Author Topic: Over spiced pumpkin porter  (Read 2175 times)

Offline tofujoe

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Over spiced pumpkin porter
« on: October 24, 2010, 09:05:35 AM »
I recently made a cross-country move and wanted to get a batch going even though I didn't have my brewery unpacked and set up yet. I decided to use an extract kit that I could brew on the kitchen stove and bought the Brewers Best Pumpkin Porter kit. It came with a HUGE bag of spices that seemed way too much for a 5 gal batch but I assumed the kit makers knew what they were doing. I was wrong. It tastes like raw cinnamon, unpleasantly bitter and undrinkable.

I don't want to pour it out so I'm looking for ideas to save it. I have had it in secondary at 40 degrees for a week, hoping some of the spice would fall out of suspension but it didn't help. Here are some other ideas I've had:
-Brew another porter and blend the two, effectively halving the amount of spice per volume.
-Make cider ale and blend the two. I know cider is usually aged for months but I added some apple juice to the porter and it wasn't horrible.
-Partially freeze the porter and remove the ice and hope that would pull a lot of the spice out. I know freezing can be used to make super-high gravity beer but I'm not entirely clear on how to do it.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2010, 09:26:19 AM by tofujoe »

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Over spiced pumpkin porter
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2010, 09:24:15 AM »
I think you can do any of these with good results.  Blending is an obvious solution, although taste a smaller blended portion to make sure you don't end up with 10 gallons that are over spiced.  The cider idea is similar to blending with porter, so that's your call.

For freezing, you could do it the way you describe but it might not work.  A friend of mine makes a really clean and crisp lager - he swears by freezing the keg solid, then thawing it and racking it.  He said it leaves a lot of stuff behind in the keg and helps clean up his less-than-perfect batches.  That might work for dropping some of the spices out, and it's a low effort thing to try.

Let us know what you do and how it works.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline ipaguy

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Re: Over spiced pumpkin porter
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2010, 09:31:21 AM »
Another option is to save it for cooking.  Try marinating pork chops or ribs overnight in the fridge.  Beer is my favorite for marinating  meat.  What's over-spiced for drinking my be just right for marinating.
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Offline euge

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Re: Over spiced pumpkin porter
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2010, 09:55:04 AM »
I agree with Tom. To tone down the spices you probably won't be able to blend 50/50. More likely it'll be 25% or less of the spiced stuff. And a more flavorful beer to blend it with to additionally help mask the spices. Hard to do with a porter. Play around with it.

Quite likely it'll be a situation where nothing can save it- even time might soften the edge of the cinnamon or bring it out more. Could end up being a dumper. Don't be afraid to dump it if you feel it's hopeless.

The marinade option sounds pretty cool. I bet pork-butt, shoulder or ribs (especially) would do great with that as a marinade.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline thcipriani

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Re: Over spiced pumpkin porter
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2010, 11:52:52 PM »
I'd say that you've learned something and take that for what it's worth - almost nobody hits things exactly right their first time. If I had any advice to offer I'd say make a spice tea and blend back after ferment - you'll have much more control over the outcome of your beer.
Tyler Cipriani
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Over spiced pumpkin porter
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2010, 02:28:14 PM »
Could you filter it?  I've read that filtering can remove some of the hop flavor, so maybe it would help reduce the spice flavor.

Probably not enough, but maybe.

Also, what about adding gelatin to fine it?  Would this help pull any spices out of suspension?

My guess is neither of these would have a great enough impact.  But they might be worth trying, particularly with the minimal cost of gelatin.

If you brew a batch for blending, you could always blend it in a pitcher at serving time.  That way, you wouldn't necessarily wind up with 10 gallons of over-spiced beer.

I've actually been thinking I should've brewed 10 gallons of pumpkin this year...  Mine came out underspiced, so I soaked spices in alcohol and gave it a tweak.  Now it's just right.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline tofujoe

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Re: Over spiced pumpkin porter
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2010, 02:46:01 PM »
I decided to brew an all-grain porter to blend but I hadn't thought of filtering it. I may try that with a test sample. I'm not sure gelatin would work. Isn't that mainly for pulling proteins out of suspension? Maybe not. I'll have to research that.

Offline ipaguy

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Re: Over spiced pumpkin porter
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2010, 03:44:06 PM »
One method that should remove just about ALL flavor from your beer is the kind of carbon filtration setup used to make liqueurs:  http://www.midwestsupplies.com/carbonsnake-filter-system.html
You could filter some of the beer through one of these, and use it to dilute the rest.  Sounds like a pretty poor solution though.  My vote is to use it for marinade, or dump it.
Primary: gotlandsdricke/alt/dunkel hybrid
Secondary: pale barleywine,
Bottled:  Gotlandsdricke
               Oatmeal/blackberry stout
               Honey Kolsch