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Old 02-12-2012, 05:54 PM   #1
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Default Need more juniper flavor with dried berries

I've tried a couple of recipes with Juniper (Rye IPA and Juniper Black Ale), and I just can't seem to get enough flavor, and pretty much no aroma from the juniper. I've been using the dried juniper berries from Penzey's. In both batches, I crush the berries very well with a mortar and pestle. Maybe these aren't the ones I want....they have a nice flavor, but it's pretty mild.

For the IPA, I used 1oz in the mash and 1oz in the boil (@15). I got this idea from a recipe in Randy Mosher's book Radical Brewing (although he used a LOT more). I think I can get some flavor from it, which I percieve as a sort of resiny astringent flavor on the back of the tongue. No aroma, though, which was expected.

For the JBA, I switched it up with 1oz @5 mins boil and 1oz during the dry hop. Still no pronounced aroma or flavor. This was inspired by the SN Beer Camp brew.

I have seen other posts on HBT that refer to the overpowering effects of a mere .5oz. I can only assume this is with fresh berries. Since I don't have any fresh, I'm just wondering how much dried berries I may need to make an impact, or if it's even possible...or advisable. I'm tempted to go with maybe 1/4 or 1/2 #. I know that seems extreme, but if I can get 2-4x the amount of flavor or aroma, it may be worth it.

I'm just curious to know if anyone else has had good luck with using dried berries to produce a noticeable juniper flavor and/or aroma. I don't mean "hint", I mean like a "wow, that's got a nice juniper kick". I suppose I could look over some sahti recipes that use branches and everything, but just curious about the dried berries for now. Perhaps if it's not possible with dried, I may need to source some fresh berries from somewhere else.

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Old 09-29-2012, 09:22 PM   #2
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Did you crush the berries?

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Old 10-01-2012, 11:04 AM   #3
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Yes, crushed them very well using mortar and pestle. Maybe I need fresh ones...

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Old 10-01-2012, 11:40 AM   #4
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I've never tried them.. but, have a juniper bush or two in the neighborhood. I would think fresh berries vs dried would make a big impact. Definitely more aroma.. but, have no idea how they work in a brew. Sounds fun tho. Northern Brewer had a recent replay of a Finnish Sahti that used branches and all.

But, if you do a search on Juniper Berries, there is an early post here on HBT that included a quote about some types not being suitable, some toxic.. check it out first... ~~~HERE~~~

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Old 10-01-2012, 02:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
For the JBA, I switched it up with 1oz @5 mins boil and 1oz during the dry hop. Still no pronounced aroma or flavor. This was inspired by the SN Beer Camp brew.
I contacted SN b/c I really wanted to make a beer similar to this! They replied...
Quote:
We used 0.25 pound/barrel during dry hopping (which also saw Aurora and New Zealand Pacifica hops), but you will want to make sure that the berries are very well macerated.
I'm not sure how to macerate them 'very well' though..
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skibb

I contacted SN b/c I really wanted to make a beer similar to this! They replied...

I'm not sure how to macerate them 'very well' though..
Interesting, so they don't use them in the boil. Im brewing with juniper berries this week. I may try dry hopping if I don't get enough flavor from the boil.
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:09 PM   #7
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Hm 'very well macerated' to me means like mixing them with some water in a blender. I have an attempt at a juniper wine going right now, I used some Penn Herb cut juniper berries. They taste pretty good just plain but don't have a strong taste. I've tried them in sauerkraut and it is ok but easy to use too much.

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Old 10-02-2012, 02:54 AM   #8
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My advice: Skip adding them to the boil and just try 3 oz mashed up in 8 oz of Gin. Let them soak for a week, then dump it in at bottling (Gin and all). The alcohol should extract all the Juniper-ness out along with the Gin flavor to help. You could strain it into the bucket and keep the berry sludge out, it shouldn't have any flavor left, it all should be in the alcohol at that point.

I've done this to good effect with citrus zest and also with a cilantro-lime Pale Ale (both in Vodka, not Gin).

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