Author Topic: Elder flowers?  (Read 690 times)

Offline ukolowiczd

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Elder flowers?
« on: August 01, 2011, 05:45:06 AM »
Does anyone have any experience with using Elder Flowers in beer? Mosher's "Radical Brewing" says they have a "sophisticated fruity/floral sweet aroma. Use towards end of boil; all parts of the plant must be cooked - it is toxic when raw." That last part kind of scares me.

jaybeerman

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Re: Elder flowers?
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2011, 09:35:32 AM »
Does anyone have any experience with using Elder Flowers in beer? Mosher's "Radical Brewing" says they have a "sophisticated fruity/floral sweet aroma. Use towards end of boil; all parts of the plant must be cooked - it is toxic when raw." That last part kind of scares me.

I've used elder berries.  To the best of my limited knowledge, the flowers are safe. Most sources state that the rest of the plant has to be cooked.  Caution should be used, as some plants have diuretic and/or laxative effects.

Offline hokerer

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Re: Elder flowers?
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2011, 09:40:35 AM »
I've used elder berries. 

Not too sure about the aroma you'd get from elder berries considering accusing someone of smelling of elder berries is apparently considered an insult :)
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jaybeerman

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Re: Elder flowers?
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2011, 09:47:29 AM »
Not too sure about the aroma you'd get from elder berries considering accusing someone of smelling of elder berries is apparently considered an insult :)

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<edit> oops, guess it's been too long.  i think it was, "your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of..."
« Last Edit: August 01, 2011, 09:50:33 AM by jaybeerman »

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Elder flowers?
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2011, 09:48:28 AM »
My grandma used to make elderberry wine.  It was before my drinking days so I can't speak to the flavor.  I do know my oldest brother took a few gallons of it to college and even his friends who would drink pretty much anything wouldn't drink grandma's wine.

I don't know if it was her recipe, technique or the flavor.  I would be interested how your beer turns out.

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Online Jimmy K

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Re: Elder flowers?
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2011, 12:53:50 PM »
I've made elderberry cider. The berries added tannins, deep red color, and a spicy berry flavor. No cooking, the berries are not toxic. I've read that it is the stems and leaves that are toxic.
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jaybeerman

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Re: Elder flowers?
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2011, 12:17:54 PM »
I've made elderberry cider. The berries added tannins, deep red color, and a spicy berry flavor. No cooking, the berries are not toxic. I've read that it is the stems and leaves that are toxic.

Just as fyi, we did a 10 min steep with our berries, nice flavor.  About half of my reference material mentions only the plant and not berries or flowers while the other half mentions the berries and plant saying that only the flowers should be used without cooking.  I have no idea what they constitute as cooking as none of the material describes the cooking that would be necessary.  I'm not worried mostly because it would have a cumulative effect. 

ukolowiczd, If you end up using elder flowers let us know what your thoughts were.  Cheers, j

Offline tom

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Re: Elder flowers?
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2011, 01:37:51 PM »
Does anyone have any experience with using Elder Flowers in beer? Mosher's "Radical Brewing" says they have a "sophisticated fruity/floral sweet aroma. Use towards end of boil; all parts of the plant must be cooked - it is toxic when raw." That last part kind of scares me.
One of the brewpubs around here is putting some elder flowers in their next Saison.
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Offline alikocho

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Re: Elder flowers?
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2011, 02:09:18 AM »
Elderflowers are toxic, but only mildly so (the berries much more so, and the green parts of the plant). It's a nerve toxin. The toxin is destroyed by heat (boiling water poured over them will do). I use them extensively.

The 'your father smells of Elderberries' as a perjorative has a historical basis. Elderberry Wine (which is very good but needs aging as a result of high tannin content) was once known as English Port. The berries were even used by Port Wine makers to boost the grapes in bad years, before the practice was prohibited. Since the various Port houses at the time were all British owned, the French criticized the English for debasing Port, and for making a substitute with Elderberries. Hence, we get to the French taunting the English in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
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