Need help with a Thai-food inspired beer (palm sugar, kefir lime, lemon grass etc) - Home Brew Forums

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Old 08-17-2009, 07:06 PM   #1
Apr 2008
Posts: 60

Hey guys,

So I am going to be brewing 5 Gallons of a spiced Belgian blonde fermented with Belgian Ardennes Yeast (6-6.5%ABV). I have a few questions with spicing/sugar additions.

1. Has anybody ever fermented a beer spiked with Thai Palm sugar? How fermentable is it? What are the major flavor contributions? I am thinking I might just go with white corn sugar (7%), but would like to try to work the palm sugar in If I can figure it out.

2. I know Kaffir Lime leaf is a pretty strong in flavor. Anybody ever brew w/ it? How many leaves for a relatively subtle taste in 5 gallons.

3. Lemon grass. What is the best way to brew with this? I am thinking of grating fresh root, but have also seen the pre grated stuff in thai markets. Anybody have experience with brewing w/ lemongrass stalk? Experience w/ quantities?

4. Ginger. I think I am set with putting 1 oz. grated ginger during the last 10 minutes of the boil.

Anybody have any other input to make my beer a little bit more thai in flavor, or comments on quantities for the spicing is welcome as well.

Here is the base recipe in case anybody is interested.
-7 Lb. Pils Malt
-1 lb, 8 oz. Wheat Malt
-1 lb. Munich Malt
-12 oz. Corn Sugar (or Palm sugar?)
-9 oz. Acid Malt
-2 oz. Belgian Biscuit
-2 oz. Crystal 45 (UK)

60 mins--> 0.75 oz. German Northern Brewer Pellets (8.5%aa)
30 mins--> 1 oz. Glacier Pellets (6%aa)
1 min-->1.5 oz. Glacier Pellets

Wyeast Belgian Ardennes

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Old 08-17-2009, 07:27 PM   #2
Oldsock's Avatar
Sep 2007
DC, Washington DC
Posts: 3,236
Liked 255 Times on 169 Posts

I used Indian palm sugar (gur/jaggery). It worked well and had a nice aroma when the beer was fresh, but the sugar character faded after a few weeks. Not enough experience on the other ingredients to comment, but be careful I have had several “concept” beers turn out pretty bad.
Check out The Mad Fermentationist for my adventures in fermentation and my book: American Sour Beers!

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Old 08-17-2009, 07:45 PM   #3
Arneba28's Avatar
Feb 2008
Amherst, Western New York
Posts: 2,193
Liked 17 Times on 12 Posts

I love thai food and honestly If I was making a beer to capture the "essence" this is what I would do. Although Palm sugar is a distinct flavor some one said it faded., My advice, Coconut milk.
#1 Very light body beer
#2. Lemongrass, Red Chili Peppers, Ginger, Coconut
#3.Get rid of the biscuit malt
#4. You want this beer to have some sweetness to hold onto the flavor and accentuate
the lemongrass and ginger and coconut.

With the lemon grass I would almost be tempted to make a small tea out of some and "dry hop" with the partially spent leftovers of the tea. Boiled lemongrass loses its scent in a boil.

I would also say to get some of that sweetness, use a lager yeast but with a small addition of maybe maltodextrine

Hops. Toss the 1min addition out. It will only overpower any aroma of lemon grass and ginger. I would even say cut the 30min addition down to half that amount.

Basically a california steam beer with thai ingredients. Damn, this got me hungry just thinking about it.
My Kegerator Project

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Old 08-17-2009, 08:23 PM   #4

I brewed a beer once using Thai palm sugar. I love this stuff and it inspired me to get some from an Asian market near work and try it in a rye ale. Added it in the last 15 mins. of the boil. I liked it; it's similar to using honey in an ale, but not quite as dry.

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Old 08-17-2009, 08:50 PM   #5
velotech's Avatar
Dec 2008
Highlands Ranch, CO
Posts: 220
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

I brewed one earlier this year with palm sugar, tamarind, bitter orange, and coriander. The palm sugar fermented completely out and left it dry, which I liked. I will use it again for this beer. All the good beers I had in Thailand were German or English style. The only really good locally flavored beer in the region were in Singapore. But I love the flavors in the region! I met some brewers in the area that I can send you info on if you PM me.


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Old 08-18-2009, 01:23 AM   #6
Apr 2009
Chicago, IL
Posts: 587
Liked 4 Times on 4 Posts

This sort of a hijack, but I may have to try Thai palm sugar in my upcoming saison. There's an Asian market by my girlfriend's apartment in Chicago. I'm looking to experiment with different kinds of sugars for brews of this nature.
Geography in a Glass:

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Old 08-18-2009, 01:32 AM   #7
GilaMinumBeer's Avatar
Jan 2008
Posts: 58,745
Liked 7531 Times on 6164 Posts

Ya take the lime and the coconut.......

Yeah. I got nothing.

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