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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Adding Orange Peel to Secondary
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Old 10-28-2013, 03:05 PM   #1
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Default Adding Orange Peel to Secondary

I am getting ready to brew a chocolate stout and want to add some orange peel when I rack to secondary to make it more of a chocolate orange stout. What is the best way to add the peel while minimizing risk of infection in the beer? Should I boil the peel, soak in vodka, dehydrate and then soak etc....? I want to try and keep the orange flavor very noticeable but not to overpower the chocolate from the malt too much.

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Old 10-28-2013, 05:15 PM   #2
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I have some experience with limes. I zested a few into a small amount of vodka (just enough to cover) and let it sit for about 3 weeks. I then strained the zest out with a coffee filter and added the vodka/lime to taste at bottling.

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Old 10-28-2013, 05:18 PM   #3
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I would personally soak in vodka, but only enough so all of it is either absorbed, or so it barely covers the orange peel. Then dump it all in the brew.

That said, if it is done fermenting you probably could just add the peel directly with no adverse affects. You're basically dry hopping with orange peels instead of hops.

Just my 0.02. Your mileage may vary.

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Old 10-28-2013, 08:25 PM   #4
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Thanks for the insight. I was wondering about just adding some fresh orange peel to the last 10-15 minutes of the boil. Should be long enough to sanitize and hopefully extract enough oils/essence to give that hint of orange. Thoughts?

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Old 10-28-2013, 08:34 PM   #5
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I've always added orange zest or peel (half to a full ounce) to the last 10 mins of boil, any longer than that and it starts to taste like an orange that is way over ripe.

A month ago I made an american wheat (5gal) and threw a whole ounce of sweet orange zest in it, thinking that was almost too much, in the end it turned out to be a midline for both aroma and flavor. IMO you might need a bit more for it to pull through the chocolate.

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Old 10-28-2013, 08:36 PM   #6
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Wash the rind off really well and you should be ok. There's enough ascorbic acid in the fruit to make it a fairly hostile environment for critters to cling to. When all else fails, give it a dose of StarSan before you plop it in.
In truth, I've experimented with several of my cheap batches to see what it would take to actually introduce an infection into the beer and so far I have been unsuccessful. I thought for sure dipping my hydrometer tube directly into the fermenter without sanitizing it would do something and it didn't. I left the lid half open right after the krausen dropped overnight and nothing happened. My wife (inadvertently) coughed into the fermenter and nothing happened. I've found that you really have to TRY to screw up your beer.

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