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General Category => Ingredients => Topic started by: AmandaK on July 18, 2014, 01:27:15 PM

Title: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: AmandaK on July 18, 2014, 01:27:15 PM
I am wanting to 'cucumber' a saison, but would like a bit of direction before I screw this up.

How exactly would you cucumber a beer? Dry-cucumbering? Juice it and blend? Do I remove the skin? What about the seeds? I would imagine that one or both of those would be bitter/unpleasant.

I've come across several threads on this forum and others about cucumber saisons, but they just generally say "add cucumber" - which is unhelpful.

I have a bumper crop of cucumbers (3-8 a day) and need to do something with them - help!
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: HoosierBrew on July 18, 2014, 01:29:32 PM
I would remove the skin and seeds, puree, and add the puree to secondary. I think one of the commercial breweries that makes one does it that way.

EDIT - Actually, you could strain the puree through a strainer or cheesecloth to remove most of the 'pulpy' matter and be left with a cleaner product in your secondary. Though standard fruit purees never cause me any issue.
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: Stevie on July 18, 2014, 01:42:49 PM
Cucumber is nearly all water. I would just slice it up and toss it in. Not sure about the skin. I personally don't mind it, but I know others that don't. I guess sanitation would be easier if you peel it.
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: Jeff M on July 18, 2014, 01:54:14 PM
There was an article in the latest Zymurgy That mentioned Cucumber Saison.  THe dude in the wacked out suit said he removes the skins because it can cause a chlorophyll note and then juices them.  I would think using part cuke juice part water for your beer would be the way to go. Maybe treat an AG batch like an extract batch(brew a concentrated wort with corrected IBus) and "top up" with the cuke juice to save the gentle flavors that is cucumber.

Might work, probably wont:D

Jeff
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: AmandaK on July 18, 2014, 04:57:14 PM
Hmm... I have a over-what-I-wanted-original-gravity saison that I may be able to 'back add' cuke juice to...

I may try this when I get home in a glass of saison and see what happens.
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: HoosierBrew on July 18, 2014, 05:18:11 PM
I might even keg with a bit of the juice to bring out more of the flavor. Never having brewed one, I don't know what the threshold is to get cucumber flavor to be apparent. I know I use double the amount of a milder fruit like peach to get the same level of presence as using something like cherry or raspberry. I'll be curious to hear how it comes out !
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: HydraulicSammich on July 18, 2014, 05:24:40 PM
Amanda, do you have a nice cucumber sauce recipe you might share.  Greek like!
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: morticaixavier on July 18, 2014, 05:27:50 PM
Amanda, do you have a nice cucumber sauce recipe you might share.  Greek like!

I just made falafel the other day and put together some cuke sauce to go with it.

~1 cup greek style yogurt
~4 inches of english cuke shredded on the box grater and squeezed of as much moisture as I could
~ .25 tsp lemon juice
~2 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill
Cumin, corriander, salt, and black pepper to taste.
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: HydraulicSammich on July 18, 2014, 05:33:37 PM
Morticai, that is wonderful.  Thank you!
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: AmandaK on July 18, 2014, 06:04:03 PM
Thank you for posting that Jonathan. I have no idea what to do with all of these cukes, so perhaps I'll try that as well.

KCBM meeting is tonight, so I might not get to this today but I'll attempt some bench trials in the coming days.
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: redbeerman on July 18, 2014, 06:31:52 PM
Pickles!?!
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: Stevie on July 18, 2014, 06:36:48 PM
Pickles!?!


That's what I would do. Not all cucumbers make good pickles.
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: redbeerman on July 18, 2014, 06:38:47 PM
Pickles!?!


That's what I would do. Not all cucumbers make good pickles.
I've never met a vegetable that I couldn't make a good pickle out of.  Must be the kraut in me.
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: AmandaK on July 18, 2014, 06:38:53 PM
I have quick pickled about 5-6 cukes. I'm wearing thin on those.
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: redbeerman on July 18, 2014, 06:45:33 PM
I have quick pickled about 5-6 cukes. I'm wearing thin on those.
You can always jar some.  They keep forever, so you don't get burnt out on them.  The cool thing is you don't have to pressure can them, just a boiling water bath is enough due to the acidity.  of course I have a kid who could live on them.  I did cukes and kohlrabi last weekend.
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: Kinetic on July 18, 2014, 06:49:42 PM
Maybe trade a Floridian for some CCB Cucumber Saison before you commit to a batch.  I tried it and won't be brewing with cucumbers.  YMMV
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: Kinetic on July 18, 2014, 07:05:43 PM
Or you can order it from Luekens and pick up a few other CCB beers while you're at it.

http://www.luekensliquors.com/beer/cigar-city-cucumber-saison-22oz
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: HoosierBrew on July 18, 2014, 07:15:27 PM
Maybe trade a Floridian for some CCB Cucumber Saison before you commit to a batch.  I tried it and won't be brewing with cucumbers.  YMMV

Yeah, while I would definitely try one, I can't ever see brewing one myself, especially in quantity. Never say never though.
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: Kinetic on July 18, 2014, 07:27:51 PM
5+ gallons is a large commitment.  1-2 gallons is worth the risk.  Which reminds me, I need to get crackin on my smoked ham on rye with mustard beer!   
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: erockrph on July 18, 2014, 08:55:32 PM
I'm jealous. My cucumbers didn't make it this year. Most summers I eat a whole cucumber with lunch at work every day. Cut into sticks with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cukes are one veggie that I've never had too much of.
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on July 18, 2014, 09:34:31 PM
Maybe trade a Floridian for some CCB Cucumber Saison before you commit to a batch.  I tried it and won't be brewing with cucumbers.  YMMV
Where is Jeffy when you need him? Just saying since he knows the CCB brewers.
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: jeffy on July 18, 2014, 10:14:13 PM
Maybe trade a Floridian for some CCB Cucumber Saison before you commit to a batch.  I tried it and won't be brewing with cucumbers.  YMMV
Where is Jeffy when you need him? Just saying since he knows the CCB brewers.

