Quantcast

Brewing with Cedar

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Benjibbad

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2009
Messages
311
Reaction score
1
Location
Riverview, FL
A local Brewery (Cigar City Brewing) has been gracious enough to pass me some of their cedar used in their humidor series beers. My next step is determining what to brew. I have tried their Humidor IPA so far and damn was that good. But I want to do a style that can really bring it out.

Anyone have some suggestions??
 

JuanKenobi

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2009
Messages
384
Reaction score
5
Location
Martha's Vineyard
I'm glad to hear that there is someone out there using cedar commercially. I've been pondering using it for a while now. I used to work with a lot of cedar in a wooden boat shop and love the smell of the stuff. Do you know what their process is like? I'd assume they probably toast it to some degree. I was thinking it might go well in a toasty English brown ale. I'd be nice to get some insight into how much to use, contact time, etc. I'm guessing that being a soft wood that it would impart flavor rather quickly. I hope someone with experience can chime in.
 

wendelgee2

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2008
Messages
324
Reaction score
3
Location
New York, NY
I've been slowly looking into this too...seems like a perfect fit for a unique IPA.
This blog post was interesting:
http://tapirtantrum.com/2009/04/12/testing-exotic-woods-whiskey/

They got various woods from Maine Grilling Woods and dunked them in bourbon for a while to see what sort of flavor they impart. They toasted the wood in a toaster oven first.

They didn't love the cedar so much:
9. White Cedar
You know that cedar chest that your grandma has? Your beer can taste just like that. I found the cedar to be bitter and tannic, with a hint of buttery. Amanda thought it had the most strongly imbued wood character.

The hickory sounds interesting:
2. Downeast Hickory
The hickory had a rich wood flavor that I really enjoyed. Amanda wrote that it was not as sweet as the oak, with strong evergreen and floral notes. Also she said it tasted a bit like paint thinner.
 

CigarCityBrew

New Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2009
Messages
2
Reaction score
1
Location
Tampa
The cedar we use at Cigar City Brewing is cigar box cedar, known as Cedrela or Spanish Cedar. The important thing about it is that it isn't a cedar and it isn't from Spain. It's a mahogany from South America. It does smell a bit like true American cedars, but the flavors it imparts are different.
 
OP
B

Benjibbad

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2009
Messages
311
Reaction score
1
Location
Riverview, FL
From the conversation I had with one of the brewers (can't remember name) but I believe the Humidor Bolita Brown, has the cedrela added in the keg. Since I am not a kegger, I was going to add it to secodary, but the question is which one to do it with. I have a few solid recipies that I would be interested in tinkering with. Maybe If any of the Cigar Brewers have some time, I can bring some samples by and we can talk beer.

Good to see cigar city on here finally! I loved the Humidor Jai Lai and am currently drinking a Vanilla Maduro Brown. You guys rock!
 

CigarCityBrew

New Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2009
Messages
2
Reaction score
1
Location
Tampa
From the conversation I had with one of the brewers (can't remember name) but I believe the Humidor Bolita Brown, has the cedrela added in the keg. Since I am not a kegger, I was going to add it to secodary, but the question is which one to do it with. I have a few solid recipies that I would be interested in tinkering with. Maybe If any of the Cigar Brewers have some time, I can bring some samples by and we can talk beer.

Good to see cigar city on here finally! I loved the Humidor Jai Lai and am currently drinking a Vanilla Maduro Brown. You guys rock!

Adding to secondary is fine. As far as which beer to do it to it really depends. We've put it in just about every beer we make. IPA, Northern English Brown Ale, Double Northern English Brown Ale, Imperial Stout and others. It does different things to different beers. It brings forward grapefruit in IPA's, but adds sandalwood and rye-like spice notes. It makes Northern Brown Ales taste a bit like spicy hopped American brown Ales.

My answer would be to try it in a few different ones. In fact if you want and can get the really thin cigar box inserts, just add it to a bottle from each batch you make and see how it goes with that style.
 

rockgeek

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2010
Messages
14
Reaction score
0
Location
Portland
My wife distills essential oils so I have a lot of byproduct around in the form of hydrosols, ie condensed water saturated with particular parts of the essential oil... she distills a number of evergreens including cedar. I've been trying to figure out some way to include in one of my brews... been thinking of a cedar stout or porter but it sounds like most here are talking about using the wood chips. Any thoughts or experience using hydrosols or oils of any sort?
 

Dauntless

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2009
Messages
83
Reaction score
2
Location
Quebec city
You could probably add those essences at bottling time or even in individual bottles. If the oils are volatile they could lose some of their flavour if added during fermentation or conditioning.
 

ArcaneXor

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2007
Messages
4,502
Reaction score
130
Nice to have Cigar City on board. Wayne gave me a Spanish Cedar spiral last year, and I have been playing around with adding it to my beers ever since. I think it works wonderfully with Simcoe hops in a moderate gravity IPA! But I've also done crazy things like thrown a piece of it into the primary of a wheat beer even before pitching the Belgian yeast, which turned out wonderfully as well - very complex!
I think Spanish Cedar is a better match for many beer styles than oak is.
 

