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Ah Nuts! (using nuts in brewing)

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cmdrico7812

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So I've been trying to think of how to get the most flavor from using nuts in a beer. Here are the various methods I've come up with. Let me know your thoughts on them (or other methods) and which you think would yield the nuttiest flavor (we're dealing with roasted nuts here, so assume that's been done prior to any of these methods):

1. Crushed the nuts and mash them right along with the grain.
2. Crush the nuts and add them to the wort at the beginning of the boil and strain them out before adding to fermenter.
3. Crush the nuts and add them at flame-out and then strain them out of the wort before transferring to fermenter.
4. Ferment the beer in primary and rack on top of crushed nuts in secondary.

Anyone have thoughts on this? Currently, my favored method is to add them at flame-out. Any nut beer experts out there? Thanks.
 

BigEd

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Nuts are mainly fat and protein, two things I try to minimize in my beer. IMO you would be better off using a flavor extract.
 

McKBrew

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How does the flameout method work for you. Are you noticing any distinct contributions from the nuts?
 

cvstrat

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I have never used nuts in brewing. But if I were there are a few things I'd try. Try powdering the nuts and adding with 1 min left in the boil. Should settle out in primary.

Alternatively you could grind them up like coffee and steep them into a tea of sorts. Add that tea directly before kegging. Start with a little and add more until you get the flavor you want.

I haven't ever done this, but for some reason it's the two I'd try first. Let me know if you ever decide to do either.
 

KingBrianI

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I make a liquor by roasting walnuts then letting them steep in vodka for about a month. It has an awesome nutty flavor when done. If you do that, strain it, then add it in secondary or before bottling/kegging, you'll probably transfer more flavor to your beer than any of the methods you mentioned.
 
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cmdrico7812

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KingBrianI thanks for the tip. For a five gallon batch of your walnut beer, how many nuts do you use and how much vodka? What's the rest of your recipe for this walnut beer? Thanks.
 

KingBrianI

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I've never used it in a beer, just drank the liquor by itself. But my typical batch is about a cup to a cup and a half of walnut. I put them in a mason jar and add just enough vodka, and sometimes a little brandy, to cover the toasted walnuts. After a month, the vodka is a beautiful dark brown and tastes amazing when mixed with a little simple syrup made from brown sugar. If adding to a beer, I'd skip the simple syrup. Using 1.5 cup of toasted walnuts and enough vodka (and brandy if you like) to cover them would probably be perfect for a 5-5.5 gallon batch of beer.
 

Grizzlybrew

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First, depending on what kind of nuts, they will float, not settle out. Be careful.

Second, whatever you do... do as KingBrian said and roast them first - helps release oils (where flavor is)

I wouldn't worry about using fresh nuts in a brew, just counter balance it with torrified wheat or some other head builder. I think I'd be more afraid of a fake flavor in my beer than a lack-luster head.
 
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cmdrico7812

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I'm making chestnut beer. I want to make a Christmas beer with a touch of spices and chestnuts. I made a chestnut beer last year by making a light pilsner base ale and then adding 3#s of roasted and smashed chestnuts to the boil. The beer was really good but lacked the nuttiness I was looking for.
 

HOP-HEAD

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Nuts belong on the bar... as a snack while you enjoy your brew....... not in the brew itself. Just my $0.02. Haven't had a nut brown (just what comes to mind), or any other nutty brew that's tasted in any way satisfying to me..... but more power to ya.
 
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cmdrico7812

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Nut brown's don't usually have actual nuts in them. I was thinking more along the lines of Rogue's Hazelnut Nectar or, since you're in West Michigan, Hideout's Hazelnut Stout, which is a fantastic beer. Nothing wrong with a little experimentation.
 

Dr Vorlauf

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The Chestnut route is interesting. I just roasted a ton of them and deshelled.

Chestnuts are about 70% carbohydrate, so I think I will have to also gelatinize and then add to my mash for conversion.

Don't know what style to try this in.... Chestnut stout? Chestnut IPA ( for the mouthfeel)
 
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cmdrico7812

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I'm going to try the chestnut liquor route. I fire roasted and deshelled about 1.5 pounds, crushed them, and put them in a mason jar with enough vodka just to cover them. We'll see how it tastes after a month and then I'll decide if I want to add it to my secondary or not.
 

jamesnsw

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Just did a clone of Lazy Magnolia's Pecan Nut Brown on Saturday. Someone on here works at Lazy Magnolia, and they said they mash the very well roasted pecans- and put them in the bottom of the mash so they don't float up. I definitely could taste pecan in the wort, we'll see how it turns out.

The nut liquor definitely sounds interesting- maybe I'll give that a go as well.
 
