Using tea in beer is harder than I thought. I seem to forget that the first time I made a beer with chamomile, I did so with a team of people who knew what they were doing. Thus; the beer came our great.
This beer had a metallic hit at the end, which I’m assuming came from the tea. It has that medicine-y taint. This is despite my attempt to minimize the influence by adding the tea at flameout (when I stop boiling the wort) so I wouldn’t overboil the tea, which tends to produce off flavors.
However: a week later, when I offered this to a friend, he didn’t detect that metallic note. I had difficulty finding it too, suggesting that despite the appearance of being finished (carbonation is usually my ‘thumbs up’ sign) this beer needed just a liiiittle more time.
Brew Date: 6.8.13
1.5 lb 2 Row
.75 lb C120
Steeped for an hour
5 lb LME
.25 oz Glacier from Mild added in ‘pre’
1 oz Crystal @ 60
1 oz US Hallertaur @ 20
5/8th oz Chamomile tea blend @ -5
(Added after flameout)
Yeast: Wyeast 1010-American Wheat
The first is the second incarnation of the chamomile beer that I made this year. Remembering to include the toasted oats this time was wise but even with that, the chamomile tea was overwhelming. I just need to cut back on that ingredient. It’s potent.
I am starting to think that adding tea to most beers is something that needs to be done with a softer touch. Previously I wasn’t getting much flavor from the tea but overdoing it makes for a beer that is less drinkable, even when it has come out without any other flaws. Better note taking and a lighter hand may improve this adjunct, all in all.
That aside: the oats gave this beer a bit more body and a touch of sweetness to help keep the chamomile from running away with everything, as it did with the last beer. Good stuff but I need to make it much earlier in the year so it matches the warmer weather.
The second is a red ale and it’s really good. Vaguely fruity nose but a nice malty flavor overall. Not too heavy; the kind of beer I could give to someone in nearly any situation and they would find it acceptable, if not excellent.
There is a quirk: the finish has a slightly sour touch to it. I believe this is from the yeast. One of the benefits of the yeast experiment was that I got to try an ale with Wyeast’s Denny’s Favorite. There was a similar aftertaste, as though the beer was barely starting on the sour ale journey-a hint but no more- and I think this will be good information to have for the future, because it could be an interesting addition to certain ales.
The bad? This is one of my ‘lost’ recipes, missed in the laptop crash of ’12. I suspect the Denny’s Favorite yeast but I can’t actually provide evidence of it.
Every year I take a crack at a chamomile wit and this year’s batch didn’t quite turn out the way I hoped. This is because I forgot to add in the toasted oats that would help give this beer some body and a little more roundness/sweetness.
So what I have now is more of an alcohol chamomile tea, meant to be served cold. It’s not bad but I can’t really call it a success, since I forgot ingredients.
Still, in some ways this beer epitomizes the ‘don’t worry, have a homebrew’ attitude that home brewers are encourage to have. This beer isn’t bad, and sure it didn’t turn out quite like it was supposed to but I can drink it, learn from it and move on.
What also captures this idea is that my laptop has crashed and burned and I no longer have access to the recipe that I made this with. It’s one of maybe three recipes I’ve lost in between backups. Not so bad but…I don’t have as much to tell you as I might otherwise. I managed to get one recipe copied before the computer died but the rest seem to be lost. Ah well: I have the backups.
Fortunately for me, the beer has come out pretty well. I have even more confidence than usual, telling this to the audience because I took some of these brews to the OBC picnic on Sunday and most everybody dug them. Lots of chamomile though, which is to be expected and was both the prime criticism and acclaim about this beer.
I deliberately have been going overboard on this year’s batches of Chamomile Wit, because I’ve been dissatisfied with the presence of tea flavors in previous years. Plus, I have an overabundance of tea around my house and it is just sitting there waiting for me to kick out the jams on this beer.
Here’s the recipe:
13 oz Oats
1 lb Gambrious Pils
7 lb LME
Hops + extras:
1 oz N. Brewer @ 60
.5 oz Nugget @30
@ 5 min added:
1/4 tsp correander
1/8 tsp grains of paradise
1/2 tsp bitter orange
3/4 tsp orange peel
2.5 oz Chamomile tea
I cocked up getting my gravity readings so that’s not much help. I can tell you I added 1/4 tsp of bread yeast to my bottling sugar and it’s worked out nicely.