Citation: Hypersphere. "How to Make Lotus Beer: An Experience with Nymphaea nouchali var caerulea & Alcohol (ID 89822)". Erowid.org. Jul 21, 2011. erowid.org/exp/89822
Background: I am a 26 year old male who has experimented extensively with herbs and other psychoactive substances, especially psychedelics. I have been experimenting with various species of Nymphaea (water lily/lotus) and Nelumbo (true lotus) for many years. I consider myself highly experienced with any and all preparations involving these plants. Blue lotus (Nymphaea caerulea) was the first herb I ever ordered off the internet, and I have been buying it ever since. By now, I just buy kilos of the stuff and have personally turned on hundreds of people to this wonderful plant (no joke!).
I have tried out several different preparations and methods of ingestion for blue lotus. Most commonly I smoke it, usually in a 50/50 mix with marijuana, or in herbal smoking blends. I find smoking blue lotus has a really nice mellow, relaxing quality. It is nice to take the edge off things, or to relax and chill out at the end of the day. It combines well with almost everything, but joints of a mix of weed and blue lotus are particularly well received near the tail-end of a trip on MDMA, LSD, or 2C-compounds. People who like smoking weed, invariably enjoy mixing it with blue lotus.
I also sometimes make blue lotus into tea, which I would usually drink before bed. The effects of an oral dose in tea come on very slow and subtle, and last all night. I often notice a significant enhancement of my dreams, they become more vivid and also easier to recall.
Sometimes I take a good pinch of blue lotus and chew it, holding the juices in my mouth. Chewing lotus comes on quite quickly, more similar to smoking it. The relaxing quality is quite noticeable, and this method is useful medicinally too, for instance in cases of tooth ache.
I have made very concentrated tinctures of lotus by soaking the powdered herb in 40% vodka. Such tinctures, usually made at a 1:3 ratio of herb:alcohol, are very potent and taking 1-3 mL of such a tincture and holding it in the mouth provides a fast and effective route of administration. I use the tincture form of lotus mainly as a nervine and for its calming, relaxing qualities.
Sometimes I add smaller amounts of blue lotus to home-made absinthe concoctions (“absinthe caerulea”), or in combination with coca leaf I will add it to gin to give it a sweet flavour and increase the potency of the drink. I have soaked lotus in wine once or twice, as well.
To summarize the effects that I experience from blue lotus:
- mildly sedative
- relaxing and calming
- mild analgesic
- mild mood lift/euphoria
- enhancement of tactile sensations
- enhancement of dream states
- pleasant synergy with most substances, especially marijuana, alcohol and psychedelics
- I find there is no comedown, after effects, or psychological/physiological dependency to speak of, making blue lotus one of the safest and most pleasant plants that I know of.
Many people have remarked on the special synergy between blue lotus and alcohol. Given this synergistic quality, I wanted to share a very successful experiment in which we made a fermented lotus beer using wild fermentation techniques (no yeast added).
The recipe was modeled after a recipe for wild-fermented ginger beer, and goes as follows:
First, we created an active starter culture. We took a clean 500 mL mason jar, and added 2 teaspoons of shredded blue lotus flowers with 2 teaspoons of maple syrup. You could probably use other sweeteners (sugar, agave, yacon etc.) if you wish, but we thought maple syrup would taste the best. Then we added a little spring water and stirred it all up. We put a piece of cheesecloth over the top of the jar and put the outer metal ring on, to hold it in place. In this way, hairs or dust don’t fall into the liquid, but air can flow. Since this is a wild-fermentation, it relies on yeast from the air or that is already on the plant material, to start the fermentation.
We kept the mason jar in a warm place (on top of the fridge), and each day added another teaspoon each of blue lotus flowers and maple syrup, and a little water if necessary to keep the mixture from getting too thick. It is important to stir the mixture each day, otherwise mold can start growing on the top.
