in part, by yeasts from the genus Brettanomyces. The spicy, earthy, and sour flavors produced by these fungi have in recent years come back into popularity among brewers seeking to produce ales with a more traditional flavor.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, jelly fungi are considered cooling and drying. Eaten fresh in the field, they are earthy and refreshing. I call them “forest floor-flavored gummy bears.” This decidedly untraditional recipe lies somewhere between food, medicine, and adult bev- erage.



Fresh jelly fungi in any combination of the following species: Dacrymyces palmatus, Ductifera pululahuana, Guepinia helvelloides, Heterotextus alpinus, Pseudohydnum gelatinosum, Tremella fuciformis, T. lutescens, or T. mesenterica

Liqueur of your choice


1. Clean the mushrooms if necessary. This is one instance where washing mushrooms in water may be appropriate.

2. Place in a clean jar and cover with liqueur.

3. Infuse for 1–7 days at room temperature. The alcohol will absorb into the fungus and some of the medicinal properties will be extracted into the liqueur.

4. Transfer to the freezer, where they will keep up to six months. The high alcohol content should prevent freezing.

5. Serve ice cold with a spoon or in a cocktail.

The high alcohol content should prevent freezing. 5. Serve ice cold with a spoon or in

The Spores of Life