What?
I can pick up a bottle if someone wants it.  I think it is a novelty rather than something I'd want a 5 gallon keg of.  The one time I tried it the brewer gave me a sample and I was surprised at how much cucumber they got into it.  It was like the salad course.  Then they gave me a sample of the dessert course, some  cookie tasting beer that I would also not want more than a small glass of.
I'll try to remember to ask how they infuse it this weekend.
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: Kinetic on July 18, 2014, 10:20:19 PM
Honestly, I would prefer to brew with pickles over cucumbers and may have to add some to my smoked ham on rye with mustard beer.  I thought about it and will definitely add some sauerkraut for Majorvices and mostly because the Mad Fermentationalist claims a pork and sauerkraut flavored beer is an experiment not worth making. 
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: HoosierBrew on July 18, 2014, 10:34:30 PM
Honestly, I would prefer to brew with pickles over cucumbers and may have to add some to my smoked ham on rye with mustard beer.  I thought about it and will definitely add some sauerkraut for Majorvices and mostly because the Mad Fermentationalist claims a pork and sauerkraut flavored beer is an experiment not worth making. 

You beat me to it - I was gonna suggest a cucumber Berliner (read:pickle flavored) to drink alongside your ham/mustard brew, to simulate the pickle next to the sandwich!      ;)   
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on July 18, 2014, 11:17:02 PM
Maybe trade a Floridian for some CCB Cucumber Saison before you commit to a batch.  I tried it and won't be brewing with cucumbers.  YMMV
Where is Jeffy when you need him? Just saying since he knows the CCB brewers.

What?
I can pick up a bottle if someone wants it.  I think it is a novelty rather than something I'd want a 5 gallon keg of.  The one time I tried it the brewer gave me a sample and I was surprised at how much cucumber they got into it.  It was like the salad course.  Then they gave me a sample of the dessert course, some  cookie tasting beer that I would also not want more than a small glass of.
I'll try to remember to ask how they infuse it this weekend.
Well, you do know the brewers. I didn't say that you liked that beer!
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: case thrower on July 19, 2014, 04:48:00 AM
I have a recipe for a Cucumber saison.  Calls for 1 English cucumber per gallon to be washed, halved, then thinly sliced and added directly to the fermenter right after the yeast is pitched.  I've never tried it so I can't vouch for how it will work.  Good luck.
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: GolfBum on July 19, 2014, 06:46:08 PM
At Avery's SourFest this year they had a Sour Blond that had cucumber and rosehips added. It was THE most refreshing sour I have ever had. Would be great on warm/hot days. It has me wanting to make a sour with cucumber. So refreshing.
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: 3bbrewing on July 19, 2014, 10:59:05 PM
Kinetic, I had a Berliner that was brewed with pickle juice.  It was an experimental brew from a brewery in LA.  It was strangely good.  Couldn't drink much more than 8-10 oz, and the salt load would seize your little heart up, but it was interesting. 
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: hoser on July 20, 2014, 01:39:05 AM
Amanda,
I know you don't particulary like the BN, but Flat Tail had some tips on cuking a beer a few years ago.

http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/927

Or maybe email Wayne at Cigar City?
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: Slowbrew on July 20, 2014, 11:56:25 AM
Pickles!?!


That's what I would do. Not all cucumbers make good pickles.
I've never met a vegetable that I couldn't make a good pickle out of.  Must be the kraut in me.

Amanda already said she has pickled some but there are kinds of cucumbers that just turn to mush if you try to pickle them.  We were sold the wrong kind one year and saw it happen first hand.

Paul
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: brewinhard on July 20, 2014, 02:40:30 PM
Just drank a cucumber beer at Voodoo Brewing in Meadville, PA last night.  It was the third summer in a row they have made it.  And the recipe tastes a bit better each year.  The base beer was reminiscent of simple blonde ale, lightly hopped with neutral yeast character to let the cucumbers shine through.  The bartender said they peeled about 200# of cucumbers and dry "cuked" with them in secondary.  The beer was quite refreshing and even more so with a touch of salt added to enhance the cucumber flavor.  I think the beer would have been even better had they used a yeast with a bit more character. 
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: reverseapachemaster on July 21, 2014, 03:12:10 PM
I had a cucumber berliner weisse at 10 Barrel in Bend and it was really tasty. I seem to think the description said they peeled and deseeded. I'm pretty sure that is the preferred course of action every time I've seen it discussed.
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: Jimmy K on July 21, 2014, 03:33:44 PM
I make a cucumber vodka drink with lemon and ginger where I juice whole peeled cucumbers. The skin is slightly bitter and also adds a green tint that I don't want. The seeds are fine since they're basically undeveloped. The plants been bred for flavorless, underdeveloped seeds much like seedless watermelons. Even annihilated in the juicer the seeds are fine and the pulp around the seeds contains a lot of juice.
Title: Re: How do you... cucumber?
Post by: jeffy on July 23, 2014, 01:22:42 AM
I heard back from the brewer at Cigar City who said that he didn't want to disappoint, but they "use cucumber essence. It is the natural distillant that is the byproduct of the concentration process of real cucumbers."  He also said that of several cucumber beers he recently tasted the best were the ones made without the peel.