Brewing with Pecans

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Brewing with Pecans

Postby PhilG » Fri Nov 01, 2013 8:37 pm

Has anyone made a beer with pecans? I'm assuming any other nut the process would be the same.

I've read a number of different ways to do this, all involving roasting but some say to wick off the oils and others say to leave them since that contains the flavor. Most say to put them in the mash, others in the primary.

Some also said to add some oatmeal to help the head retention, I'm assuming because of the oils.

Thanks for comments and advise in advance.
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Re: Brewing with Pecans

Postby Bob Brews » Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:53 am

A few years back, a club member named Ray Hill was working on perfecting a beer with Pecans to sell via his commercial endeavor. I helped him a few times with the beer during some of his early attempts. Ray was grounding pecans right out of the package into small crumbs and putting them into the mash (I believe it was an amber ale base). As I recall, he used about a pound of nuts per 5 gallons, but that was many many years ago. He kept the hopping on the low side to try to showcase the nut flavor. In my opinion, the pecan flavor was always minimal but it was there. He never had any problem with head retention and did not use any oatmeal.
We also discussed putting the pecans into a jar and just covering them with grain alcohol and let it sit for a month prior to brewing. The alcohol will extract the pecan flavor and then the brewer can add the liquid to the finished beer until the proper pecan flavor is reached. I was never there to see if he did this version or not.
There is a commercial pecan ale out of Alabama or Mississippi that I have had. That beer was also an amber ale but too hoppy to really taste the nut.
Do a search on Ray Hill on facebook or on this web site. If you can get in touch with him, I am sure he can give you his true pointers.
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Re: Brewing with Pecans

Postby TCochran » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:21 am

Bob Brews wrote:A few years back, a club member named Ray Hill was working on perfecting a beer with Pecans to sell via his commercial endeavor. I helped him a few times with the beer during some of his early attempts. Ray was grounding pecans right out of the package into small crumbs and putting them into the mash (I believe it was an amber ale base). As I recall, he used about a pound of nuts per 5 gallons, but that was many many years ago. He kept the hopping on the low side to try to showcase the nut flavor. In my opinion, the pecan flavor was always minimal but it was there. He never had any problem with head retention and did not use any oatmeal.
We also discussed putting the pecans into a jar and just covering them with grain alcohol and let it sit for a month prior to brewing. The alcohol will extract the pecan flavor and then the brewer can add the liquid to the finished beer until the proper pecan flavor is reached. I was never there to see if he did this version or not.
There is a commercial pecan ale out of Alabama or Mississippi that I have had. That beer was also an amber ale but too hoppy to really taste the nut.
Do a search on Ray Hill on facebook or on this web site. If you can get in touch with him, I am sure he can give you his true pointers.


I wonder if this is the recipe Ferguson Brewery uses. They make a pecan brown ale.
Pecan Brown Ale – This American Style Brown Ale is brewed with pecans directly added to the mash. That, and six different malts is what gives this ale its distinctive nutty malty flavor.
ABV% 5.5..........OG: 13.9B°..........IBU: 30..........SRM: 18.7
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Re: Brewing with Pecans

Postby bmock » Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:06 pm

That's exactly the recipe, Tim. Ferguson was Hill's when it started, but Ray had to drop out. They kept the recipe.
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Re: Brewing with Pecans

Postby PhilG » Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:31 pm

I went with 3 15 minute roastings at 350 with about a 15 minute rest between on paper towels to absorb a little of the oils. I did chop them but not to the point of dust. I added them to the mash. When I put it into the primary you could taste pecan, not over powering but it was noticeable. I should know in about 3 weeks and post the results.

Thanks for the input.
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Re: Brewing with Pecans

Postby siwelwerd » Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:12 pm

Bob Brews wrote:There is a commercial pecan ale out of Alabama or Mississippi that I have had. That beer was also an amber ale but too hoppy to really taste the nut.


I think you are referring to Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan out of Mississippi. I think the pecans are a marketing gimmick mostly. They claim it's the first beer in the world made with pecans (hah).

I think you are on the right track with roasting and in the mash, Phil.
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Re: Brewing with Pecans

Postby SteveO » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:08 pm

One of my first beers was an attempt at a pecan pie porter that didn't turn out half bad.

I candied my pecans (brown sugar & cinnamon) in the oven. I secondaried it with some vanilla and while it tasted good, wasn't really sure I had enough pecan coming through.

I really should try it again now that I've "matured" the palate and have more sessions under the belt.
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Re: Brewing with Pecans

Postby PhilG » Thu Dec 05, 2013 6:58 pm

The nose is nice and nutty, but the taste is a little less than I had hoped for. I think the next time I'll up the pecans 50% and roast them just a bit longer. All in all I'll say it is a good baseline.
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Re: Brewing with Pecans

Postby JE » Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:56 am

Did you ever state what quantity you put in? How large of a batch? I could be blind and just missed this part...
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Re: Brewing with Pecans

Postby PhilG » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:29 pm

I used 1 pound for a 5 gallon batch.
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Re: Brewing with Pecans

Postby rsc3da » Sun Mar 23, 2014 6:54 pm

I'm making a cashew dark mild brew for GBS Iron Brewer, I am using a combination of roasting and adding to the mash and also making a tincture using Everclear, which I will add to taste prior to packaging. I will probably bring some or it to the spring picnic, if it's any good. From what I have read here it seems you didn't get as much flavor as you wanted from the pecans but you used quite a bit (1 lb), so that actually helped in my decision to go the alcohol extract route so thanks for that.
Kegged: CAH (Cider + Agave + Honey)
Lagering: -
Conditioning: RIS (BA Abraxas 2.0),Quad/Saison
Fermenting: Oktoberfest, Lambic
Plan: -
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