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cmdrico7812

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I just tasted my almond liquor after letting it sit in the vodka for 3 weeks and wow, the taste was amazing! It tastes just like roasted in almonds and I bet that in another week or two it'll be even better. I also tried my chestnut liquor. You could definitely pick up on a chestnut flavor, but it wasn't nearly as nutty as the almonds. Maybe another month of two to really extract the flavor from the chestnuts.
 

krugulitis

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I like the Maui/Stone collaboration porter that has Macadamia nuts in it. No idea how they added them, though.
I was thinking about brewing a beer with macadamia nuts also, but I have not idea how to go about it. Anyone have any imput on this?
 

HOP-HEAD

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Nothing wrong with a little experimentation.
AMEN to that... wasn't trying to stifle creativity at all, just voicing my opinion.

Just because I'd rather stuff 8 oz of Hops into every single beer I make, while I'll turn my nose up at the thought of adding fruit or nuts, doesn't mean that's gospel. To each his own.... that's what makes this fun. :mug:
 

cowperc

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I just tasted my almond liquor after letting it sit in the vodka for 3 weeks and wow, the taste was amazing! It tastes just like roasted in almonds and I bet that in another week or two it'll be even better. I also tried my chestnut liquor. You could definitely pick up on a chestnut flavor, but it wasn't nearly as nutty as the almonds. Maybe another month of two to really extract the flavor from the chestnuts.
so did you end up trying to add this to the bottling bucket? how'd the brew turn out?
 

Berlbrew

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I'd like to revive this thread because I'm planning a beer that will also utilize nuts. I want to soak walnuts in bourbon and add the bourbon to a porter either in secondary or at bottling. Anyone else who has attempted this have any advice in terms of quantities and techniques? I would love for this porter to have pleasing, noticeable walnut flavor.

For now I'm assuming I would use 1.5-2 cups of walnuts in a mason jar with enough bourbon to cover the nuts. Any ideas or experience is appreciated.
 

MVKTR2

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Lazy Magnolia brewery here in Misisipi has a flagship bier, Southern Pecan brewed with real pecans. I pass the following on with some input from what I've learned from them.

1-Roast the nuts!!! this is an absolute must if you're not gonna do this don't bother reading further or even making a 'nut' bier.

2-Adding nuts at multiple stages is best, preferably in the mash, last 5 mins of the boil, and/or dry hopped. All add slightly different character.

3-Don't worry with trying to blot oils from the nuts post-roasting. Seems the pros don't do it.

4-Don't boil the nuts, depending on the nut you could extract tannins/astringency, though so small you may not be able to detect it... you may so don't risk it. Also through boiling is where you're most likely to extract the most oils!

That's all I've got. Had a guy in the hb club use nuts in the mash and secondary, I'll ask him how the nuts impacted it at the diff. stages next time we talk.

Schlante,
Phillip
 

BrewFrick

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Nuts contain oil, generally oil will kill the head on a beer. To get any kind of flavor out of the nuts you will have to add a lot of them and thus a lot of oil. So if you like oil slick beer with no head then use nuts in your brew, otherwise salt them and keep them on the bar to enjoy with a good beer that has not been brewed with nuts.
 

jamesnsw

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Nuts contain oil, generally oil will kill the head on a beer. To get any kind of flavor out of the nuts you will have to add a lot of them and thus a lot of oil. So if you like oil slick beer with no head then use nuts in your brew, otherwise salt them and keep them on the bar to enjoy with a good beer that has not been brewed with nuts.
Or, like the rest of this thread says, you can prepare them in a variety of ways that limits the impact of that oil. Also, adding a bit of carapils will add some more head.

My Lazy Magnolia Pecan Nut Brown clone was not an oil slick beer and had a nice head.
 

Berlbrew

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The real question for me right now is whether to try one of these ways of adding nuts (making a liquor infusion, adding them to the mash, or "dry-nutting") or to just use some extract. Extract is definitely the easy path. I'm brewing this beer for a Category 23-only competition and I won't have enough time to take more than one shot at it so I want to get it right. It looks like some further poking around is required to find out if anyone has tried the different methods and determined which is best.
 

winterparkmg

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Berl,

Dry-nutting? Sounds like a maneuver from High School!!! :eek:

Here's what I'm trying:

2 lbs of Filberts/Hazelnuts with a handful of almonds from the mixed bin at the grocery.

Shell them and lay them on foil.

Toast cycle of toaster oven at 375 for :10. Some blackening later, the wife turned it off for me.

Poured the lot into a pot of boiling water for an instantaneous boil over. I guess I added too much surface area at once.

The initial pot was WAY too bitter from the tannins, so I added sugar, no good. Still way too bitter. I discarded it and chalked it up to a blanching process to remove tannins like I do with acorns.


New pot of water at temps around 160-170. I figure if barley husks leach tannic acid at temps above 170...

I used a potato masher (expanded metal-style) to break up the meat of the nuts at the temp stayed constant for :20. Bittering is not there anymore.

