Author Topic: Raisins - to Boil or Not to Boil?  (Read 1198 times)

Offline ultravista

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Raisins - to Boil or Not to Boil?
« on: January 11, 2014, 08:01:55 AM »
I made a four gallon porter, adding 1 pound of flame torched caramelized raisins (ala Lost Abbey) during the boil. After torching the raisins, I pureed them with a cup or two of hot wort, and dumped the slurry into the kettle. The raisins boiled for an hour or more. I also added 1 pound of Piloncillo sugar to the boil.

The wort fermented with WLP530 to give it a Belgiany flavor. Starting gravity was around 1.070 and two weeks later, it terminated at 1.010.

The resulting beer is has absolutely no raisin flavor - none. With a pound of raisins in a four gallon batch, a raisin flavor should be very apparent. For argument sake, Dog Fish Head Raisin Detre calls for 8 ounces and there is no mistaking it is a raisin beer.

I suspect the long boil is the root of the absent raisin flavor.

Does anyone have experience brewing with raisins and perhaps a similar experience? Did the boil kill the flavor?




Offline riceral

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Re: Raisins - to Boil or Not to Boil?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2014, 08:10:58 AM »
I personally haven't used raisins. One person in my local homebrew club has used raisins and recommends adding raisin puree (like you described) in the last 10-15 minutes of the boil.

Ralph R.

Offline davidgzach

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Re: Raisins - to Boil or Not to Boil?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2014, 08:13:45 AM »
No experience with raisins, but my guess is you boiled out the flavor. 
Dave Zach

Offline Jeff M

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Re: Raisins - to Boil or Not to Boil?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2014, 08:15:36 AM »
Ive been reading a lot on adding fruit to beers.  The key to getting the flavour and aroma fromt he fruit is adding it to your primary once high Krausen has fallen according to the texts i have read.  A vigorious boil will blow off most of the aroma from the fruit and also change the flavor of the fruit because you are essentially cooking it, adding off flavors.

I put 8 oz of raisins in a Cider to bump up the ABV and get raisin flavor.  it was subtle but there:)

Good luck:)
Jeff

Edit - Be warned: what you find in the fermenter wont look like a raisin any more...:D
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Raisins - to Boil or Not to Boil?
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2014, 08:40:33 AM »
I've used raisins before but its been a long time and I can't remember much about it. That said, regardless of the DFH recipe, 1 lb per 5 gallons might not be enough. You mighty try doubling it. The suggestion to add to secondary or at end of primary is a good one too. I would scorch or deglaze them, puree them with some preboiled water and add them to secondary and maybe double the amount.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Raisins - to Boil or Not to Boil?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2014, 08:43:35 AM »
I added raisin puree to a dubbel once before right after high krausen. It was a really good dubbel. You definitely don't want to boil it.
Jon H.

Offline benamcg

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Re: Raisins - to Boil or Not to Boil?
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2014, 09:02:59 AM »
Why not use Special B?  It imparts a very raisin like taste.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Raisins - to Boil or Not to Boil?
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2014, 09:14:07 AM »
Why not use Special B?  It imparts a very raisin like taste.

You're right, it does have raisin like flavor.. I've done both, sometimes in the same beer. It's something that a pretty good brewery uses (Lost Abbey, as well as DFH) and was fun to experiment with.
Jon H.

Offline ultravista

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Re: Raisins - to Boil or Not to Boil?
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2014, 09:27:14 AM »
I am considering adding another pound, chopped and caramelized with some rum, into the keg in a nylon sock (ala dry hop). It's been sitting in the keg around 60F for a month or more now.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Raisins - to Boil or Not to Boil?
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2014, 09:31:57 AM »
Give it a shot !  Let us know how it works. I've never tried that method with raisins.
Jon H.

Offline ultravista

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Re: Raisins - to Boil or Not to Boil?
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2014, 09:48:09 AM »
Any worries about doing this?

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Raisins - to Boil or Not to Boil?
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2014, 09:52:54 AM »
None that I could imagine. Be sure to sanitize the nylon bag.  Otherwise the rum will do the same for the raisins. Think of dry hopping - you don't sanitize the hops. You'll be fine.
Jon H.

Offline ultravista

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Re: Raisins - to Boil or Not to Boil?
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2014, 09:55:49 AM »
Roger that. This was a second runnings project from an imperial porter. The main batch was fermented with WLP007 and supplemented with coffee and cacao post-fermentation.

I though I'd play around with the second runnings (first time doing so) and have very little invested in it.

Offline Jeff M

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Re: Raisins - to Boil or Not to Boil?
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2014, 10:15:52 AM »
Hops are already antiseptic in nature.  The rum and the caramelizing will do the job tho:)
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Offline denny

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Re: Raisins - to Boil or Not to Boil?
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2014, 10:35:16 AM »
My favorite way to use raisins is to wait til primary is finished.  Super heat a wok to glowing red hot over your brewing burner.  Toss the raisins in and stir quickly to caramelize them.  Then deglaze the wok with some of the beer.  Put all that into secondary and rack the beer onto it.
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