In my first meeting of my new homebrew club, the Cheshire Brew Crew I was invited to take part in their recipe roulette competition against the Liverpool homebrewers. Keen to give it a go I signed up straight away.
The concept was to draw from a hat one ingredient and one hop which you had to use in your beer. Any style,strength and ingredients were completely up for grabs with the only requirement being that the final beer tasted like your randomly assigned ingredient.
My hop was a good choice – Amarillo which I’m a big fan of and have used plenty of times. My ingredient not so much. I managed to pick Star Anise which I’ll be honest, I wasn’t even sure what it was.
After a little bit of research it turns out Star Anise is a spice which imparts an aniseed taste. They also look like stars which is pretty cool. I had no idea how I was going to get aniseed into a beer, pair it with the orange of Amarillo and make it taste nice. The most experience I’ve had with aniseed is in Sambuca, which I hate, so things weren’t looking good.
In true cop out mode I decided a stout would be a good base style to hide the aniseed flavour in. The chocolate of a stout could pair well with the orange of Amarillo and the aniseed (as long as it was at least noticeable) might provide an interesting note in the beer. Or so I told myself.
My recipe was as follows;
Beer Name: Brew Crew Competition Stout
Date brewed: 16.02.2017
Est. OG: 1.068
Est. FG: 1.017
Est. ABV: 6.71%
Est. IBU: 50.69
Brew Volume: 15 litres
3.5kg Maris Otter 78.3%
0.26kg American Chocolate 5.8%
0.22kg UK Roasted Barley 4.9%
0.22kg Rolled Oats 4.9%
0.14kg American Crystal 60L 3.1%
0.13kg Flaked Wheat 2.9%
15g Magnum @ 60 minutes for 35.81 IBU
30g Amarillo @ 10 minutes for 14.89 IBU
1 Star Anise at 10 minutes
Protafloc @ 10 minutes
I treated my water with 1.3g calcium sulfate and 6g of sodium bicarbonate and mashed into 16 litres at a temperature of 67c. After 60 minutes I raised the temperature to 75c for 10 minutes for a mash out.
Then I sparged with 6 litres of water at 75c and started the boil. Sadly I got distracted and boiled down to a gravity of 1.075 but I liquored back to 1.065.
Once I collected my wort I pitched 2 packs of Mangrove Jack’s New World Strong ale which should attenuate around 77-82%. After 5 days in the fermenter at 18c I added 8.4g of orange concentrate. I’d decided that I wanted to create a chocolate orange stout so I was hoping to make the citrus flavour stand out.
My final gravity reached 1.014 so my SG was 3 points low and my FG was 3 points low. Not too bad! I had an attenuation of 78%
Sadly I was ill on the day of the competition so all this effort kind of went for nothing. But here are my tasting notes on the beer regardless.
Aroma: Burnt toast, licorice and red wine. Malt character is prominent with some dark fruit possibly from the yeast. Aroma is not particularly powerful. Citrus comes through a little as the beer warms 7/12
Appearance: Thin, tan head which dissipates quickly. Deep black in colour with ruby tints. 1/3
Flavour: The burnt toast and red wine are prominent – some burnt coffee flavour comes through at the end. Not unpleasant or acrid but the burnt malt character dominates 14/20
Mouthfeel: Carbonation is low and and prickly. Beer is thick, full bodied and slick with a nice warming sensation but not hot 4/5
Overall Impression: A pleasant enough beer, though the special ingredients add very little and it missses the mark somewhat on flavour which is predominantly burnt and grainy with little to no chocolate or coffee. A pleasant warming sensation 6/10
Has anyone else tried star anise in a beer? How did it turn out? Let me know in the comments!
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