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Old 06-01-2009, 06:31 AM   #1
maztec
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Default Grains of Paradise

Okay, I cook with Grains of Paradise all of the time. I have used them for years. They are amazing ground up on a salad. I did not realize I could use them in beer. Then again, what can't you use in beer? I have seen a few old recipes that called for horse blood (WHY? and no thanks, but WHY?).

Nevertheless, what I want to know is what are Grains of Paradise used for in beer? Any idea? The typical amount I have seen used in recipes is between 2g and 1/8 teaspoon [utterly different, unrelated units, but hey, why not!]. Usually powdered or ground, but sometimes just crushed.

Now, I have been using Grains of Paradise for years. While a little bit does go a long ways ... it really doesn't go a long ways in things that are extremely flavorful. The amount to put into a spaghetti sauce is ridiculous if you really want to get the full flavor. It is cheaper to add pepper. Which brings me to pepper, I see recipes calling for up to 18g of pepper... Which makes the small amount of Grains of Paradise called for odd.

So what is going on here? Is Grains of Paradise being used for something other than flavor? Because, quite frankly, at 2g, heck even 4g, in a 5 gallon batch, I just don't see it adding much, if anything, noticeable.

Finally, I buy grains of paradise at a price of $39 per half pound, that is about 17 cents per gram. I buy these from a spice lady I am very fond of - I can get anything from her, great prices ... and yet, the local home brew shop? 4 grams, $2.95. Insane! Price difference? 17cpg vs 73cpg. Yikes! That is insane, I truly do not grok it! Sure, the home brew shop is not a spice specialist, but that is an insane markup...

And if someone wants the info for my spice lady, PM me, unless someone unequivocally tells me I can post it here, I am not going to post it. I feel funky enough even mentioning a source I purchase from that is not a home brew shop and don't want to step on any toes...


Right, enough rambling, thanks for helping me fulfill my curiosity!

M

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Old 06-01-2009, 06:46 AM   #2
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They are a spice used in many recipes. Sam Adams uses them in their Summer Ale. It's a wheat ale with lemon zest and Grains of Paradise.

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Old 06-01-2009, 12:56 PM   #3
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Grains of paradise are typically used in a Witbier. A good substiture is half and half cardamom and white pepper corns.

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Old 06-01-2009, 05:25 PM   #4
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Obviously I posted a wall of text.

Thank you for letting me know they are used in witbier. However, the mass I am seeing used seems ridiculously small - 2 grams? Really?

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Old 06-01-2009, 05:43 PM   #5
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I use 2g of Grains of Paradise with fresh lemon peels for my Summer Ale. It's a bit more tart them SA's version, but the spiciness of the GoP comes through at 2g.

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Old 06-01-2009, 05:58 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by maztec View Post
Thank you for letting me know they are used in witbier. However, the mass I am seeing used seems ridiculously small - 2 grams? Really?
Well, grains of paradise are gonna give a peppery zing to your beer...depends on how much of that you want. I just like a little bit of it.
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Old 06-02-2009, 05:01 AM   #7
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I would love to see a blind taste test to see if that peppery zip is really there. I am definitely going to have to brew my own beer with grains of paradise. Otherwise, I am going to have difficulty believing that two grams of grains of paradise is going to add anything noticeable to five gallons of brew. Especially when most recipes I have found calling for regular pepper call for at least a teaspoon or eight grams [yes, not equivalent units].

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Old 06-02-2009, 05:39 AM   #8
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I used them in a Saison that I brewed back at the beginning of last month.

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Old 06-02-2009, 03:00 PM   #9
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I assure you that paradise seed is pretty powerful stuff. Two grams is an appropriate amount in five gallons. Hell, the 10bbl batches I used to brew used 20g (along with the other Witbier spices).

I agree with the folks in Brew Like a Monk: Spicing should be approached carefully. If you can pick out any one spice, you've used too much. Spices should present a spectrum of flavor, each complementing the other.

Cheers,

Bob

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Old 06-02-2009, 04:19 PM   #10
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Maztec, Im glad everyone is so helpful in telling you what Grains of Paradise are and what flavors they contribute when you obviously have a lot of experience with them!

Oh well.

As for not buying from a LHBS, I don't blame you. I would NEVER buy spices from a homebrew store. Stick with your spice lady. She can give you a better price and fresher spices.

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