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Elderberry Stout

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biberbauer

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I'm thinking about doing an Elderberry Stout my first off-the-wall experimentation sort of brew. How potent are elderberries in brewing? Would a pound of berries in 5 gallons be overpowering? Thanks

-Biber
 

maoru

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Elderberry, like plum, can be an alternative to red wine grapes, in wine making. Natives to mexico made elderberry wine, well actually they made alcohol out of everything. I have never used elderberry in beer, but I can tell you it will be stronger than most fruit in flavor.

Then again, stout is a strong flavor that may be good with a strong companion flavor, I mean if you can't taste it what's the use right?

If I had a pound of fresh elderberry, I'd use the whole thing in the stout, and leave the skins behind for secondary fermentation.

Let me know how it turns out.
 
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biberbauer

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Since we're still in winter (I'm not an elderberry specialist, but I have a hunch the harvest was quite a while ago), do you think it might be possible to rehydrate dried elderberries? Is rehydration as simple as it sounds?
 

DiscoFetus

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biberbauer said:
Since we're still in winter (I'm not an elderberry specialist, but I have a hunch the harvest was quite a while ago), do you think it might be possible to rehydrate dried elderberries? Is rehydration as simple as it sounds?
Soak them in water for a half hour or until plump. You could also soak them in elderberry wine to heighten those flavors before use. If you are putting them into a mash no rehydration would be needed (at least I think).

Either way, I think you have something good brewing here. Grains would have to be adjusted to match flavors, but yeah! Let us know how it comes out!
 
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biberbauer

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Right now, I'm trying to figure out if I would put them in the boil or not (as a puree near the end). Since elderberries are supposedly mildly poisonous (!) raw, I'm trying to figure out a possible way to safely incorporate them into the brew without creating any chemical haze (I've read that boiling fruits in the wort tends to create some sort of haze. Anyone know anything about this?).

A couple elderberry wine recipes that I've read say to rehydrate the berries with boiling water, then to juice them, and boil the juice. I reckon this would do the same sort of hazing that putting it in the wort would do? Is it a good idea to use the fruit skins in the secondary? Any ideas?

-Biber

EDIT: "There are reports of gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and weakness after drinking elderberry juice made from crushed leaves, stems and uncooked elderberries. Notably, the berries must be cooked to prevent nausea or cyanide toxicity." yikes! talk about a risky brew!
 

mdf191

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I have had elderberries in several kinds of drinks. Elderberry stout being one of them. A local brew pub brews a batch every winter. The taste of the berries in their stout is very mild. I am not sure how much they use, but I think I would have a liberal hand if I used them.
 
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biberbauer

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mdf191 said:
I have had elderberries in several kinds of drinks. Elderberry stout being one of them. A local brew pub brews a batch every winter. The taste of the berries in their stout is very mild. I am not sure how much they use, but I think I would have a liberal hand if I used them.
I shot an email to the owner/brewer of Otto's Pub & Brewery to ask him a few questions about how they use elderberries in making their brew. (Is that the pub you're referring to?)

From the reviews I've seen on beeradvocate, it sounds pretty tasty.

I wonder:
Should I use a standard irish stout recipe and just add the elderberries into it, or should I compensate for the berries with a stronger body? Ideas?

Thanks for all the comments. I really appreciate it.

-Biber
 
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biberbauer

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Alright, I finally got around to getting the ingredients (and time) to put this brew into action. I'm about halfway into the boil right now. I ended up ordering the AHS Coffee Malt Stout kit for simplicity's sake, and I'm just going to wing-it as far as the elderberries go. Here's the current plan:

# 1.75 lbs. Marris Otter Pale Malt
# 0.75 lbs. Coffee Malt
# 0.25 lbs. 40L Crystal Malt
# 0.125lbs. Black (Patent) Malt
# 0.125lbs. Black Roasted Barley
# 0.5 lbs. Malto Dextrin
# 2.0 lbs. Amber Liquid Malt Extract
# 4.0 lbs. Dark Liquid Malt Extract
# 1.0 oz. Galena Hop Pellets (Bittering, 60 min, 13.1% AA)
# White Labs London Ale 013 Liquid Pitchable Tube Yeast
# 2 oz. Dehydrated elderberries (15 minutes before the end of boil)
# 1 oz. Dehydrated elderberries (rehydrated/boiled then added to secondary)

Thoughts on adding them to the secondary? I'll taste the wort before I pitch and see how it tastes, I suppose. From what I've figured out, 1oz dried ~ 6oz fresh, so I'm trying not to overdo it.

Suggestions appreciated!

-biber

EDIT: After trying the wort, the hint of elderberry taste is almost like an after-aftertaste. It's very faint, but it sticks to the palate.
 

zoebisch01

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Resurrecting this. I just picked 2 1/2 pounds ripe Elderberries, thoughts on amounts? I have never used Elderberry for anything, but I was up on my mountain and found them, I did find another (wasn't ripe yet) and there is probably more. I was thinking a Stout, Otto's Elderberry Stout is very good...but I dunno yet.
 

ericd

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I've never tasted elderberries but one time I made a blueberry mead with 1lb fruit/1 gallon mead added at BOTTLING and you could barely taste them. So be pretty liberal with them I say.
 

Ooompa Loompa

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Never even had an elderberry before, but when I made my raspberry porter I used 3 lbs raspberries in 5 gallons of beer. The flavor was really strong at first but after about a month and a half the flavors really came together well and it had a nice very noticable, but not overpowering raspberry flavor. I'd say use all 2.5 lbs for a 5 gallon batch.
 

zoebisch01

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I am wondering if 2.5 lbs will be enough. Maybe I'll freeze it until I have 5 lbs.
 
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biberbauer

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Sorry for the late response--I meant to post my results ages ago. I was pretty pleased with my batch with the few (dried) ounces I used. The flavor wasn't extremely prominent, but there was a bite to it. If I did it again, I'd probably use 50-60% more, but I'm not sure how strong of a flavor you're looking to impart. If you're interested, I blogged a little about it, but I'm not sure how useful it'd be. Good luck!

EDIT: the dried ounce numbers I've seen in recipes are about 1/6 to 1/8 the fresh amounts in comparable recipes. I might've already noted that somewhere, but I figured it'd be worth repeating.
 
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