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Old 08-05-2010, 10:52 PM   #11
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A little Umami/Beer story for ya'

Well into the boil for my last batch of Willamette SMaSH, I realized that I was out of Irish Moss! Of course I was already brewing when I realized the shortage... What does one do? Improvise of course.

Twenty minutes of Google-time and a whole lot of useless information later, I learned that Irish Moss is actually Chondrus crispus (aka red algae).

Now, thinking to myself, "Self, do I have any other red algae laying around the house?" Strangely enough the answer was YES! I have a little stash of dried seaweed flakes I used for making soups and whatnot. The package said 'Porphyra perforata'. WTF? It came from the health food store, not my usual Nori.

More of my life wasted on Google: I found out that Porphyra perforata does contain carrageenan and would make a fine substitute for Irish Moss. So I brewed with it! [~3 grams dried weight]

Move along 6 weeks later: Friends ask me, "What did you do differently? Is this a new yeast?" This SMaSH is so much tastier than the last batch, same mash temp, same yeast, same ferm temp.. even the same bag of M.O.

Hmmm. That's when I remembered the substitution... It appears that Porphyra species contains some of the highest levels of glutamate compounds (umami-ness) amongst various common seaweeds and Chondrus c. contains the lowest amounts.

What do you think?


- Mike

ps. I've tried a little experiement to illustrate this: Take a sip of a mild ale of something not-too-hoppy. Eat a little Nori and then take another sip of the same beer. Tastes better now, no? Food pairing?

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Old 08-05-2010, 11:00 PM   #12
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Sounds like a salty beer.

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Old 08-05-2010, 11:27 PM   #13
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I wouldn't describe the taste as Salty (in the least). Just plain yummy. Maybe slightly sweeter and more rounded with a finish that says "have more!".
Also I think toasted Nori is recommended as a seasoning for people on a low-salt diet(?). For these reason I tend to discount salt as the magic ingredient. Good idea though.

I've been experimenting with so called Umami flavors since having read about them on this here board. That's why the nori was in my cupboard in the first place.
Now I do weird stuff like grilling Shiitake mushrooms, adding miso to my tomato soup stock.. stuff. Who would do stuff like that when there's perfectly good button mushrooms or canned tomato paste?!

Mike

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Last edited by Rip; 08-05-2010 at 11:50 PM. Reason: edited to remove dick-ish-ness, was a long day.
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Old 08-23-2011, 04:26 PM   #14
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Have you had any more experience putting seaweed in your brew?

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Old 09-09-2012, 10:02 PM   #15
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Sorry to make it go back up, I want to make a "Meat pie" Ale for my festive ale this year. I will put Cinamon, Jamaican pepper and nutmeg in that ale. I will use the "Jean Talon" yeast salvaged from an Annedda ale.

I wonder how to add the umami without it being too overwelming.

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Old 09-10-2012, 01:59 PM   #16
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What about using Kombu kelp in the "dryhop". It has natural MSG and very rich in umami. It's used to enrich asian broths and soups all the time... Sounds better than using bonito flakes, ketchup, soy sauce, or mushrooms.

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Old 09-10-2012, 02:07 PM   #17
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The dominant protein in barley is glutamic acid. Glutamic acid combines with metals like sodium to create glutamates. Glutamates stimulate the umami receptors, which are located all over the inside of the mouth, throat and even the stomach! That's why beer tasters swallow when wine tasters don't. ;-)

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Old 09-11-2012, 12:55 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbrews View Post
What about using Kombu kelp in the "dryhop". It has natural MSG and very rich in umami. It's used to enrich asian broths and soups all the time... Sounds better than using bonito flakes, ketchup, soy sauce, or mushrooms.
I would boil it with the irish moss...
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Old 09-11-2012, 12:35 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rip View Post
I wouldn't describe the taste as Salty (in the least). Just plain yummy. Maybe slightly sweeter and more rounded with a finish that says "have more!".
Also I think toasted Nori is recommended as a seasoning for people on a low-salt diet(?). For these reason I tend to discount salt as the magic ingredient. Good idea though.

I've been experimenting with so called Umami flavors since having read about them on this here board. That's why the nori was in my cupboard in the first place.
Now I do weird stuff like grilling Shiitake mushrooms, adding miso to my tomato soup stock.. stuff. Who would do stuff like that when there's perfectly good button mushrooms or canned tomato paste?!

Mike
When you add miso to your tomato soup, do you usually add red or white?
BTW, adding miso to tomato soup is a damned great idea! Wish I'd thought of it. I'll be trying this this wekend. Sorry about the thread jack, resume ummami beer discussion.
Regards, GF.
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:54 PM   #20
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The thing about glutamates is that they don't taste like much by themselves. Try tasting MSG. What they do is to work with other ingredients to enhance the overall flavor experience. Well, not precisely, because flavor = aroma + taste. But when there are a wide variety of taste sources in a food or beverage, the glutamates (and actually nucleotides too) stimulate the taste receptors in such a way that the overall experience of taste is enhanced. That's why I suggest recipes that contain a wide variety of ingredients, such as 10 or 12 different grains, a touch of celtic sea salt, some carbonates (if appropriate) several strains of hops, etc.

I believe that the suggestion that umami in beer comes solely from autolyzed yeast is incorrect.

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