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Author Topic: spices/flavorings for dark beers  (Read 6140 times)

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: spices/flavorings for dark beers
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2014, 04:14:15 pm »
I think you also have to be careful with sassafrass.  Maybe I'm wrong, but one of the typical flavorings in root beer is potentially harmful.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: spices/flavorings for dark beers
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2014, 04:21:42 pm »
Yeah, pretty scary. It's easy to forget that a lot of drugs are based on substances found in plants/herbs/roots.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2014, 04:33:12 pm by HoosierBrew »
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: spices/flavorings for dark beers
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2014, 04:25:42 pm »
I think you also have to be careful with sassafrass.  Maybe I'm wrong, but one of the typical flavorings in root beer is potentially harmful.

safranol (or similar) is carcinogenic, at least in the lab to rats. All sarsaparilla and rootbeer now uses either synthetic flavors or versions of extract with that ingredient removed. 
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Offline case thrower

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Re: spices/flavorings for dark beers
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2014, 08:21:49 pm »
Maybe try cardamom. I haven't used it, but I can picture it working. It's a sweet/floral spice and is one of the primary ingredients in Turkish coffee and Garam Masala spice blends. I'd go really easy with it, though.

I've got a recipe from the Brooklyn Brew Shop's Beer Making Book that uses cardamom seeds.  For a 5 gallon batch, they use 15 green seeds, saying they add notes of rich citrus, blood orange and Meyer lemons.  They also suggest swapping black seeds for the green to give a 'complex smokiness.'  I haven't tried either yet, but they are both on my to do list.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: spices/flavorings for dark beers
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2014, 09:04:11 pm »
I think you also have to be careful with sassafrass.  Maybe I'm wrong, but one of the typical flavorings in root beer is potentially harmful.

safranol (or similar) is carcinogenic, at least in the lab to rats. All sarsaparilla and rootbeer now uses either synthetic flavors or versions of extract with that ingredient removed.

Right, but DIY recipes don't necessarily use extract.  I'm not talking about the gnome sodas, but rather if you go out and gather your own roots and berries and whatnot (which I do not do).
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: spices/flavorings for dark beers
« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2014, 10:00:22 pm »
Any concern about Fenugreek in a bacon Porter?
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Offline erockrph

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Re: spices/flavorings for dark beers
« Reply #21 on: December 18, 2014, 06:45:44 am »
Maybe try cardamom. I haven't used it, but I can picture it working. It's a sweet/floral spice and is one of the primary ingredients in Turkish coffee and Garam Masala spice blends. I'd go really easy with it, though.

I've got a recipe from the Brooklyn Brew Shop's Beer Making Book that uses cardamom seeds.  For a 5 gallon batch, they use 15 green seeds, saying they add notes of rich citrus, blood orange and Meyer lemons.  They also suggest swapping black seeds for the green to give a 'complex smokiness.'  I haven't tried either yet, but they are both on my to do list.
Do they say whether they add them to the boil or to the fermenter? I'm wondering how strong of a contribution they make at that level, too.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: spices/flavorings for dark beers
« Reply #22 on: December 18, 2014, 07:37:15 am »
Any concern about Fenugreek in a bacon Porter?

yes, bacon porter is sounds just vile. fenugreek is a great way to get a suggestion of maple flavor. also delicious in curry
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Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: spices/flavorings for dark beers
« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2014, 07:47:01 am »
Any concern about Fenugreek in a bacon Porter?

yes, bacon porter is sounds just vile. fenugreek is a great way to get a suggestion of maple flavor. also delicious in curry

have you used fenugreek? how much we talking about to pick up the flavor?
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Offline troybinso

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Re: spices/flavorings for dark beers
« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2014, 07:50:17 am »
Maybe try cardamom. I haven't used it, but I can picture it working. It's a sweet/floral spice and is one of the primary ingredients in Turkish coffee and Garam Masala spice blends. I'd go really easy with it, though.
I love cardamom and will try it in beer someday. To me it would be a tricky one to brew with because of its strength. If you get it right it can be just the thing to make it special. Too much and blecht! its ruined. Its like cloves that way.

