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Author Topic: Juniper and Heather Tips??  (Read 1278 times)

Offline alekmager

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Juniper and Heather Tips??
« on: December 11, 2018, 08:14:05 am »
Anyone have any experience with either of these? I know the flavor profiles of both but wondering what happens during a boil and if there's any insight on ratios or addition times?


Offline joe_meadmaker

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Re: Juniper and Heather Tips??
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2018, 12:33:18 pm »
A couple years ago I did several variations of a Heather Ale.  It was all done with dried heather tips because I don't know anywhere nearby where I can get fresh heather.  The batch I liked the most had 4 oz of heather tips added at 60, 30, and 5 minutes.  And then I "dry-herbed" with another 4 oz for 2 weeks.  This ale really had a forward heather tea flavor, which was what I was going for.

I also did a series of meads with heather tips.  For one of them I steeped the tips and then used the tea to make the mead.  And for another batch I added them to the room temperature mead after fermentation was done.  The one with the steeped heather tips was much better in my opinion.  It had much more complexity.

I think a hot water method (whether it's a boil or just steeping a tea for a later addition) is the best way to go.  When adding to your boil, definitely use a bag of some kind to keep them from getting everywhere.  If I brewed the ale again I would probably drop the dry-herbing because it's such a mess.

In more recent days I did another Heather Ale.  It didn't come out well because of things unrelated to the heather, but I tried another method you could consider.  Once fermentation was done, I racked off 1/2 gallon of the beer and heated it to 160 degrees.  Then I steeped 2 oz of heather tips for about 12 minutes.  Then cooled the beer back down and added it back to the batch.  This is a method I would like to try again at some point.

I haven't used Juniper so unfortunately I can't help you there.

Offline graymax

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Re: Juniper and Heather Tips??
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2018, 08:24:04 pm »
I used 4 ounces of dried heather tips in a 5-gallon batch of Scottish Export Ale.  I added 2 ounces at the beginning of the 60-minute boil, and the other 2 ounces at knock-out.  They're messy!  I highly recommend the use of a mesh bag or hop spider.  I have a Grainfather and added the heather tips and hops to a hop spider.

I wanted the heather tips to be very subtle.  I sampled the beer at bottling and was pleased with how it turned out overall but, to be honest, the heather tips -- aroma and taste -- were indiscernible at that point.  I haven't tried the finished version yet but l will let you know if there is any change.  The beer just won first place for British and Belgian beers in an AHA-sanctioned competition -- as a Scottish Export Ale (BJCP subcategory 14C).  I think if I had entered it in the 30A subcategory (Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer), the judges would have clobbered it because the heather tips didn't come through.