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guinsu 01-08-2011 03:10 PM

Juniper Berries
I've wanted to experiment with juniper berries in my beers but have gotten advice that they are easy to over-do. So yesterday I boiled 1 gallon of water for 15 minutes with one whole berry and couldn't taste anything. I did the same with one crushed berry (they looked dry on the outside, but when I crushed it, it sort of had the consistency of a hard jelly bean) and couldn't taste anything that way either. I am a bit confused since a lot of posts seemed to describe the flavor as pretty strong even in tiny qualities. Any advice on how much I should use to get some juniper flavor? Do these berries come in different varieties or strengths?

Skyforger 01-08-2011 04:45 PM

I think a lot of people just don't like the taste. I've made juniper tea before, and it takes a fair amount of branches and berries to get a strong taste.

Randy Mosher has a section in Radical Brewing about Finnish Sahti. He recommends 1 oz of crushed juniper berries at the end of boil. In addition, you boil the mash liquor with juniper branches, and lauter over more juniper branches.

Hops are almost nonexistent in this style, mind. All the spicing in a sahti comes from juniper, with just a touch of hops to help with preservation and to balance slightly.

fineexampl 01-08-2011 04:54 PM

i made a juniper ale.

i'll never try it again.

i used fresh "berries" and mashed with juniper branches as my proposed filterbed. interesting thing about juniper branches that nobody tells you. they float. the ale, now dubbed "juniper fail" was WAY too strong and hardly drinkable. i'll send you a bottle of this abomination so that you don't overdo the juniper.

my advice? don't use more than .5oz of crushed berries.

guinsu 01-08-2011 04:57 PM

I've just got the berries that I picked up at a local spice store, so they are somewhat dried. No branches. I'll try adding .5oz crushed to one gallon for my juniper tea and see how it works out. After all the warnings I have gotten I figure I'll test this a lot before brewing beer.

cormano 07-26-2012 04:17 PM

Bube's Brewery down the street from my house recently released their JunIPA. It is delicious. It has made me want to experiment with juniper. I need to try to ask the brewer how he added the juniper.

MaltnHops 07-26-2012 06:24 PM

I had an IPA with Simcoe and Juniper. I wasn't a fan.

Nyrkki 07-26-2012 07:50 PM

Juniper has a gin like taste when used in greater ammounts. I live in Finland and I can tell you that juniper is not a dominant flavour in the sahti that we can buy from here. It has a lot of esters due to the fermentation in high temperatures and the yeast (baking yeast).

I use juniper berries in cooking from time to time. 6-10 berries are enough in a reinderstew (poronkäristys is the local name). 1 oz. is way too much IMO in a beer, unless you want a really really strong juniper character. When using junper remember to have a strong malt backbone to compensate the juniper. Yeasts that produce esters should be favoured.

If you want to use branches but them at the bottom over your manifold. They shouldn't float if the mash is thick enough.

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