TBaGZ

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
Messages
551
Reaction score
32
Location
Estero
Nice to have Cigar City on board. Wayne gave me a Spanish Cedar spiral last year, and I have been playing around with adding it to my beers ever since. I think it works wonderfully with Simcoe hops in a moderate gravity IPA! But I've also done crazy things like thrown a piece of it into the primary of a wheat beer even before pitching the Belgian yeast, which turned out wonderfully as well - very complex!
I think Spanish Cedar is a better match for many beer styles than oak is.
How many batches were you able to get out of the spirals before they lost their flavor/aroma? I am looking to pick up a couple, but at $15 I am hoping to get more than one use out of them. Also, how did you treat/store them after using it?
 

ArcaneXor

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2007
Messages
4,502
Reaction score
130
I haven't brewed with them in a while, but I used half a spiral per batch, then froze them for re-use. Thawed them in StarSan solution. I only reused them once.
 

alane1

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2012
Messages
931
Reaction score
259
Location
South East Massachusetts
I worked in a wood shop and we used a lot of cedar, there's a reason why people use it to deter insects...because it's caustic and toxic at certain levels. Cedar dust gave me nose bleeds, I would use lightly... if at all!!!
 

Schol-R-LEA

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Mar 2, 2013
Messages
529
Reaction score
100
Location
Athens
Why am I reminded of the exchange in the 'Iron Chef Py-rate' part of Tom Smith's song, "Talk Like a Pirate Day"?
Announcer: And you! What are you doing with that salmon?

Contestant: I'm grillin' it on a hunk of cedar, what do you think I'm doing...

Announcer: You can't do that in a Japanese stir-fry, you bilge rat!

Contestant: Oh-ho, you never heard of Wokking the Plank?
 

DrWill

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2010
Messages
319
Reaction score
47
alane1 said:
I worked in a wood shop and we used a lot of cedar, there's a reason why people use it to deter insects...because it's caustic and toxic at certain levels. Cedar dust gave me nose bleeds, I would use lightly... if at all!!!
This was my first thought as well. I have pet rats, and one shouldn't use cedar bedding because of the oils which are bad for the critters.
 

progmac

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2012
Messages
1,878
Reaction score
281
Location
Cincy
My buddy makes a cedar ipa with cedar bitters. Very unique and tasty
 

ArcaneXor

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2007
Messages
4,502
Reaction score
130
Keep in mind that Cigar City uses Spanish Cedar. I don't know enough about wood to know if that's significantly different from regular cedar, but I use the spirals from the Barrel Mill, which is the same product the brewery uses.
 

DrWill

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2010
Messages
319
Reaction score
47
ArcaneXor said:
Keep in mind that Cigar City uses Spanish Cedar. I don't know enough about wood to know if that's significantly different from regular cedar, but I use the spirals from the Barrel Mill, which is the same product the brewery uses.
IIRC he said that Spanish Cedar is actually a South American Mahogany. I'm sure he wouldn't use it if it weren't perfectly safe and awesome.
 

zmanzorro

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2010
Messages
1,036
Reaction score
208
Location
Dallas
Jester King uses cedar in their El Cedro. I don't know anything about their processes but it really comes out in it. The base for it is a hoppy pale farmhouse ale. The bright hopiness compliments the cedar really well.
 

TBaGZ

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
Messages
551
Reaction score
32
Location
Estero
I haven't brewed with them in a while, but I used half a spiral per batch, then froze them for re-use. Thawed them in StarSan solution. I only reused them once.
So you put a half spiral in a 5g batch? Did it give you a really noticeable flavor/aroma? Did you do anything to clean them before you froze them?
 

ArcaneXor

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2007
Messages
4,502
Reaction score
130
Nope, straight from the fermentor into a sanitized FoodSaver bag.

The flavor and aroma are quite pronounced, even with half a spiral.
 

TBaGZ

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
Messages
551
Reaction score
32
Location
Estero
ArcaneXor said:
Nope, straight from the fermentor into a sanitized FoodSaver bag.

The flavor and aroma are quite pronounced, even with half a spiral.
When you say half a spiral what are you talking for length? My spirals are only 8" long to begin with. Instructions that came with them say one 8" spiral per 3 gallons.
 

TheDudeLebowski

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2009
Messages
5,983
Reaction score
8,451
Location
Mass
Just to add extra info to the thread, I had porter that was aged on cedrela and Japanese Sugi at a local brewpub. It was really good. Here's their description:

http://cambridgebrewing.com/beer/seasonal/

Darkest Night is a dark beer with garnet highlights, aged on Spanish and Japanese “cedar” woods. Spanish cedrela (Cedrela odorata) is a lightweight, fragrant wood most often used in the production of cigar boxes, in outdoor construction and paneling, and in the manufacture of guitars. Japanese Sugi wood (Cryptomeria japonica) is endemic to Japan and has many uses from incense, to tanks and barrels for fermenting and aging sake, to the construction of Japan’s myriad temples. Neither are technically members of the cedar family, but both display fragrant similarities to American red and white cedars.
 

Latest posts

Top