Author Topic: Brewing with quassia bark (Picrasma excelsa)  (Read 949 times)

Offline dkfick

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1054
    • View Profile
Brewing with quassia bark (Picrasma excelsa)
« on: March 19, 2016, 02:43:39 AM »
So i'm planning on brewing a double IPA for a local whacky brewing competition.  I want to use quassia bark for the bittering.  I've made a tea with it and it will get the job done... maybe too much lol.  I'm wondering if anyone has ever used quassia and, if so, how much do you think I should use for a 6 gallon batch of 1.090 Double IPA.  I am planning on the vast majority of the bitterness to come from the quassia vs the hops.
BJCP A0936 National Beer Judge and Mead Judge
Cicerone Certified Beer Server
AHA Member
CRAFT Homebrew Club
Sons of Liberty Homebrew Club
HBT "mors"

Offline morticaixavier

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7782
  • Underhill VT
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Brewing with quassia bark (Picrasma excelsa)
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2016, 02:08:52 PM »
there was a presentation involving this ingredient at the 2013 NHC I think. It might have been in the alternative wood ageing presentation but I'm not sure. I'm also not sure that he went over dosages.

You could do a side by side tea tasting with a known AA% hop to develop a rough equivalency and go from there though.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce

Offline dkfick

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1054
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing with quassia bark (Picrasma excelsa)
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2016, 02:36:38 PM »
there was a presentation involving this ingredient at the 2013 NHC I think. It might have been in the alternative wood ageing presentation but I'm not sure. I'm also not sure that he went over dosages.

You could do a side by side tea tasting with a known AA% hop to develop a rough equivalency and go from there though.
Yeah I was at that talk.  I think he just mentioned it and how bitter it was.  Nothing about dosing.  Yeah making an extract test beer is what I wanted to avoid.  I think so far what I'm going to do is puts some in a bag and try and sheep it to taste day of. I'll just pull the bag when I think it's bitter enough
BJCP A0936 National Beer Judge and Mead Judge
Cicerone Certified Beer Server
AHA Member
CRAFT Homebrew Club
Sons of Liberty Homebrew Club
HBT "mors"

Offline morticaixavier

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7782
  • Underhill VT
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Brewing with quassia bark (Picrasma excelsa)
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2016, 06:08:10 PM »
there was a presentation involving this ingredient at the 2013 NHC I think. It might have been in the alternative wood ageing presentation but I'm not sure. I'm also not sure that he went over dosages.

You could do a side by side tea tasting with a known AA% hop to develop a rough equivalency and go from there though.
Yeah I was at that talk.  I think he just mentioned it and how bitter it was.  Nothing about dosing.  Yeah making an extract test beer is what I wanted to avoid.  I think so far what I'm going to do is puts some in a bag and try and sheep it to taste day of. I'll just pull the bag when I think it's bitter enough
I was thinking to do a tea side by side with hops.

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk

"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce

Offline dkfick

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1054
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing with quassia bark (Picrasma excelsa)
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2016, 06:48:04 PM »
Ah, gotcha.  Yeah maybe.  I did make a tea with it but with no hop to to compare against.  The tea I made with it was the most bitter thing I've ever tasted lol.

I've heard Dark Horse users it in their Plead the 5th.. So I've emailed them for any tips.
BJCP A0936 National Beer Judge and Mead Judge
Cicerone Certified Beer Server
AHA Member
CRAFT Homebrew Club
Sons of Liberty Homebrew Club
HBT "mors"

Offline Philbrew

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 866
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing with quassia bark (Picrasma excelsa)
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2016, 07:12:25 PM »
If you want to make a wacky brew, how about using cascara bark for bittering?  I kid...I really, really kid!
Many of us would be on a strict liquid diet if it weren't for pretzels.

Offline dkfick

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1054
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing with quassia bark (Picrasma excelsa)
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2016, 07:19:24 PM »
Heh,  Well it all stems from a brew day at a local brewery where they give you up to 20lbs of malt and up to 8oz of hops.  Malt and hop varieties are limited.  I chose all aroma and flavor hops.  I could bring more hops... But I had a few bitter ingredients stirring around for making bitters... Figured why not.  Lol.
BJCP A0936 National Beer Judge and Mead Judge
Cicerone Certified Beer Server
AHA Member
CRAFT Homebrew Club
Sons of Liberty Homebrew Club
HBT "mors"

Offline dkfick

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1054
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing with quassia bark (Picrasma excelsa)
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2016, 06:59:55 PM »
Well I got a response back from Aaron at Dark Horse.  They don't actually use it... So the rumors I heard were incorrect.  He suggested adding it to the mash or post ferment,  though he does not have any actual experience with it.

I am going to try using a smaller amount in some may temp water and I'm some fermented wort.  Worth a shot.
BJCP A0936 National Beer Judge and Mead Judge
Cicerone Certified Beer Server
AHA Member
CRAFT Homebrew Club
Sons of Liberty Homebrew Club
HBT "mors"

Offline morticaixavier

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7782
  • Underhill VT
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Brewing with quassia bark (Picrasma excelsa)
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2016, 07:41:53 PM »
I still think it would be worth while to boil say 1 gram of the quassia and 1 gram of high alpha bittering hop each in a cup of water and taste side by side at least to get an idea of where to start.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce

Offline dkfick

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1054
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing with quassia bark (Picrasma excelsa)
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2016, 07:45:45 PM »
I still think it would be worth while to boil say 1 gram of the quassia and 1 gram of high alpha bittering hop each in a cup of water and taste side by side at least to get an idea of where to start.
Maybe I will,  I got some time.  Brew day isn't until April 30th.
BJCP A0936 National Beer Judge and Mead Judge
Cicerone Certified Beer Server
AHA Member
CRAFT Homebrew Club
Sons of Liberty Homebrew Club
HBT "mors"

Offline dkfick

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1054
    • View Profile
Re: Brewing with quassia bark (Picrasma excelsa)
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2016, 03:14:25 PM »
So I went with 6 grams for a 6 gallon batch.  I added for a 10 minute whirlpool and then left it in during the cool which took roughly 20 minutes.  This was a double IPA.  I've only had it uncarbed (it's currently dry hopping) but I think it's a little bit too bitter.  I think I would remove the quassia after the whirlpool if I were to do it again... Maybe reduce the quassia to 4-5g...
BJCP A0936 National Beer Judge and Mead Judge
Cicerone Certified Beer Server
AHA Member
CRAFT Homebrew Club
Sons of Liberty Homebrew Club
HBT "mors"