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Old 09-23-2011, 03:10 PM   #1
snark218
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Default Red Ale flavorings: What about tea?

So I picked up some ingredients for a red ale at the brewing store last night, along with some Saaz hops I grabbed on impulse with the thought of maybe dry-hopping.

My first batch - an IPA - having turned out okay, I'm now going to proceed to completely get ahead of myself and experiment with flavorings.

My thinking is that reds and ambers typically sort of have a malty, piney, earthy, fuller bodied sort of thing going on, which I could punch up with those Saaz hops. And I started pondering what sort of flavorings I could play with to go along with that profile.

My first thought was some sort of spices - juniper berries, fennel seeds, or something like that.

But then I started getting excited about the idea of introducing tea. I'm a morning tea drinker, and there's a lot of flavors in tea that could be compatible with an earthy, malty red ale. There's keemun, which has notes of pine and dried plum, and then there's a really wild-ass black tea smoked over pine fires called Lapsang Suchong which I love. I've had some smoked rauchbiers and thought they were quite enjoyable, so the idea of a smoky note along with tea and malt sounds enticing.

So has anybody else played with tea, especially in more medium-bodied and amberish beers? Any thoughts or pointers? My thinking at this point is an ounce or two of tea in some tied-off nylons for about 5-10 minutes at the end of the boil, then removed before cooling. Tea gets bitter and tannic if you steep it too long, and I imagine the bittering hops don't need much competition.

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Old 09-23-2011, 04:35 PM   #2
bob3000
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I have also wondered about using lapsang souchong to add smoke flavour to beer. But I think you really want to avoid any tannins in your beer. If using black tea (as oppossed to herb tea) i would definately not want to boil it. Either make a tea as normal and add to primary or i would try cold steeping much in the same way you would with coffee. i think this would give the best chance of avoiding tannins.

But, be carefull. You only want a sublte flavour, you don't want to ruin a perfectly good beer. I have definatley been guilty of getting a bit too experimantal before i have really nailed the basics.

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Old 09-23-2011, 07:38 PM   #3
snark218
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Yeah, I was thinking about brewing a strong liter of Lapsang and adding it to primary after fermentation slows down - like 3-4 days in. The idea is just to add a smoky note and maybe some floral tea flavor to the final brew, not make a total smoke-bomb.

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