How to add this delicate ingredient?

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TheRussMeister

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In eastern North America there is a plant known as Lindera benzoin, or northern spicebush or other common names. When the leaves and twigs are broken, they give off a lovely fresh citrusy lemony goodness that is different from both citrus leaves or citrus fruits.

Like many other homebrewers discovering nice smelling/tasting things in the natural world, I want to add it to beer.

So, how should I do so? I have made teas at various temperatures that tastes like a citrusy green tea by themselves. Do you think adding as a tea is a good idea? Or should I toss them whole in the boil/ferment/keg?

Also, if I want to discover how exactly these flavors and/or scents will work in beer, what recipes would work well when trying to experiment with a delicate ingredient such as this. Furthermore, although this is a stretch, anyone have any idea about how much I would add. I think people who have used citrus leaves could provide some help here. Hope to hear some advice soon. Thanks.

Cheers.
 

motorneuron

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The standard way to do this, I think, is experimenting. Make teas or tinctures (that is, with alcohol) and taste them both on their own and mixed with beer. (You can do this with a commercial beer or your own homebrew.) A tea will give you an idea of how the thing will taste if added to the boil; a cold tea, i.e. a prolonged (24h+) steep at room temperature, will give you an idea of how "dry hopping" will be. Find the method you like best on its own, and then see how those flavors work in beer.

Unless someone else has done it and knows what level to use, I guess I would just experiment with different ratios. You can try mixing it with a few different lighter commercial beers--a lighter but not-too-hoppy lager, pale ale, and saison, maybe, to see what works well with the delicate taste.

Last question: you're 100% confident it's safe, and in any amount, to consume?
 
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TheRussMeister

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Yeah, that's what I figured, experimentation, but I was hoping others had experience with citrus leaves. Oh darn, looks like I have to brew a bunch more, too bad...

I have made many teas, its great just to drink on its own, never made any cold teas though, nor tinctures. I am thinking the best place would be knockout just based on my current experience with the leaves. Dosing beers may be a nice idea. I did some experimentation with spruce tips just using a basic beer with just 2-row and those worked out pretty well, very clean, easy to get the spruce taste. However, those are significantly more powerful than these leaves, and I think the little amount of Hallertauer and Tettanager I used may dominate the delicate flavors.

Yes, I know it is 100% safe. It's not a new additive, its been used for many years by the Native Americans, I have done my research. Although, like most other wild, local ingredients (at least from the Ethanobotany research I have done), it can also be used as a abortifacient! Hooray! It is also listed as a blood cleaner too, which is a plus, yet another reason to put this in beer.
 
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