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Old 09-29-2011, 04:28 PM   #1
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Default Using wood in the boil kettle.

Hey guys,

This is the first thread I have started, but I have been surfing these forums for about a year and a half. So hello everybody!

Anyways, I am from New England and I have always loved the taste of birch beer. I love the flavor profile and I think it would be very interesting to have in a beer. With that being said, I have some black birch hanging around and the will to make this happen. I am considering throwing this into an oatmeal stout or maybe even a pale ale, where the flavor would be showcased in full force.

I was wondering what the best technique is to achieve this flavor? Aging, or adding the wood to the boil kettle? Birch beer is usually made by boiling the twigs and bark, so why wouldn't that work? I have read about using birch syrup but from what I have read it doesn't seem to achieve the flavor I am looking for. What do you guys think?


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Old 09-29-2011, 05:06 PM   #2
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I personally have never used woods, but I'm pretty sure you are supposed to dice it up and put in the secondary, not in the boil.

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Old 09-29-2011, 10:16 PM   #3
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Birch beer is made by distilling the sap from the tree, and then putting the resulting oil into the drink. What if you get food grade oil and put it into the kettle/secondary/bottle? Not sure what the oil would do in the fermentor but birch oil is heavier than water.
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Old 09-29-2011, 11:13 PM   #4
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my vote would be to break the wood up into small pieces and add to the secondary. The oil is a good idea as well although the wiki page says "Alcoholic birch beer, in which the birch sap is fermented rather than reduced to an oil, has been known in the region from at least the mid-nineteenth century." I think by just using the oil it wouldn't be consumed by the yeast.

But I think the best flavor would come from fresh birch wood that was still running sap
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Old 10-02-2011, 03:12 PM   #5
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My dad has been talking about a similar sap idea of replacing some of the water in a porter recipe with maple sap. You might save this idea till spring and tap some birch trees instead.
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Old 11-15-2012, 02:56 PM   #6
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I know this is an old post, but just wondering if you (or anyone) has tried using birch in brewing? I spoke with my local supply store about this and they suggested adding the wood to either the primary or secondary, NOT during the boil. Since they have never heard of using birch, they couldn't answer my next questions...use dried chips or fresh, living chipe and branches from a tree??

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