Friday, January 31, 2014

Tinctures and Extracts

Every so often I'll have a beer that blows me away with some flavor I didn't think was possible in a beer.  I'm talking about beers like Pumking, No Crusts, Cucumber Saison that are focused on a flavor and absolutely nail it on the head.  I'm drinking a liquid PB&J when I'm having No Crusts and sipping pureed cucumber when having CCB's Cuc Saison.  I've wondered how they put these flavors in their beers because I've tried a PB&J beer that didn't work and I've tried fruits in beers which have only had minimal impacts.

After wondering about it for a little while, I wondered if these guys are using extracts to get these flavors.  I recently found out that CCB uses an all natural cucumber extract type of addition to get their cucumber flavor that's obtained by distilling fresh fruit in a proprietary process.  I can't do that, nor can I buy the same product because it is only available at a commercial level so I need to find another alternative.  I stumbled on a few thread online that talked about tinctures and extracts that were successful by combining the ingredients with some cheap vodka for extended periods.  The ethanol in the vodka was able to extract these good flavors out and you have a concentrated extract.  I'm going to try a few different tinctures and see what happens.

I'm thinking that if I add a little bit of some different ingredients in a sanitized beer bottle and then add some vodka and cap it, I should have a nice container that I can throw in a cabined and forget about.


Vanilla beans
Fruit zest (lime, lemon or orange)
Coffee (different roasts?)
Berries (would raspberries concentrate in the vodka solution?)
Hops (I have a ton of citra available, why not throw it in a bottle)

I'll get these set up when I begin brewing again and maybe try some stout variations out or add to an IPA to get fresh hop flavor or citrus zests to a berliner!

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