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Old 11-16-2009, 07:06 PM   #1
Aviciouswind
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Default Bergamot Beer

I was wondering if anyone out there has tried to make a Bergamot Beer. Bergamot is an orange, with a taste that is slightly sour, but extremely bitter. Most people know this flavor/aroma from Earl Grey Tea. Information on Bergamot

I was able to get my hands on some 100% pure, food-grade bergamot oil, and I'd like to use it to flavor a beer. I was thinking of trying a hefeweizen, since those usually work well with fruit.

Anyone have any ideas? This is my first post here, as I'm relatively new to homebrewing (about 10 batches under my belt, still using extract but moving to all-grain in a few months), and I'm hoping a more seasoned veteran can help me out.

Thanks!

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Old 11-16-2009, 09:02 PM   #2
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Be EXTREMELY judicious with flavor extracts. They can very very VERY easily overpower your beer. I'd brew your hefeweizen recipe of choice, let it ferment out, and rack to secondary (or don't, if you normally don't). Then, when you're bottling, start adding the bergamot oil dropwise (e.g. one drop at a time). Add a drop to the bottling bucket (or secondary), mix well (without aerating!), take a sip. Repeat until you get the flavor level you want. That way you won't add too much and overwhelm the flavors of the beer itself.

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Old 11-17-2009, 02:15 PM   #3
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Thanks a ton for the reply! I figured the best way to add the flavoring was around bottling time.

I'll post how it tastes in a little over a month!

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Old 11-17-2009, 02:54 PM   #4
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I was drinking a pot of Earl Grey recently and was thinking along the same lines. I am interested to hear how this turns out for you.


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Old 11-24-2009, 09:41 AM   #5
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Default A little word of warning

Hi guys. i thought the same this morning as im currently sipping on some earl grey here in jolly ol England (god save the Queen).

however i have a few words of warning. I was looking into different forms of fermentation and came across a drink of fermented tea called Kombucha. this uses a Symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast a.k.a. SCOBY to ferment added sugar. All these recipies warn you not to do it with earl grey tea as the bergamot will kill the SCOBY.

this may be because the bacteria are killed and this will have no effect whatsoever on the yeast but who knows. if i still had a subscription to all the journals i had at uni id get onto researching the lysing properties of bergamot ... but i dont... and i cant really be bothered.

Im very interested to see how this turns out and if secondary fermentation is stopped or not. - keep us posted!

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Old 11-24-2009, 10:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aviciouswind View Post

I was able to get my hands on some 100% pure, food-grade bergamot oil, and I'd like to use it to flavor a beer.
Thanks!
If it's an oil product it is useless to us. Which sadly MOST orange extract is. In order for it to flavor our beer, it has to be water soluble or at least already in an alcohol base that we could add at bottling time or in secondary. But if it's an oil based extract it will mix about as well as oil and water does, and it will play havoc with head retention and carbonation.

That's why with orange we end up using peels to flavor our beer because there are few if any alcohol based or water soluable orange extracts. I don't know id it has to do with the extraction process or not.

You are better off actually flavoring your beer with actually Earl Grew teabags, then you are trying to use the bergamont OIL.
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Old 11-24-2009, 02:35 PM   #7
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turns out i can be bothered....

In vitro activity of Citrus bergamia (bergamot) oil against clinical isolates of dermatophytes


this basically states that bergamot oil decreases yeast activity. still i might give it a shot with a tiny batch of beer and see how it goes.

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Old 11-30-2009, 08:46 PM   #8
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So, instead of taking my time and reading through the replies of more seasoned brewers, I just went ahead and brewed up a batch. The recipe I designed is as follows:

-7 Earl Grey teabags (steep in 5 gallons of water at 170 deg for 15 minutes prior to boil)
-6 lbs. Wheat Malt Syrup (60 min)
-2 oz. French Strisselspalt (60 min)
-1 oz. Whole Cloves (15 min)
-1 tbsp. 100% Pure Bergamot Oil Extract (15 min)
-1 tsp. Irish Moss (15 min)
-Wyeast #3944 Belgian Witbier Yeast

OG: 1044

(I decided to go with cloves instead of coriander because I really don't like the way coriander tastes. 1 oz. of coriander can, of course, be used istead)

I smacked the Wyeast the day before, so it was good and puffed. Additions went smoothly. Had to add a little extra water due to liquid lost during the boil to top it off at 5 gallons. It's been in the carboy for 2 days now at about 75 degrees and has been fermenting quite rapidly. There’s a good amount of foam on top, so the oil must not have killed the head too much. The coloring is much darker than a white is supposed to be due to the Earl Grey steeping. Maybe I'll call it a Belgian Black...

So, the good news is, it's going to become some sort of beer. The bad news is, I have no idea what this is going to taste like. The aroma has both bite from the clove and the bitter citrus from the Bergamot.

I'll keep everyone posted as time goes on. I'm hoping I'll be able to get it out of the secondary and into bottles by Christmas.

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Old 12-01-2009, 03:00 PM   #9
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Very much looking forward to hearing how this turns out. I've been considering a bergamot beer of some sort for a couple of years now. Thanks for the report!

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Old 12-02-2009, 12:01 PM   #10
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ok so the bergamot doesnt affect the yeast so thats something!

sounds really interesting. id love to pop round for a pint when its done but as this is a US forum the round trip from the UK means its probably gonna be the most expensive pint EVER.

keep us posted!

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