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Coriander Leaf / Cilantro

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 herbs 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 coriander leaf / cilantro to express your own brewing creativity and make a beer that is uniquely yours. Cilantro is one of several herb flavors that you can use to custom-tailor the flavor profile of your brew.

When designing a beer recipe that will include coriander leaf / cilantro you must carefully consider the malt, hops, and yeast base that will best complement this specialty ingredient. When brewing with herbs, many brewers choose a strong malt base, with bittering hops only. By avoiding the addition of aroma hops, this allows the added herbs to complement, and not conflict with the beer's other ingredients.

What it is:

Cilantro, also know as coriander, is an herb found in North Africa, southern Europe and southwestern Asia. The fresh leaves have a flavor with citrus notes. The leaves are used in Indian, Thai, and Chinese cuisine. The seeds pf this plant are also used as a spice.

Dosage:

The amount of coriander leaf / cilantro needed for brewing can vary depending on the source and your desired flavor. For a 5 gallon batch, try 1-2 ounces of chopped coriander leaf / cilantro. Remove any unwanted parts of the plant. Wash and rinse in cold water, strain, then add to the secondary fermenter. By adding during secondary fermentation well after the wort boil, you ensure that the delicate coriander leaf / cilantro aromas will survive to be detectable in your finished beer. The concept is similar to dry-hopping. Finding the right amount of coriander leaf / cilantro 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.

Preparation:

Cilantro should not be added during the boil, as the heat may cause a distortion of the flavor that you are trying to add.

Drawbacks:

Use fresh cilantro to ensure the best flavor and aroma impact on your beer. Just as cooking with fresh herbs 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 coriander leaf / cilantro. You should be able to obtain it in your local specialty grocery store or shop.

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Coriander Leaf / Cilantro