Adding Hybiscus to Secondary

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A1sportsdad

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I have a Hybiscus Mango Blonde fermenting. About to transfer it to the secondary with the Mango. I’ll add in dried Hybiscus flowers as well, but they will be bagged so I can remove them after a time.
My question is can I directly add the dried Hybiscus flowers to the secondary? What about risk of infection? Do I need to make a tea out of it or do a soak in vodka or can I add it directly? I’m a bit concerned about adding it directly, but maybe I shouldn’t be.
Thanks
 

Zemillard90

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I've done it once before, but made a tea and it turned out well. Boiled the flowers in water for a bit, strained the flowers out and added directly to the wort. Good luck!
 

day_trippr

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I've used dried hibiscus flowers with raspberries in a wheat beer, 4 ounces in 10 gallons for the first batch then 6 ounces in the second batch, which made it even better. To minimize risk of infection I steeped the flowers for 20 minutes in roughly a quart of water, poured the liquid into a bigger pot then added the 9 pounds of (pureed) raspberries, brought the whole mess up to 140°F for 30 minutes, then let it cool down before pouring it into a pair of carboys and racking the base beer on top.

I'm still enjoying the second batch :)

Cheers!
 

Young Brewing

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I'm brewing a strawberry, lemon, and hibiscus Saison pretty soon and planned to add 4oz of hibiscus to the boil and then make a tea with 2.5 oz to add to the primary after fermentation is over. I wouldn't be too worried about infection as there will already be some alcohol in the fermenter to stop growth, but if you are truly nervous about it then going for the tea would be the safest play.

I also would like to try different variations to see if the intensity of flavor changes between the tea addition and pure flowers.
 
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A1sportsdad

A1sportsdad

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Thank you all. It seams that making a tea is the general consensus. I’ll try that. The recipe I’m using as a base uses 13 oz of dried Hybiscus flowers for 5 gallons. Seems too high. I think I may half it.
 

Young Brewing

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I’ve heard varying usage levels but 13oz does seem pretty high. I’m gonna make a tea first and see how much I enjoy the flavor before I go and dump 6-8oz if it into my brew
 

RCope

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I've done several Hibiscus beers...3 oz in the boil/whirlpool ( I put it into a hop spider for the 20 minute WP), then 3 oz in the fermentor. Made a hop tea, boiled 4 cups of water, steeped 3 oz hibiscus for 20-30 min then strained the mixture into the fermentor. Color was amazing.

Just made a Raspberry Hibiscus Sour a few weeks ago using the same additions. Idea courtesy of @day_trippr
 

Murrayatuptown

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Wow...this is interesting.

I bought a pound of dried hibiscus and used maybe a cup in vodka.

It was almost opaque in a day so that was enough. It was really sour, so added honey & it tasted like cough syrup. Eventually blended with a batch of citrynowka (Polish lemon vodka) and liked that...but I wasn't inspired enough to try it again.

In beer...hadn't thought very hard about that.

Does it contribute tartness, or does it ferment out?

What about boiling in wort...maybe a Belgian?

Thanks
 

Young Brewing

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Wow...this is interesting.

I bought a pound of dried hibiscus and used maybe a cup in vodka.

It was almost opaque in a day so that was enough. It was really sour, so added honey & it tasted like cough syrup. Eventually blended with a batch of citrynowka (Polish lemon vodka) and liked that...but I wasn't inspired enough to try it again.

In beer...hadn't thought very hard about that.

Does it contribute tartness, or does it ferment out?

What about boiling in wort...maybe a Belgian?

Thanks

From what I understand, it does a great job turning the beer red without making it super opaque. There is some perceived tartness when it's used but it's not considered as drastic as a sour beer would taste. You probably perceived it as sour due to the concentration but I think distributed among 5 - 10 gallons of beer, it wouldn't be quite as potent.

You can use it pretty much anywhere during the brew but I am planning on using it in the boil for color and then in the secondary for flavor. I chose a Saison because I feel like the light tartness would play really well with the style. I have only had commercial examples of this so I will have some more thoughts once finally get to make one myself!
 

Murrayatuptown

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Thanks.

My son-in-law wants to do a Belgian again and I was thinking DIPA...found NB's Houblonmonstre...I do not like sours but wouldn't object to a fruity tartness...just read about a bunch of hibiscus-forward beers so it's giving my confidence momentum.
 

superiorsat

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I've done several Hibiscus beers...3 oz in the boil/whirlpool ( I put it into a hop spider for the 20 minute WP), then 3 oz in the fermentor. Made a hop tea, boiled 4 cups of water, steeped 3 oz hibiscus for 20-30 min then strained the mixture into the fermentor. Color was amazing.

