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Old 03-30-2012, 02:22 PM   #1
cokronk
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Default Thai Basil Ale questions

This weekend I want to attempt to make a 10 gallon batch of Thai Basil Ale. What I want to do is come up with a basic pale ale recipe and use thai basil at the flame out and/or in secondary.

I'm sure there's someone here with some kind of knowledge or experience on this; I need to know how much Thai Basil to use. I don't want to add too much (if there is such a thing) and I don't want to add too little to where there's no thai basil flavor at all.

The last porter I made was made with 2lbs of peat smoked malt for a 5 gallon batch to get the flavor to really come out. I'd like a nice bold flavor from the thai basil.


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Old 03-30-2012, 03:05 PM   #2
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I've often looked at my thai basil plants and tried to figure out a good beer to try it in. I think a wit might be good but I'm not sold on it. You'll have to let us know how it turns out.

If you needed two pounds of peated malt to appreciate the flavor you better add several plants to your boil. Usually people only use peated malt in ounces. I'm not trying to offend; if that's your flavor threshold then that's what it is.

Honestly I think it's possible you won't be happy until you strip a mature plant of all its leaves. Thai basil is potent but not that potent. In my fairly limited cooking with it I seem to think the most flavor comes from eating the leaves in the food. It doesn't seem to meld into the sauces or other ingredients terribly well. That's a problem since you don't want to eat leaves in your beer.

My thought is to start with a cup of leaves, lightly chopped if you can, dropped in at 5-10 minutes before flame out. The short boil time will help extract flavor but won't be long enough that the leaves break down too much and create haze from the cellulose.

Let it run through the primary. See how the flavor is. You will probably want to make more additions in secondary. I don't think dumping the leaves in secondary is right. It makes more sense to either make a hot tea with the leaves or soak in vodka and add the tea or vodka to secondary and let it sit for a few days. Taste, see how you like it and repeat.

Once you are ready to bottle, I saw add a little more. Add a liquid cup of thai basil tea to the bottling bucket along with the beer. Part of thai basil's charm is the aroma. After boiling and sitting in secondary its not going to have a lot of the aroma so a last minute addition going in the bottle will help bump it up. Although if there's a strong aroma before bottling without the last minute addition then leave it out.


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Old 03-30-2012, 03:17 PM   #3
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I just finished up a bottle of Laphroaig's youngest Islay not too long before doing the peat smoked porter and wanted something that had that smoke bite like the scotch. Surprisingly, it just bites you in the face at the first drink, but then settles into the background as you're drinking it.

As for the Thai Basil, I had to idea to do a really light ale that would let the flavor come through and only end up with an ABV of 4-5% so I'd have a nice spring/summer ale to drink on. I have a bunch of Marris Otter I'm going to use as the base, so I was thinking the lightest crystal malt I could find at the LBHS and see what specialties they have that I think would compliment it. If worse comes to worse, I'll just do the Marris Otter and the crystal.
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:03 PM   #4
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Marc0 has a honey basil ale recipe on tastybrew (http://www.tastybrew.com/newrcp/detail/507) where he suggests 2 oz of basil (sweet basil, aka the regular basil you get at the grocery store) for 5 gallons. I made the recipe, but added 2.5 oz, and the basil was very noticable - good if you like basil, bad if you don't!
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Old 04-19-2012, 06:34 PM   #5
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Fing delicious!

I used three normal sized ziplock bags from the local asian market full of Thai Basil that was chopped up and thrown in the pot 5 minutes before flame out. Just tasted it yesterday and the beer itself has a nice light thai basil taste with a good hoopy, but not too hoppy, finish. It's only about 5%, but with 10 gallons cold and carbed, it's going to be a great summer ale. It did end up a little darker than I intended though.
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Old 08-29-2012, 08:01 PM   #6
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Ahh very nice..when I was in prouge. They had a black pepper basil beer...very good..


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