I have been wanting to try using tamarind pods in a beer for awhile now. If you live in Southern California and especially the Los Angeles area, they can always be found at our local International and Latin American grocery stores. I’m sure you’ve tasted or seen these before as candy or in a paste form with chile or lime flavors added to it. In their natural form they are bizarre looking pods that contain the tamarind pulp inside a veiny mesh.
The tamarind flavor is both sweet and sour and I wanted to riff on it for this one gallon beer recipe. It was also an opportunity to once again get rid of the dregs of some of my hops and grain stock.
Ingredients for 1 gallon of Tamarind Beer
1 gallon water
1 lb. Breiss Pilsen light dry malt extract
50g Aromatic malt grains (crushed)
50g Munich malt grains (crushed)
.25 oz Coriander seeds (crushed)
Pinch of licorice root
3 Tamarind pods
4.5g Northern Brewer hop pellets
1/2 stick cinnamon
5.g Sweet orange peel (dried)
1 Piloncillo stick (Mexican brown sugar) (194g)
Here’s the brew process as a general guideline. Always feel free to improvise as needed based on your experience or the ingredients you have on hand.
How I made this beer:
- Boil water with licorice root, 2 whole tamarind pods, malt and coriander in a small “brew in a bag” sack. Make sure the tamarind pods are broken up a bit but use the whole pod including the shells.
- At boil, turn off heat and gradually add and dissolve the dry malt extract in. Also add half the orange peel, all of the piloncillo and 2 grams of hops.
- Turn flame back on and boil for 30 minutes.
- Then Add 2.5 grams hops and the rest of the orange peel and one more tamarind pod without the shell.
- Boil 10 more minutes.
- At Flameout add Irish moss and 1/2 cinnamon stick.
- Cool to around 70 degrees and strain into a fermenter
- Add yeast (your choice)
- Ferment 12 days
- Bottle and wait 2 weeks.
Moment of truth
I love when brew just comes together in every way. This is delicious and it was ready for Thanksgiving pairing nicely with the meal.
The color from the tamarind gives it a slight reddish hue but not in an over the top way. Sweet and sour flavors are perfectly balanced. I think the Mexican sugar is also giving it a light caramel note. Cinnamon is usually such a strong flavor and I am glad I only used half a stick. At first I completely forgot that I added it to this brew. There is only a slight hint of cinnamon flavor. The carbonation was low to medium with good head retention. I tasted this a couple days short of two weeks to check it before Thanksgiving so I think a little more aging will make it even better.
It’s a keeper. Next time I make it I will push the Tamarind a little more but really this doesn’t need much tweaking. I am thankful.