I repeated this process after decanting the "tea" and boiling it in a separate container to concentrate the flavors.

I am going to repeat tomorrow until I have approximately a quart total to add to the secondary of my most recent nut brown recipe. Head or no head, I hope this works out. The flavor of the "tea" is currently very similar to the hazelnut CoffeeMate creamer, so I think I'm on the right track. No sugar added yet. I might to reactivate some yeast in the secondary just to get them moving and allow them to work on some of the odd oils, esters, etc if any.

Will report back later on results. I am definitely interested in making an aperitif style concoction using the vodka method. I have had LOTS of success with this in the past with oranges and bananas, so I think I'll give it a shot with the nuts later.

Dry-nutting... Hoo boy. That made my night.

~William
 

hightechlofi

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Though to would revive this thread. I just brewed a porter and would like to experiment with steeping pecans in it to add flavor (dry nutting, as per the above post). Has anyone tried this? How did it turn out?

Also, any info on mashing etc with nuts would be great to hear too.

Thanks!
 

skullface1818

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Ill probably crush up some hazelnuts/pecans in my roomies mini blender, and then roast them over a paper towel at 250 for about 20 minutes.

that should get them nice and roasted. Ill then empty the contents into my old steaping bag and place it in a long term all grain soak.

I might drop whats left into my boil for the last 10 minutes as well to get more flavor.
 

bcgpete

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A friend of mine did a Pecan Porter recently, which had a stronger taste of pecan than the Lazy Mag pecan ale (which is delicious, I'm from MS and totally miss that beer). Here are the directions he sent me for what he did, as I've been sharing it with some nano-breweries in the area:

Be VERY careful with the roasting. I F'd it up the first time. You might want to lower it from 400F to like 375 or 380, as you can easily burn them accidentally. After each roast, store them in a paper lunch bag, let cool, and crush them up a good bit. I'd also recommend knocking down the black malt and possibly eliminating the chocolate completely. It seems too heavy on those.

"Pecans were toasted at 300F for 10 minutes in a single layer, then poured into a paper bag to sit out overnight, hopefully getting some of the oils out of them. Pecans were roasted 10 minutes at 400F till slightly smoking. Poured into another paper bag.
Pecans were finally roasted for 10 more minutes at 350F for about 8 minutes, again, just until slightly smoking.
Between each roast, I used a flat-style crowbar and smashed as many whole nuts as I could in order to expose the maximum amount of surface area."
 

iijakii

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I roast them just like you would pecans for baking. 325F at 10-15mins until nice and fragrant.
 

beergolf

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Flying Fish Exit 8 has chestnuts in it.

I emailed them and got this response on how they used them.

Chestnut flour in the mash and boiled whole chestnuts (no shell) for the first 30 minutes. *

Cheers
BTW Exit 8 Is a great beer.
 

PaulF

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Stone showed has a picture online of them steeping the nuts, coconut, and coffee beans in the "whirlpool." http://www.flickr.com/photos/stonebrewingco/3769840432/in/set-72157621760351513/

I've also had that Lazy Magnolia Pecan Brown Ale. It's really good, and you really can taste the Pecan. They roast them and put them in that mashtun and in the 2ndary, from what I've read places.
In brewery terms, does this translate to the end of the boil?

I'm working on an almond porter and we've been experimenting with extract. The problem seems to be that it's 99% aroma and even that dissipates quickly. I'm looking for a meatier almond flavor. For the next batch, I think we'll mash with roasted and crushed almonds in the bottom of the MT as well as hot steep some at 5 minutes or something like that.

Has anyone else tried these methods? This beer has proven to be a very robust and dry porter, it could use a little more body and it really needs a flavor to break it out. Tips?
 

wages

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Nothing like reviving a thread!

Based on this thread and others, I have brewed two batches of pecan beer (the last batch was a 10 gallon batch with 1 pound total pecans; shelled them myself). I smashed up the pecans and roasted for a few minutes, then I placed them in a paper bag and pressed them. Then I roasted again and repeated the paper bag/pressing method. The goal was to soak out the oils and let me tell you, by the time I had roasted 3 times, the paper bag was soaked through and through with fragrant pecan oil! Fast forward to brew day, I included 1/2 pound (remember, I'm doing a 10 gallon batch) in the mash and the other 1/2 pound was added with 5 minutes left in the boil. The end result? The pecan flavor was there, but not as strong as I wanted (Lazy Magnolia's Pecan Ale has a stronger flavor).

Now I'm trying a hazelnut beer. As I type, I'm roasting 2 pounds of hazelnuts. But this time, I'm roasting them whole and using the "roast then roll in a kitchen towel" roasting method (Google it; it's the #1 way of roasting hazelnuts). You roll them in a kitchen towel in order to remove the outer skins which can be bitter. When I brew with them tomorrow, I intend to put 1 pound in the mash and 1 pound in the last 5 minutes of the boil. I really expect this to be very tasty.

