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You are here: Home --> Forum Home --> Brewing Forum --> Brewing Discussion --> My experience of Using Tea in Beer

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I have been doing the odd tea beer for about the last 18 months with hit and miss success. More success as of recent. As with any flavoring in beer you will need to think of a recipe that will complement and highlight the flavours you are trying to showcase.

For this post I will walk through my Red Rooibos amber ale. I originally brewed this for my dad because he absolutely LOVES rooibos tea.

70% Maris Otter 10% Flaked Oats 5% Mid high range Crystal (60-90L) 5% Amber malt 10% Local Buckwheat Honey

All the malts are from the UK. I prefer Thomas Fawcett as they have a great nutty and bready flavour. They buckwheat honey is used for the malty/molasses like tastes that IMO go perfectly with beer. With my malt bill I was trying to make something that resembled biscotti (the perfect dunking treat with rooibos). The honey should be added at the end of the boil. SG prior to honey addition is 1.050. Target after honey is ~1.060. Honey sugar content varies from bottle to bottle.

For the hop bill we use 1 charge at 60 min of centennial @ 10 AA to get an IBU of 20. We then use another charge of the same size at 15 min to add another 7-8 IBU. Centennial is only used because it is my father flavor preference in amber ales. a lot of teas add bitterness usually so lowish IBU is a good idea.

Adding tea: There are many ways to get the tea flavour into beer. Boil/flameout steeping, dry "hopping", adding liquid tea during/after boil/when packaging. For this rooibos ale we Use a HALF pound at flameout of tea leaves. We let it sit for 5 min before removing. Keep the tea leaves and freeze them. They still have use!

We cool, transfer and ferment with US-05 to showcase the rooibos flavour. S-04 also is great. I am planning on doing a dunkel wheat beer and using 3068 as I feel banana and clove would be great with rooibos as well. Ferment at 68-72.

When packaging I make a tea and use honey as my priming sugar. For making the priming solution I use 50g of rooibos and enough honey to get 500 ml of SG 1.125.

It is important to remember how delicate tea leaves are. They also cause a MESS if not contained. The flavours can be muted quite a bit if they are subject to heat for too long. The flavour can also become extremely pungent and make the beer undrinkable.

Other tea xBmts have been a green tea westcoast IPA, lavender oak aged blond ale and a black tea blond ale.

When formulating a recipe make some tea and cool it. Is the tea good when cold? If so start to blend with a base beer you have. How does that taste? Think of what you want to achieve. I like to make mine taste more tea than beer usually. You may want it as a subtle accent.

I would recommend starting with a low amount during boil. If more flavour is desired you can dry hop or make an intensely strong tea as your priming solution.

For selecting a tea head to a local small tea shop. Not davids tea or other big brands as those employees usually do not have the knowledge/interest as a local small business owner does. Chat with the shop! Bring them some finished product. My local shop "trades" discounts for bottles. They will more than likely be excited to hear you want to use their products. They can help select the right one and tell you how to use it.

Tea beer is great around a fire in the winter or on a beach in the summer!

Hope this helps and inspires some of you to adventure into tea brews.

Posted 34 days ago.

314 Posts

Nice. Yes tea can work very well. I like some Lapsang in my Alt's for just that touch of smoke. Earl Grey works well too, but bergamot oils is easier to work with.  Mate, not really tea, can give a nice touch in a light sour.
Many brewers shy away from tannins, yet many beers need some tannins otherwise they become "slick". Even a Helles can use quite a bit to get the proper mouthfeel. High alpha hops have caused that misery, tea can help and add that extra bit.

Posted 34 days ago.

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