After four days, it was observed that the mixture was producing quite a lot of bubbles, and had a pleasant yeasty smell, indicating that the culture was fermenting well and was ready for the next step. How quickly the mixture starts fermenting is variable, it may take as little as two days or as long as a week.
Now that the active starter culture was ready, we made a decoction of blue lotus flowers, maple syrup and lemon juice to use as the base for the beer. The ratios used are:
For each 500 mL of spring water, we add 7 grams of blue lotus herb, 50 mL of maple syrup and the juice of half a lemon. This is brought to a gentle simmer with the lid on, and after simmering for 15 minutes the heat is turned off, and the pot with its lid still on is allowed to cool overnight. This is the amount used for each bottle of beer we intend on making, so depending how many bottles of beer you want, just multiply these ratios.
In the morning, we poured the decoction through a strainer and collected the liquid, squeezing as much out of plant material as possible. The active starter culture is also poured through a strainer, and then added to the decoction. The mixture is stirred, and then put into bottles. We use 500 mL brown glass bottles with stopper tops.
Now put it somewhere dark to ferment! The speed at which the fermentation occurs partially depends on temperature. In our experiment, we left it for three and a half weeks at about 20 degrees Celcius.
The Experience: After three and a half weeks, I decided it was time to open a bottle and sample the fruits of our labours. I popped the top of a bottle that was only half full (containing 250 mL of lotus beer). Upon opening, there was a slight “pop” as natural carbonation was released, though nowhere near as much carbonation as when we have made ginger beer.
I poured the beer into a ceramic mug, admiring its dark brown colour, and took a sip. Lovely! It was definitely alcoholic. I do not have a device for measuring the alcohol content, but would guess it was around 4-7% alcohol by volume. The taste was reminiscent of apple cider. Crisp and refreshing, I could taste the lemon a little and there was just a hint of bitterness. Most of the sweetness of the maple syrup was gone, used up in the fermentation. It was slightly effervescent when held on the tongue.
As I continued sipping my lotus beer, the effects came on quickly and were very noticeable. It was much more intoxicating than I would expect from drinking 250 mL of beer, and felt quite a bit different than alcohol on its own does. Although the taste was crisp and refreshing, I found the drink itself was very warming. From my heart and the center of my body radiated a profound warmth like the sun. This is a great beverage for winter time! When I moved my body around, I found there was a pleasant dizzying sensation. Not at all like the spins I get from overconsuming liquor, as it was an entirely enjoyable sensation.
My mood was somewhat elevated, I had a big smile on my face and giggled a lot, feeling very relaxed. The calming, relaxing quality was in line with what I expect of lotus. Within a half hour I started to notice tactile sensations also. My sense of touch was heightened quite extraordinarily, and there was a pleasant buzzing energy all through my body. It was soft and gentle, but even the lightest breeze across my skin provoked wonderful sensations, as if someone was tickling me with a silky feather. The tactile sensations were again, quite in line with what I expect from lotus. It is a bit reminiscent of the tactile sensations of 2C-B or 2C-I, or similar to the initial pleasant sensations felt in the body when coming up on MDMA.
I smoked some of a joint of blue lotus and hash that my partner had rolled up, and that deepened the pleasant buzz I was feeling. I was very impressed with the lotus beer, and felt that the effects of the lotus came across very nicely, and were enhanced by the alcohol present in the beer.
This warm, happy buzz was of course slightly sedating also, and my partner and I were both tired. We got into bed and cuddled, and I was so relaxed that sleep came quickly and easily. I awoke the next morning feeling refreshed, with no after effects to speak of.
All in all, this was an excellent way to experience the effects of blue lotus, and I would recommend it to anyone. The recipe is very simple to follow and the results well received. Having experimented with several different preparations and routes of administration, I can say that the effects of the lotus beer were very pronounced, and this was a rewarding experiment.
We have started a new batch of lotus beer using red lotus (Nymphaea rubra) and hibiscus flowers, so we will see how that goes! Happy fermenting.
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