I've used cardamom in a Saison before and I liked the way it turned out. It is extremely potent so be careful. I used the seeds from one pod in 5 gallons and it was pretty noticeable.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: spices/flavorings for dark beers
« Reply #25 on: December 18, 2014, 07:59:55 am »
Any concern about Fenugreek in a bacon Porter?

yes, bacon porter is sounds just vile. fenugreek is a great way to get a suggestion of maple flavor. also delicious in curry

have you used fenugreek? how much we talking about to pick up the flavor?

I used it once. less than a tsp. it was very subtle. but it was in a wit beer with chamomile and coriander and some other spices.
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Offline case thrower

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Re: spices/flavorings for dark beers
« Reply #26 on: December 18, 2014, 08:21:06 am »
Maybe try cardamom. I haven't used it, but I can picture it working. It's a sweet/floral spice and is one of the primary ingredients in Turkish coffee and Garam Masala spice blends. I'd go really easy with it, though.

I've got a recipe from the Brooklyn Brew Shop's Beer Making Book that uses cardamom seeds.  For a 5 gallon batch, they use 15 green seeds, saying they add notes of rich citrus, blood orange and Meyer lemons.  They also suggest swapping black seeds for the green to give a 'complex smokiness.'  I haven't tried either yet, but they are both on my to do list.
Do they say whether they add them to the boil or to the fermenter? I'm wondering how strong of a contribution they make at that level, too.

According to the recipe I have, they are to be added 1/2 way thru the boil.  As to how strong they are, I can't say.
Dave C.

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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: spices/flavorings for dark beers
« Reply #27 on: December 18, 2014, 09:28:06 am »
A friend used bay leaf in a porter that turned out really well. Definitely not the usual spice in a beer.
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Offline pete b

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Re: spices/flavorings for dark beers
« Reply #28 on: December 18, 2014, 09:38:57 am »
I used licorice root a time or two before in stout, but it might be a really good idea to leave it out. There have been studies done in the last year or two linking it to heart arrhythmias that have landed people in the hospital. One link is from the FDA, the other from the Cleveland Clinic. And I realize there have been studies done that showed other substances could MAYBE be harmful if you ate/drank 3 tons of it every day for 100 years, but the potentially dangerous amount here is actually pretty small. Not worth the risk to me.

http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm277152.htm

http://health.clevelandclinic.org/2013/11/how-black-licorice-can-make-your-heart-jump/


EDIT  -  I work in a hospital where I've heard doctors talk about it - it made me curious because I had brewed with licorice root a time or two (as mentioned), so I researched it.
I’m still very comfortable recommending using licorice root in beer. I don’t know if its our society or humans in general who are so bad at assessing risk. Things like this remind me of people who won’t fly because of the fear of terrorism but will drive on the highway at 80 MPH every day with no seatbelt. Our decisions are totally based on fear rather than evidence. The same with health reporting. The two articles, even the FDA one, are clearly constructed in a way that gets them the web traffic by suggesting something ordinary is dangerous. Only later in each article is it mentioned that possible cases are “rare”  (one of these rare cases being a “licorice aficionado” who “reported that he had a problem”); and tidbits like this: “So how much is too much? The FDA says eating multiple 2-ounce bags of black licorice a day for at least two weeks is overdoing it. (That’s a lot of licorice.)”
Look, I totally understand that licorice root has medicinal qualities and as such should be taken in moderation, and possibly not at all if you have heart problems and a poor diet that results in potassium deficiencies. But quite frankly if you are eating that much licorice I would be way more concerned about that amount of sugar you consume  and if you are drinking enough beer with licorice root (if that’s even possible)  to be a problem I still would be more concerned about a drunken tumble down the cellar stairs. 

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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: spices/flavorings for dark beers
« Reply #29 on: December 18, 2014, 09:47:53 am »
Just putting the info out there, Pete.  Doctors are aware of the possible issue, so I assume that they can discern the dangers big or small. Nobody would likely eat that many licorice sticks every day, but what would the equivalent amount of licorice root be, especially in a keg you drink from most every day ? Personally I think something like star anise could give similar flavors and be safer. You can brew with what you like, no arguments.
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