I hope this helps in some way. Cheers!
 

PaulF

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Wages,

I brewed my almond porter a while back and I had great results...

Whole roasted almonds
Vodka or other flavorless spirit

Crush two cups roasted almonds with a meat tenderizer, add to mason jar, cover almonds with vodka, and let steep for several days. Add the whole mixture to your secondary OR primary after krausen is gone. The key is you don't want fermentation to carry away any of the aroma. I then let mine rest for about two weeks. What came ou was a beer very similar to MBC's Coconut porter, very good flavor and the meaty almond taste and aroma I was looking for.

Doing it this way is like adding extract and the toasty flavor at the same time. In fact, i've just decided I'm brewing this again.
 

hightechlofi

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I smashed up the pecans and roasted for a few minutes, then I placed them in a paper bag and pressed them. Then I roasted again and repeated the paper bag/pressing method. The goal was to soak out the oils and let me tell you, by the time I had roasted 3 times, the paper bag was soaked through and through with fragrant pecan oil!
The paper bag method works well. I have done two pecan brown batches (one is about to be racked into the secondary, the other is long gone). I roasted three times for about 10min each, once at 300, 400, and then 350 (as per instructions on another thread on HBT). I went through probably 10 bags, I would move to a clean one when one was soaked with oil.

The first batch, I mashed 8oz with my specialty grains (both batches were extract), then added 3oz to the boil at 25min. The pecans came through very clearly. The malt came in first, then the pecans rounded out the taste and lingered. It worked really well, much more pecan than the LM.

The second batch, i used 10 oz, roasted the same way, but they got a little crispier, as I let them go a little too long at 400. I did not have my notes from my previous batch, so I used 7oz in the mash, and then 3oz at 10 minutes. As I said above, this is still in the primary, but from my samples, I can say that 25min is the way to go. The pecan is very muted in this batch, not sure that time will help it to come out more or not.

Anyway, that is my experience so far, hope it helps someone.
 

dbc5

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Wanted some advice here. Have any of you experienced contamination issues when adding nuts directly to secondary? I just finished dumping a full batch's worth of bottles from a cashew brown ale. I roasted the cashews in the oven for 15 minutes at around 350 degrees, then placed them in a bag for a few days. The brown ale sat for 4 weeks prior to adding the nuts, then sat on the nuts an additional 10 days. I bottled with 3.25 ounces of priming sugar. After 5 days, this one was already quite carbonated. I opened a bottle today (14 days post bottling) and the entire bottle immediately turned to foam and shot about 3 feet into the air. This happened with every subsequent bottle I opened. It seems clear something contaminated this beer and I am assuming it was the cashew addition, as nothing else was off with regard to sanitation practices for this batch. Curious whether anyone experienced this and what alternative approaches you might suggest. Should to nuts basically go straight from oven to secondary so they are still at a temperature that would prevent bacteria contamination? I'm concerned this temperature would damage the yeast, but not sure how else I would sanitize a large quantity of nuts. I used 1.5 lbs of cashews in this and before it was over carbonated beyond recognition, the cashew presence was really nice.
 

wages

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You could always roast the nuts, add them in warm after fermentation, then add more yeast for carbonation (to replace the yeast that might have died from heat shock). There's a yeast specifically made for carbonating, CBC-1: http://morebeer.com/products/cbc1-11g.html

What I do is add some nuts in during the mash and some during flameout. Works pretty good. I'm going to be doing two batches of my Pecan Ale. The first I will be trying 1/2 lb in the mash and 1 lb at flameout. I'll adjust the second batch if I am not getting enough flavor, but this is already double what I've done in the past, so I think it's going to turn out wonderful!
 

PaulF

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If you soak the nuts in vodka it will clean them up nicely. Plus the alcohol will dissolve left over oils and convert them into flavor. I have done this twice with my Almond Porter. Most recently I added 1 lb of crushed roasted almonds (got a 1lb bag of whole roasted plain almonds from Trader Joes and crushed them with a meat tenderizer), added to a large mason jar lined with a hop sock, and covered with vodka. I let that sit for two weeks while the beer fermented. When I racked to the keg, I added the extract to the keg first, then added the hop sock full of almonds, and then the rest of the beer. It's done conditioning now and I'll soon line transfer the beer to a fresh keg after racking off the sediment.

If you're concerned about adding a spirit to your beer, you could always boil off the alcohol from the liquid after it is flavored. I've never done this because it just occurred to me. However I've never noticed the added alcohol in this beer, by volume it's only 10oz of vodka and most of that is absorbed by the almonds.

Any subsequent nut beers in my brewery will be brewed this way.
 
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