Just made a Raspberry Hibiscus Sour a few weeks ago using the same additions. Idea courtesy of @day_trippr
What would you say the hibiscus brought to the sour other than color? Layering of tartness/sourness? Couple years ago I did a rhubarb sour that I decided straight rhubarb not sweet (kind of tastes like celery) needed something else so I added tart cherry juice to sweeten and I felt the tart from the cherry and rhubarb plus the lactic acid gave a very layered sensation. That color was like red velvet cake. The wife loves sours and that's basically all I make for her anymore. So always looking to up the game via cool color or layering.
 

MicroMickey

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I've used dried Hibiscus several times but have always dumped it into the boil with about 5 - 10 minutes left. There was plenty of color, flavor, and aroma.
 

MicroMickey

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The last 5 gallon batch I did was a Wit. I added 1 oz. with 5 minutes left in the boil, and 1 oz. at knock-out with a 10 minute steep.
 

RealRayDizzle

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I make a hibiscus beer modeled loosely after one we tried in Spain. I use 6-8oz dried flowers per 5 gal. Place in mesh bag, dunk in boiling water for a couple seconds, let drain a bit then add to secondary for 3 days. I usually add either sweet orange peel to the recipe or serve with orange slice to cut any tartness (usually I don't get much tartness)
 

RCope

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What would you say the hibiscus brought to the sour other than color? Layering of tartness/sourness? Couple years ago I did a rhubarb sour that I decided straight rhubarb not sweet (kind of tastes like celery) needed something else so I added tart cherry juice to sweeten and I felt the tart from the cherry and rhubarb plus the lactic acid gave a very layered sensation. That color was like red velvet cake. The wife loves sours and that's basically all I make for her anymore. So always looking to up the game via cool color or layering.
I've used hibiscus in 4 beers. To my palate, there really is very little other than color. With the raspberry, which is not overpowering, there was a bit of floral (duh :) ), but not enough to say it contributed much. If you want to recognize it, make a regular tea, the taste will be more evident in the beer but subtle.

It may bring the "layering" you desire. But I like it because it is a pretty color...And if you or your wife appreciates the unique color of tea added to sours, try Clitoria Ternatea (aka Butterfly Pea Flower). Here's a pic of my "Butterfly Passion" sour. It's a passion fruit sour:
IMG_3403.jpg
 

Murrayatuptown

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That BPS color remind me of Purple heart wood. & I think Purple heart is in the Flowering Pea category. A legume, anyway, if not specifically FP.
 

LuukGx

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I have a standard Honey Hibiscus Saison recipe I brew, where I add 2 ounces to the boil with 5 minutes remaining for color, together with some vanilla. Then I add half a gallon of strong hibiscus tea to the secondary (I brew the beer a few points stronger for this purpose). Gives it a very nice rose color as well as some great hibiscus aroma. Flavor wise it's weak but it brings some nice tannins.
 

day_trippr

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[...](I brew the beer a few points stronger for this purpose). [...]

This is an excellent point that I forget to mention half the time :)
Fruit will provide some fermentation points but the typical method of addition will incur a net drop in ABV.
Accounting for the dilution effect in the (base) beer recipe is pretty important...

Cheers!
 

Craiginthecorn

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I use hibiscus/jamaica in kombucha all the time. I simply cold steep the petals for 24 hours in my kombucha and find the flavor fairly to be noticeable with as little as maybe six dried petals per gallon. Yes the color is the most prominent effect, but there is a berry-like tartness. I'm not sure how I would handle its addition to beer.

I just bought a four-pack of Casa Humilda Hibiscus Mesita (table beer). FANTASTIC summer beer. Crisp and refreshing and with plenty of flavor, in spite of its 3.7% ABV. Casa Humilda is a small brewery on Chicago's west side run by proud Mexican-American former homebrewers. Knocked this one outta the park! I will definitely try to make something similar next year.
 

Upstate12866

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Where do you folks buy hibiscus from? Any good online sources besides the odd latino grocer or tea house? I'm always on the lookout but it can be hard to find near me.

I regularly make a hibiscus lemon and green tea cider. I've posted the recipe if you are interested. I do two or three steepings of just 1/4 cup to extract all the color, then add to 2.5 or 3 gallons of brew. It's a very good way to sneak some roundness and tartness into a plain cider.
 
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