Author Topic: Brewing with cabbage (say what?)  (Read 2270 times)

Offline claponsie

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Brewing with cabbage (say what?)
« on: August 10, 2014, 04:37:43 AM »
I know cabbage flavors in beer are typically associated with DMS.  I am experimenting with natural dye in beer.  I'm hoping to take a beer that would typically be light in color, and give it a purple tint.  A friend of mine is a cancer survivor and has a life-long story of battling cancer with friends and loved ones.  She is part of a Relay for Life team, which is a charity for cancer research.  I want to support that, and their "thing" is purple.  So...

Red cabbage makes a fine purple dye, but what does it do to beer?  I took 5.7 lbs of chopped red cabbage and boiled it in 15 gallons of water for 20 minutes.  This was the result.  I intend to use this as my mash water.  What do you guys think?  What should I look out for?  Can you think of other natural ways I can add a purple hue to the beer?  I'm brewing tomorrow morning and looking to get some input.  I figure, if this fails (which it probably will!), I can just brew a normal beer with purple food coloring... but that wouldn't be very fun, would it?

I found that the mixture comes out blue with the pH level that my water supply is, but with a couple drops of lactic acid, the solution turns a beautiful shade of purple.
My intention is to mash with this solution.  The taste of the cabbage definitely comes through, but I wonder how it will play with the malty-grain bill I've chosen.  I'm not very optimistic after tasting the water... but it might work.  Thoughts?


Offline ajk

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Re: Brewing with cabbage (say what?)
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2014, 10:12:03 AM »
Is there a photo? I can't see it.

I've had a beer made with beets that was purple. So that's an option.

Offline claponsie

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Re: Brewing with cabbage (say what?)
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2014, 12:23:39 PM »
Here's the picture:


However, after tasting the water again this morning, I am abandoning the idea.  I think this idea would make an interesting looking beer, but cabbage tea just has an awful taste.  Bitter, buttery, salty, and sulfur in the aroma.  This would not make a good beer.  I guess my hopes were that I could extract the color without too much of the flavor components.

So I'm brewing a blonde ale today.  Any recommendations on how I can turn it purple prior to kegging?  The beat idea was pretty cool, but I'm behind schedule on that.

Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Brewing with cabbage (say what?)
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2014, 12:42:20 PM »
Try beets maybe?
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Brewing with cabbage (say what?)
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2014, 01:34:22 PM »
I was gonna say ... I love cabbage (boiled cabbage, pickled cabbage, cole slaw - frickin' all of it) but boiled cabbage smells like farts.

beets are a fantastic idea.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Brewing with cabbage (say what?)
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2014, 02:00:09 PM »
+1 to beets and I would add hibiscus to the list. It adds a nice tartness too. Never brewed with it, but I've had a couple beers brewed with it. And a -2 to the cabbage-y, 'fart beer'.
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Offline brewday

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Re: Brewing with cabbage (say what?)
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2014, 02:27:43 PM »
Blueberries? Blueberry Blonde sounds delicious....
Jon Weaver

Offline jeffy

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Re: Brewing with cabbage (say what?)
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2014, 02:52:41 PM »
+1 to beets and I would add hibiscus to the list. It adds a nice tartness too. Never brewed with it, but I've had a couple beers brewed with it. And a -2 to the cabbage-y, 'fart beer'.
I was going to mention hibiscus.  It seems to be very trendy around here and might go well in a Blonde Ale.  I think it adds some spiciness.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Brewing with cabbage (say what?)
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2014, 05:31:24 PM »
Blackberries are in season.  I added about six pounds that I smashed up to a saison with Brett  it look very purplish.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Brewing with cabbage (say what?)
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2014, 02:50:52 PM »
Blackberries will give you a deep, inky purple. Blueberries are close to that color as well. Hibiscus is in the pink-to-magenta range. Beets are red/purple. Red wine must (Merlot/Cabernet/etc) will get you into the deep purplish-red range as well.

A lot of the color will be quite dependent on how much you add. For example, at 1 oz/gallon steeped Hibiscus adds a deep pink color. For full-on red you'll need to go higher. For a lighter blush, maybe 1/3 to 1/2 oz/gallon will do.

When you add the ingredients matters as well. A lot of natural dyes are degraded or changed by heat and/or pH. Certain colors will be different depending on whether you add them on the hot side or cold side.

Good luck, and please continue to share your results!
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Brewing with cabbage (say what?)
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2014, 09:51:35 PM »
With all the rage over Black IPA and White IPA and Red IPA and Brown IPA, I have been wondering how to make a Purple IPA.  Looks like this may be the answer.  I would thank you, but I am a style nazi, and... ew.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Brewing with cabbage (say what?)
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2014, 06:45:38 PM »
Maybe getting purple from smaller amounts of different things (like beets, hibiscus, and berries) would get a purple that wouldn't have too strong a flavor of one thing. Also, you mentioned using it as your mash water. I wonder if it would difficult to get a workable PH if you did it first like that.
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Offline denny

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Re: Brewing with cabbage (say what?)
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2014, 08:08:16 PM »
With all the rage over Black IPA and White IPA and Red IPA and Brown IPA, I have been wondering how to make a Purple IPA.  Looks like this may be the answer.  I would thank you, but I am a style nazi, and... ew.

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Offline pete b

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Re: Brewing with cabbage (say what?)
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2014, 02:36:44 AM »
With all the rage over Black IPA and White IPA and Red IPA and Brown IPA, I have been wondering how to make a Purple IPA.  Looks like this may be the answer.  I would thank you, but I am a style nazi, and... ew.
Sometimes its hard to judge intent and tone in settings like this. Are you making fun of the OP? It seems this person wants to make a purple colored beer for a good reason and it could be a fun experiment and I think folks were having fun trying to figure out the best way to do this. Maybe there is an ongoing joke that I don't get that you know the OP is in on about style guidelines but I don't think this thread has anything to do with any style. I apologize if I'm wrong and you were not criticizing the OP or otherwise being snarky. Just wondering what these posts were about.
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