As more breweries pay attention to the growing popularity of nutty-flavored craft beers, the spike in one particular nut is hard not to notice. Pecans, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, is so sought after it has become the country’s third-favorite nut. It’s no surprise breweries heeded the signs and began crafting their versions of pecan enriched beers.
Pecan nuts can be ground into pecan flour. It delivers a gluten-free ingredient for your favorite baking recipes. Pecan meal is made from the flakes of finely chopped and crushed pecans. Not only can it be used the same way you would use pecan flour, but it can also be used for toppings and crusts. Pecan meal can be used as part of the grain bill or ingredient list for brewing beer as well.
Should I Roast Them First?
Pecans are so high in natural fats, proteins, and carbohydrates that they are around three-fourths pure nut oil. Drawing the oils to the surface by roasting or toasting them helps enhance the buttery, nutty flavor. This can make a delicious snack, however, when it comes to brewing beer it can be a long process.
Some recipes recommended toasting the pecans and filtering the oil out using a paper towel or paper bag. Depending on how your brew turns out, you can choose to repeat the roasting steps twice or three times to draw more of the oil out. Regardless of how much oil you draw out, the prep time is well worth the final result.
The Malt Bill
There are usually four ingredients that most beer recipes require: hops, malt, water, and yeast. Hops add balance along with that familiar aroma and bitterness that most beers have. The malt is also referred to as malt bill, grain bill, or mash bill. The American Homebrewers Association states the malt bill is a list of all the ingredients used to provide the wort and is the main source of fermentable sugar in the beer. The sugar is the key because once the yeast is added, the sugar transitions into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
The mash bill also contributes to the body, color, and flavor of the beer. Adding specialty malts with your base grain bill lends your beer those exciting underlying flavors. The amount used depends on what type of beer you want to brew. Are you going for a porter, stout beer, or something lighter? Each type will have a specific set of malts to develop the desired intensity and taste.
Add Pecan Meal to the Grain Bill
A common brewing question is: will the nutty flavor overpower the hops and malt of your beer? Fortunately, no, it won’t. It will only add a hint of flavor that fuses well with the hops and other grains. Most beers use between fifty and eighty percent of a base malt while experimenting with the remaining percentage. Lighter beer options, like a pale ale or IPA, tend to use higher percentages of base grains with little to no specialty ones.
A higher percentage of specialty grains on the mash bill can contribute to producing a more stout or darker beer. It’s important to remember, the base grain bill should be closer to eighty percent because it has to produce the right amount of sugar needed for the wort.
How to Craft Beer with Pecan Meal
Grain Bill List:
Malted Barley (base malt bill)- Eighty percent
Pecan meal (specialty) - Ten to Fifteen percent
Chocolate malt (specialty) - Five to Ten percent
Directions With An Automatic Brewer
- Add your grain bag once the water is at the target temperature (automatic brewers have customizable temperature and time settings for convenience).
- Allow the grain mash to rest in the heated water for sixty to ninety minutes.
- Once the time has been reached, carefully remove the mash, let it drip dry (some brewers are equipped with grain bill compartments.)
- Bring the wort to a bubbling boil before adding the hops and adjunct grains (specialty malts).
- Once the boil has calmed and the wort has cooled, thoroughly sanitize the outside of yeast package you are using and then add it to the wort.
- Set the timer to the recommended setting for fermentation. (Remember at every step of the process, it’s important to clean and sanitize lids, hoses, and other parts after and before every use).
- Once the fermentation process is completed, it’s time to bottle your brew. For optimal taste, serve it carbonated and chilled.
Traditional Brewing Methods
The American Homebrewers Association breaks down the basic steps of craft beers prepared using the stove-top brew method. You can also use this pecan meal recipe if you choose to take a more hands-on approach in crafting your distinct beer. Whether you use a boiling pot or an automatic brewer, adding a nutty twist to your routine recipes will help produce beer with an unforgettable taste.
Works Cited “Pecans | Agricultural Marketing Resource Center.” AgMRC. 08 Feb. 2020 https://www.agmrc.org/commodities-products/nuts/pecans. “How to Brew (Homebrew Ingredients).” American Homebrewers Association, 08 Feb. 2020, https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/how-to-brew/homebrew-ingredients/. “All-Grain (Brew in a Bag) Homebrewing.” American Homebrewers Association, 23 Mar. 2018, https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/tutorials/all-grain-brew-in-a-bag/all-grain-brew-in-a-bag-homebrewing/.