Author Topic: What's the strangest ingredient you've ever used?  (Read 6093 times)

Offline bboy9000

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Re: What's the strangest ingredient you've ever used?
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2013, 09:14:52 PM »
I once used bacon in a maple bacon porter by steeping bacon in a few ounces of vodka.  I could taste the bacon in the vodka but once I spiked the bottles with it I just had salty maple porter. 
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Offline skyler

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Re: What's the strangest ingredient you've ever used?
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2013, 01:38:51 AM »
I have tasted made with berkeley starters have been amazing.

I left Berkeley, but kept my Berkelian starter. It is a real workhorse. Great.

Offline firedog23

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Re: What's the strangest ingredient you've ever used?
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2013, 02:45:20 AM »
I used rye bread last week. 1.25 pounds in the mash and another 1.25 pounds as a sort of decoction with 8 cups of wort, reduced down to two cups.
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Offline Siamese Moose

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Re: What's the strangest ingredient you've ever used?
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2013, 05:59:22 AM »
I have used mustard seed in a Belgian Blond. The seeds don't taste like prepared mustard until you do a vinegar extract. The flavor was more nutty. This was part of an Iron Brewer competition.

I have also used dandelion greens (from my yard) as a bittering agent in a no-hop beer.

Finally, I use paw paw fruit (native to the Ohio valley) from the trees in my yard in a saison every year.
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Offline majorvices

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What's the strangest ingredient you've ever used?
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2013, 06:01:57 AM »
Marshmallows and graham crackers in the mash and chocolate in the boil: s'mores beer. :)
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Offline denny

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Re: What's the strangest ingredient you've ever used?
« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2013, 09:17:41 AM »
Marshmallows and graham crackers in the mash and chocolate in the boil: s'mores beer. :)

Did the marshmallows and graham cracker flavor come through in the finished beer?
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Offline majorvices

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What's the strangest ingredient you've ever used?
« Reply #21 on: March 16, 2013, 01:11:40 PM »
Marshmallows and graham crackers in the mash and chocolate in the boil: s'mores beer. :)

Did the marshmallows and graham cracker flavor come through in the finished beer?

This is how I know yer getting old, you don't remember this from years ago over at at B3 forum. You berated me for it At the time. ;)

Nah, I ended up dumping it due to a weird salt flavor probably from crackers.
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Offline brewsumore

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Re: What's the strangest ingredient you've ever used?
« Reply #22 on: March 16, 2013, 02:50:21 PM »
I've adapted a majorvices saison recipe more or less with a kaffir lime leaves and galangal (Indian ginger) saison that was great.  I also make a chokecherry Belgian wit with wild-picked chokecherries that is really good.

As for non-typical but not unheard of ingredients, one saison I did with star anise and ginger in very small amounts was probably my least favorite of my saisons but still was tasty.

Online kmccaf

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Re: What's the strangest ingredient you've ever used?
« Reply #23 on: March 16, 2013, 03:22:46 PM »
I've adapted a majorvices saison recipe more or less with a kaffir lime leaves and galangal (Indian ginger) saison that was great.  I also make a chokecherry Belgian wit with wild-picked chokecherries that is really good.

As for non-typical but not unheard of ingredients, one saison I did with star anise and ginger in very small amounts was probably my least favorite of my saisons but still was tasty.

The chokecherry wit sounds really good! Do you have to pit the chokecherries?
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Offline brewsumore

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Re: What's the strangest ingredient you've ever used?
« Reply #24 on: March 16, 2013, 04:01:20 PM »
From a previous NB Forum thread: 

I've made the Brew-Haus chokecherry stout a couple times and it's very good. I adopted their method for using chokecherries and developed a Chokecherry Belgian Wit recipe that is also very good according to a number of people...

"Also for my recipe, I've frozen, thawed, then macerated the chokecherries (I do them bit by bit in a food processor, no more than about 15 seconds since you DON'T want to crack the pits since they contain prussic acid, i.e. poison), and stirred that well while pasteurizing them in the wort after the boil, and then strained them out prior to fermenting, rather than tossing them pits and all into the primary fermenter. This makes it easier to rack after primary fermentation. But I had plenty of cc's to work with...

I've tried both removing the stems and not removing the tiny stems and I didn't think the batch with stems came in very noticeably more bitter, although they will for wine or mead."

You can also freeze, thaw and then squish by hand the berries, but I found that the food processor is much quicker and if done right won't crack a single pit, and isn't hard at all to do without cracking pits.  I think I got the food processor idea from a blog about making pemmican or mead.  PM me if you'd like the recipe.  Since they are a strong flavored berry, they are fine for adding pre-ferment.  I checked my past batch notes and found that 1.2 pounds of ripe chokecherries per gallon of finished beer is plenty of fruit.  The brewer at the time (2006) at Blue Moon Brewing in Bend, OR helped me dial in my recipe.  You need to let this beer mature awhile, for the fruit to integrate - it's amazing the transformation it goes through after it's been in the bottle for a couple months.  I haven't tried kegging it yet.

The old Brew-Haus (they are/were in Durango, CO) recipe for Rocky Mountain Choke Cherry Stout, no longer available via a Google search (I just tried), they macerated by hand the fruit, pasteurized following the boil at ~160F for 20 minutes, and then dumped pits and all into fermenters for the entire primary.

edited to reduce amount of fruit per batch after checking past batch notes.

« Last Edit: March 16, 2013, 06:55:32 PM by brewsumore »

Offline erockrph

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Re: What's the strangest ingredient you've ever used?
« Reply #25 on: March 16, 2013, 07:51:17 PM »
I admire everyone's adventuresome spirit here. I have a hard time drinking even 12 ounces of most beers with exotic ingredients. I'd hate to be stuck with a case of something I don't really want to drink.

I would love to use my yellow raspberries or pink currants in a brew, but I eat them all before I can even get in the house :))
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Offline euge

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Re: What's the strangest ingredient you've ever used?
« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2013, 07:10:04 AM »
I've been thinking about using durian fruit in a beer. Best experiment with a lesser batch in case it turns out badly.
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Offline rjharper

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Re: What's the strangest ingredient you've ever used?
« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2013, 09:00:02 AM »

I'm back in Dubai and just scored some fun ingredients at the spice souk. One that jumps out at me is sumac. It's tart, a little citrusy, earthy and bright purple! It's used on salads here but can be used in place of lemon. I also picked up some dried hibiscus. I need to figure out a good base beer, but I'm leaning towards a sumac / hibiscus wheat might be a good start...
« Last Edit: March 17, 2013, 09:29:27 AM by rjharper »
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Offline denny

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Re: What's the strangest ingredient you've ever used?
« Reply #28 on: March 17, 2013, 09:23:37 AM »
This is how I know yer getting old, you don't remember this from years ago over at at B3 forum. You berated me for it At the time. ;)

Nah, I ended up dumping it due to a weird salt flavor probably from crackers.

Dude, there are a LOT of signs I'm getting old!
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Offline Siamese Moose

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Re: What's the strangest ingredient you've ever used?
« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2013, 01:06:03 PM »
One that jumps out at me is sumac

My wife is doing some test batches for a local one-man brewery (Blank Slate, Cincinnati, OH, http://www.blankslatebeer.com/index.shtml), and sumac is one of the things they're about to test. They're going to start by making some teas and blending them into a Belgian Blond to see what they get.
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