Enjoy the beer that you deserve.
What it does :
Remember that, for many of the centuries people have been brewing beer, the exclusive use of hops to balance beer's malty base is relatively recent. Brewers have long added special flavorings like spices to make unique brews, and that tradition continues today. The craft brewing and homebrewing movements provide daily examples of this inventiveness. If you are reading this, you are likely looking to broaden your beer and brewing palate. You can make use of fennel to express your own brewing creativity and make a beer that is uniquely yours. Fennel can provide a comparable, but not as sweet, anise-like flavor to beer reminiscent of licorice. Porters and stouts are good base styles for experimentation with this spice.
When designing a beer recipe that will include fennel you must carefully consider the malt, hops, and yeast base that will best complement this specialty ingredient. When brewing with spices, many brewers choose a strong malt base, with bittering hops only. By avoiding the addition of aroma hops, this allows the added spices to complement, and not conflict with the beer's other ingredients.
What it is:
Fennel is the seed of a perennial plant long grown in India and Chnia. It is widely used in Italian and Central European cuisine. It has a sweet flavor similar to anise. Fennel is available whole or as a ground seed.
Use up to 1 teaspoon of fennel per 5 gallons. Add 10 to 15 minutes from the end of the boil. Similar to hop additions, the length of boil will adjust the flavor versus aroma contribution of the spice. By boiling the spice longer, the aromatics are driven off, and the flavor contribution is enhanced. Finding the right amount of fennel to use will depend on your particular recipe and your vision for your beer. As always, keep good records of each beer that you make, be willing to experiment, and you will converge on the ingredient mix that yields the flavor and aroma result that you like best.
Use fresh fennel to ensure the best flavor and aroma impact on your beer. Just as cooking with fresh spices makes your culinary dishes taste superior, so will using the same quality of ingredients to your beer. So, for that extra impact on your finished brew, reach for fresh fennel. You should be able to obtain it in your local specialty grocery store or shop.
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