Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bonkers for Basil Brew

A while back I mentioned that I was interested in trying my hand at another basil brew. Well, I made time today to actually make that happen.

You have a couple of options when brewing with herbs. The big three are 1) add herbs at 5 minutes left in the boil, 2) add herbs at flameout, or 3) create a vodka/herb potion and add at bottling time. The last basil pale ale I brewed several years ago was good, but I felt that the basil flavor faded in to a medicinal taste after a few weeks. This may just be the natural progression of things, but this time I did a few things to try to prevent the "medicinal" taste. First, instead of slicing and dicing up the basil, which can release a whole host of tastes, I froze the whole basil leaves the night before. I've been told that this helps to release the natural oils in the basil leaves without busting out things like chlorophyll (more like bora-phyll). Any truth to this story??? No idea, I'll keep you posted. Additionally, I figured that adding the herbs at flameout involved less boiling and hopefully would minimize any harsh flavors extracted from the basil leaves. I may create a vodka-basil potion (nothing complicated here, 1) add herbs to vodka, 2) let sit for a week, and 3) Add to beer until you've reached the desired taste) if the basil flavor and aroma is not pronounced enough.

The following is the final recipe I put together (I use iBrewmaster to keep track of my recipes and batches, nice software, but the copy and pasting into blogger is only so-so):

Belgian Basil Pale Ale
Style: Belgian Pale Ale
Type: All Grain Calories: 192
Rating: 0.0 Efficiency: 75 %
IBU's: 41.43 Boil Size: 5.83 Gal
Color: 8.2 SRM Batch Size: 5.00 Gal
Boil Time: 60 minutes
Estimated Actual
Brew Date: - 09/18/2011
OG: 1.059 1.060
FG: 1.013 -
ABV: 6.03 % - %
Serve Date: 10/22/2011 / /

Fermentation Steps
Name Days / Temp Estimated Actual
Primary 14 days @ 74.0°F 09/18/2011 09/18/2011
Secondary 21 days @ 72.0°F 10/01/2011 -

Grains & Adjuncts
Amount Percentage Name Time Gravity
7.00 lbs 70.00 % Dingemans Pale Ale 60 mins 1.037
1.00 lbs 10.00 % Dingemans Pale Wheat 60 mins 1.038
1.00 lbs 10.00 % Honey Malt 60 mins 1.037
1.00 lbs 10.00 % Turbinado 60 mins 1.044

Amount IBU's Name Time AA %
1.50 ozs 25.80 Goldings, East Kent 60 mins 5.00
1.50 ozs 15.63 Goldings, East Kent 20 mins 5.00

Amount Name Laboratory / ID
1.0 pkg Belgian Golden Ale White Labs (null)

Amount Name Time Stage
8.00 oz Malto-Dextrine 15 mins Boil

Mash Profile
Medium Body Infusion In 60 min @ 152.0°F
Add 13.50 qt ( 1.50 qt/lb ) water @ 166.4°F
Sparge 16.50 qt of 175.0°F water over 60 mins

Amount Type Beer Temp CO2 Vols
8.1 psi Force Carbonation 38.0°F 2.20

Freeze 1.3 ounces of fresh basil.

Add basil to pot at flameout

Nothing is more full of promise than your next batch of beer,


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