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Old 01-04-2009, 11:41 PM   #1
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Default Black walnuts

Anyone familiar with black walnuts? If you've spent much time in the Appalachian mountains you may have come across them. Compared to English walnuts they're more earthy, dark and sort a musky tasting, pretty strong too.

I've got some and I was going to use 'em to make bread or brownies but forget that, let's make beer.

Anyone have any ideas about making a black walnut beer?

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Old 01-04-2009, 11:59 PM   #2
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The best way I've found to get any nut flavor in beer is extract at bottling.

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Old 01-05-2009, 12:39 AM   #3
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I'd think the fat and oil content in the nut, especially a walnut, to be troublesome. Maybe some sort of alcohol extraction would work?

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Old 01-05-2009, 01:21 AM   #4
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I'd think the fat and oil content in the nut, especially a walnut, to be troublesome. Maybe some sort of alcohol extraction would work?
This crossed my mind.

I originally thought of steeping the crushed nuts in vodka, but then I thought bourbon might be more interesting. Maybe like one of those bourbon barrel beers the local brew pub has on tap. I think the LHBS even sells oak chips. Interesting.... might just be too much flavor though.

Maybe a cup of bourbon with the walnuts extracted into it, dumped into the secondary with a few oak chips?
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Old 01-05-2009, 01:26 AM   #5
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Oak chips are not good in beer IMHO. I prefer oak cubes. I've had several ounces of hungarian oak cubes soaking in bourbon for a while now.

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Old 01-05-2009, 01:48 AM   #6
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Oak chips are not good in beer IMHO. I prefer oak cubes. I've had several ounces of hungarian oak cubes soaking in bourbon for a while now.
You are using the wrong chips. Try Jack Daniels smoking chips. They are made from old bourbon barrels. They make such great beer I would never use them to BBQ with.
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Old 01-05-2009, 04:06 AM   #7
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Take a look at Chriso's recipe ( http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f65/peca...sh-80-a-49707/ ) and look at how he extracted the nut flavor. Someone else in that thread used walnuts instead of pecans and he says it came out good.

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Old 01-05-2009, 11:38 PM   #8
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You are using the wrong chips. Try Jack Daniels smoking chips. They are made from old bourbon barrels. They make such great beer I would never use them to BBQ with.
Hmm... maybe if I could get some JD chips and then soak the nuts in more Jack, I might be onto something.
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:04 AM   #9
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Hmm... maybe if I could get some JD chips and then soak the nuts in more Jack, I might be onto something.
That does sound interesting. I fear you might extract more of the bitter tannin flavor from black walnuts. Please try. If too much tannin comes in then you have a new bittering agent, and if that flavor is undersirable you could try the same with english walnuts. I know this thread was about using black walnuts but sometimes you need to throw a curve at the recipe.
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Old 05-24-2010, 09:53 PM   #10
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I've made a couple black walnut beers. The first one was a black walnut porter that was phenomenal. I used way too many nuts though so it came out tasting strangely like a barley wine, strong, fruity, and bitter. I cut down on the nuts the second time and came up with something I really like. This time I did an ESB, very similar to that pecan recipe posted since I used Maris Otter malt and a very small amount of hops. I recommend toasting as well since this will allow for less oils and give a more robust, nutty flavor.

The first time I did this I used so many nuts that there was a thin layer of oil on top of the fermentation tank! This was easily avoided with my transfer tube so unless you're pouring into a bottling tank it's no problem. One of my friends drank the dregs on a dare. He said it wasn't bad but I wasn't about to touch that goop.

I didn't get any oil, however, when I cut down to .5 lbs per 5 gallon batch. Roast the nuts till they're light brown but don't get them too dark otherwise they'll lose their flavor. I do a taste test myself (they're delicious roasted by themselves!) to decide when the flavor is right.

The flavor is strong enough you have to make the recipe around it. I reduced the hop quantity to about 3/4 oz. You end up with a fruity, nutty accent to the beer with enough bitterness to not notice the loss of hops. Don't trust your initial reactions. Both batches took over a month for the taste to mature. The nut taste gets more powerful and more fruity as it ages. I've found optimal length is between 2-3 months bottle fermentation time to allow the flavor to mature.

My next step will be to make a black walnut IPA. I think if I combine the bitterness of the nuts with a good hop mixture I'll get an incredibly complex IPA. I hope others try this as well. Black walnuts are a great way of blowing your fellow brewers' minds! I found some at www.nutsonline.com and www.black-walnuts.com. Hammons Products sells them in grocery stores and Wal-Mart too but some places don't have them.

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