Author Topic: Perking up a pumpkin brew  (Read 1167 times)

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Perking up a pumpkin brew
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2010, 09:29:27 AM »
I've got my little jar of vodka and spices for my Christmas ale sitting in the fridge.

I don't think I've ever done them at room temp, but it probably doesn't hurt.

I leave the spices in vodka for a couple weeks or so to extract the flavors.  I don't think it's an immediate thing but something that takes some time.

Hot extraction is not something I've tried for spices.  I would be worried about driving the alcohol out of the vodka and perhaps some of the aromatics from the spices.  The alcohol keeps the vodka sterile, of course, and is not intended to spike the ABV of the beer.
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Perking up a pumpkin brew
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2010, 09:30:05 AM »
Is the BYO issue out?  I don't subscribe and never heard any feedback after sending the article in.

I don't like cold steeping spices in beer (adding them in the secondary like dry hops).  I find it often has a raw or dusty flavor, and can pull out tannins.  If steeping cold, I'd go the vodka route.  If hot, make a tea.

If you cook, think about how spices taste differently if they've been heated or not.  If you were making a curry, would you add your spices first and bloom them in the oil, or would you sprinkle them on at the end?  How different do you think it would taste?

Personally, I don't like the raw taste of spices, so I try to bring them out with heat.  Not too much; just enough that they give up their best aromatic and flavor qualities.
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Offline richardt

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Re: Perking up a pumpkin brew
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2010, 09:37:02 AM »
The BYO mag just came yesterday or the day before.  I had a little time to kill this a.m., so I speed-read it before heading out the door.  I'll reread it later for the details.  Looked good, though.  And just in time for the holidays.

Good insights about the spices--it helps to know how to use them and why.  Thanks.


Offline kgs

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Re: Perking up a pumpkin brew
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2010, 02:07:28 PM »
Sounds great.  So you're happy with how it's been tweaked?  No need to revisit hopping?

Just for fun, try a drop of vanilla extract in a pint and see if you like it.  Penzey's or some other good extract, not artificial stuff.

Yep, no need to revisit hopping! This advice thread has been great.

I actually tried a drop of vanilla in a sample last week... not bad. (Using a high-quality vanilla paste.)  Divided on whether I want it in this beer.  However, I have been thinking that my next brew session would be an oatmeal stout with (decaf) coffee and vanilla. Or maybe cacao nibs and vanilla.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Perking up a pumpkin brew
« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2010, 03:02:56 PM »
I have been thinking that my next brew session would be an oatmeal stout with (decaf) coffee and vanilla. Or maybe cacao nibs and vanilla.

Don't use decaf! decaf is almost always made from inferior beans so the price can be inline with the full caf and it still has caffeine, just less, about half as much. Unless you can find a decaf that is significantly more expensive than the regular from the same roaster it's just not worth it. go ahead and use regular if your going after the pure flavor.

Offline kgs

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Re: Perking up a pumpkin brew
« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2010, 03:55:26 PM »
I have been thinking that my next brew session would be an oatmeal stout with (decaf) coffee and vanilla. Or maybe cacao nibs and vanilla.

Don't use decaf! decaf is almost always made from inferior beans so the price can be inline with the full caf and it still has caffeine, just less, about half as much. Unless you can find a decaf that is significantly more expensive than the regular from the same roaster it's just not worth it. go ahead and use regular if your going after the pure flavor.

I was planning to use Peet's: http://www.peets.com/shop/coffee_decaf.asp

Their decaf coffees are quite tasty. Due to what my doctor calls the "a-word" (aging) I cannot have more than one cup of the real thing, and Peet's decaf actually makes me think I'm drinking real coffee.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Perking up a pumpkin brew
« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2010, 04:26:16 PM »
I have been thinking that my next brew session would be an oatmeal stout with (decaf) coffee and vanilla. Or maybe cacao nibs and vanilla.

Don't use decaf! decaf is almost always made from inferior beans so the price can be inline with the full caf and it still has caffeine, just less, about half as much. Unless you can find a decaf that is significantly more expensive than the regular from the same roaster it's just not worth it. go ahead and use regular if your going after the pure flavor.

I was planning to use Peet's: http://www.peets.com/shop/coffee_decaf.asp

Their decaf coffees are quite tasty. Due to what my doctor calls the "a-word" (aging) I cannot have more than one cup of the real thing, and Peet's decaf actually makes me think I'm drinking real coffee.


Sorry, didn't mean to sound like a coffee nazi. I love coffee and don't mind decaf at least if it's a dark roast but I prefer lighter roasts and I find that decaf in those tastes flat and cardboardy. Haven't had the peets though so perhaps. just remember if you can't have more than one cup of regular you shouldn't have more than 2 cups of decaf.

Offline kgs

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Re: Perking up a pumpkin brew
« Reply #22 on: November 12, 2010, 05:33:44 PM »
Actually, I almost never drink decaf anyway -- not that I don't like it, it's just that after I have my cup of regular Peet's at home, I then have herbal tea at work, out of habit. But you got me thinking, because the purpose of using decaf in this batch is to make it possible to enjoy coffee + beer, which I would only be able to do if I make beer my breakfast beverage (which is kinda hard-core). No doctor has put me on a caffeine-limited diet, but I have found that the second cup of coffee (or its equivalent in sodas, etc.) is what keeps me up at night.

According to Wikipedia, decaf has a lot less caffeine -- it's not caffeine-free, but in most cases it's much less than half  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decaffeination#Caffeine_content_of_decaffeinated_coffee That's what I'm going for: not completely caffeine-free, but not a jolt, either.
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