Author Topic: How to use tea in beer?  (Read 6267 times)

Offline Beer Monger

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How to use tea in beer?
« on: March 29, 2011, 08:29:28 AM »
Years ago, the Issaquah Brewhouse in Issaquah, WA (Before it was acquired by Rogue) made a beer called Chamamellow.  It was a light amber chamomile ale that was very good.

When Rought bought the brewhouse, they attempted this recipe - but only once (They called it "Chamomile Ale - Test Batch #1").  Anyone ever have a chance to try it?

It was a great beer - and I'd like to try the same, so I've picked up a big, vacuum sealed bag of organic chamomile.

Now I'm wondering the best way to utilize it.  Should it be used in the boil, like you'd use bittering hops?  Or would it be better to use a dry-hop type method to infuse the tea into the beer after brewing?

This will be one of the first beers (excluding 1 or 2 fruit beer recipes I have) that will break the reinheitsghebot - so I'm not quite sure exactly how to proceed. 

Advice? 
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Offline denny

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Re: How to use tea in beer?
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2011, 08:30:45 AM »
I use chamomile in wits.  I'd have to check my notes to be sure, but I think it was an oz. for the last 5 min. of the boil.
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Re: How to use tea in beer?
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2011, 08:32:10 AM »
Thanks for the info.  I'll likely use more than that, since chamomile is supposed to be promient flavor in this particualr brew. 
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Offline denny

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Re: How to use tea in beer?
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2011, 08:33:36 AM »
Thanks for the info.  I'll likely use more than that, since chamomile is supposed to be promient flavor in this particualr brew. 

Well, whatever amount I used, I can guarantee ya it was prominent.  I'll try to dig up the recipe.
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Re: How to use tea in beer?
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2011, 08:59:41 AM »
Cool  Thanks. 
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Offline jeffy

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Re: How to use tea in beer?
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2011, 09:51:10 AM »
I use a little in my Wit also, probably less than a half ounce at the end of the boil.  (I'll have to check my notes).  I just over did the chamomile in what used to be a Belgian Strong Golden Ale and now I'm going to have to blend it to make it not so overpowering.  Even if I blend it back so the aroma is right, the chamomile flavor knocks me over.  So be careful.  I added this to the keg a little too aggressively.  The "measure" was one and one half palms full.
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Re: How to use tea in beer?
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2011, 09:59:46 AM »
Chamomile tea isn't actually tea, is it?  It's just the dried flowers?  I'd be real careful about using real tea in beer since it will add a load of tannin.

I make a beer called Chai Brown Ale (it's in Radical Brewing if you want to see the recipe) and have heard that some people have tried to make it using chai tea.  Bad idea.  It's just the spices, not the tea.
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Offline denny

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Re: How to use tea in beer?
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2011, 10:01:58 AM »
Chamomile tea isn't actually tea, is it?  It's just the dried flowers?  I'd be real careful about using real tea in beer since it will add a load of tannin.

Correct on both.  My wife grows chamomile for tea. so I just "borrow" some of hers.
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Re: How to use tea in beer?
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2011, 10:21:01 AM »
Tea would only add noticeable tannin if you actually put tea leaves in the beer. As an alternative, you could brew your tea of choice and add to the beer once fermentation is complete (like you would do with a coffee infused beer).  Surly Brewing here in Minneapolis has done a tea-infused version of their Furious IPA, which I thought was pretty good.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2011, 10:22:44 AM by Pawtucket Patriot »
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Re: How to use tea in beer?
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2011, 10:23:36 AM »
Chamomile tea isn't actually tea, is it?  It's just the dried flowers?  I'd be real careful about using real tea in beer since it will add a load of tannin.

Correct on both.  My wife grows chamomile for tea. so I just "borrow" some of hers.

I believe that's why they used chamomile instead of other teas. 
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Re: How to use tea in beer?
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2011, 02:34:20 PM »
I use chamomile in wits.

WTF??? Who is this and what hve you done with denny????  ???
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Offline denny

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Re: How to use tea in beer?
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2011, 04:19:34 PM »
I use chamomile in wits.

WTF??? Who is this and what hve you done with denny????  ???

Hey, every few years I think I'll try one again.  I work on the keg for about 8 months, decide I'll never drink it, and either dump it or give it away.  I do like wit, but only every once in a while.  Of course, that's not to say that if....oh.....somebody like.....YOU made one, I wouldn't enjoy it to the max.
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Re: How to use tea in beer?
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2011, 10:41:44 AM »
OK - need a bit of advice.  I'm getting ready to work up the recipe for this beer (the chamomile ale), and I'm a bit unsure as to what basic style I should start with.

American Pale Ale?  Nah.  Those call for too many hops.  Don't want this one to be very hoppy - as to not 'contrast' w/ the chamomile.

American Amber?  Perhaps - but would require less hops that a typical amber.

Scottish Light?  This might be the ticket.  More malty than hoppy, could compliment the chamomile well.


Thoughts?  I'm leaning towards basing the recipe on a scotch ale, unless I get some good replies/reasons to the contrary....

Thanks.  :) 
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Re: How to use tea in beer?
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2011, 10:43:00 AM »
Personally, none of those seem like a good candidate to me.  It works well in wits, so I'd go for something on the light side, maybe a bit phenolic and fruity.
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: How to use tea in beer?
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2011, 10:48:33 AM »
Wheat beers of any sort.  I think an American wheat, as long as it doesn't have any late hops.  Blonde ale and cream ale would also work.

Basically, you want to think of it like a hefeweizen or spice beer.  You don't blast a hefe with hops.  Why?  Because you wouldn't be able to pick up the yeast character.  Same with spices.  Do you heavily hop one of those?  Nope.  You don't want them to clash.

So pick a style that isn't too bitter and doesn't have late hops.  Be careful about something with too big a malt character (particularly malt flavor) for the same reason.

I think looking towards the paler styles will help you avoid the malt problem.  Nothing bigger than average strength.  Then filter out those that are bitter or hoppy.

I think BJCP category 6 is where you want to play.
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