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When To Add Lime Zest/Juice to a cream ale

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Gustatorian

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Brewed a cream ale last thursday (3/9/17) from Conn/Beechum's "Homebrew Allstars" and it called for adding Lime Zest/Juice in the secondary. It's fermenting away in a conical – just looking for some input on when exactly I should add the zest/juice.

Here's the caveat: I'm leaving town from 3/15-3/21. Should I hit the beer with the zest/juice before I leave or after I get back...or does it matter?
 
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I've not done cream ale with lime, but I have a recipe I love for a Belgian double with orange zest. I've tried lots of methods on this beer. My favorite so far to really infuse the aroma into the beer is to use a tincture to extract the flavor, then hang the remaining zest in the corny keg. This has the benefit of sanitizing the zest in vodka as well. (If you don't keg, maybe you could try adding the tincture to the bottling bucket.)

My method for oranges is:

  • Zest 2-4 oranges 1 week before you are going to add them.
  • Put in a sealed jar with 1/2 cup (or to cover) of vodka.
  • Leave out at room temp until you add it.
If you prefer you can just add this at secondary at this point too. The vodka has most of the flavor in it already. If you want to try my keg method...

  • Pour the mixture into a voile or mesh bag over the mouth of the keg so the vodka runs in and you capture the zest.
  • Hang the bag up high on the dip tube. I used a sanitized plastic zip tie. This will allow it to soak in the beer until you drink enough to drop below the level of the bag.
  • Then purge the keg and rack on top of the tincture as you normally would.
I've used the tincture method many times. The hanging in the keg thing is something new. I've only tried it once, but I am certainly going to be doing it again. The advantage seems to be both a flavor infusion and a great citrus aroma.
 
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Gustatorian

Gustatorian

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I've not done cream ale with lime, but I have a recipe I love for a Belgian double with orange zest. I've tried lots of methods on this beer. My favorite so far to really infuse the aroma into the beer is to use a tincture to extract the flavor, then hang the remaining zest in the corny keg. This has the benefit of sanitizing the zest in vodka as well. (If you don't keg, maybe you could try adding the tincture to the bottling bucket.)

My method for oranges is:

  • Zest 2-4 oranges 1 week before you are going to add them.
  • Put in a sealed jar with 1/2 cup (or to cover) of vodka.
  • Leave out at room temp until you add it.
If you prefer you can just add this at secondary at this point too. The vodka has most of the flavor in it already. If you want to try my keg method...

  • Pour the mixture into a voile or mesh bag over the mouth of the keg so the vodka runs in and you capture the zest.
  • Hang the bag up high on the dip tube. I used a sanitized plastic zip tie. This will allow it to soak in the beer until you drink enough to drop below the level of the bag.
  • Then purge the keg and rack on top of the tincture as you normally would.
I've used the tincture method many times. The hanging in the keg thing is something new. I've only tried it once, but I am certainly going to be doing it again. The advantage seems to be both a flavor infusion and a great citrus aroma.
This method sounds great for a Belgian dubbel with additives, but I'm thinking it may be too overpowering for a cream ale. I'm trying to get just a hint of lime flavor on the palate, closer to Bud Light Lime, rather than something more intense. I know, that's not exciting at all, but I'm brewing this beer for a party hosting a bunch of BMC drinkers...
 
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This method sounds great for a Belgian dubbel with additives, but I'm thinking it may be too overpowering for a cream ale.
Understood.

I've done the same beer about 8 times and tried a different approach each time. Each one gives it a different character.

When you find something that gives it a good balance let us know here.
 

day_trippr

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Just serve the beer with a plate of lime wedges and let the guests decide?

Cheers!
 
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