Has anyone brewed with date syrup or paste?

For any brew that doesn't fit into any of the above categories!
Post Reply
lord groan
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 507
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Hampshire

Has anyone brewed with date syrup or paste?

Post by lord groan » Sun Aug 12, 2012 1:11 pm

Hi, first post so go easy with me!

I've started wondering about using dates as a source of sugar for brewing, I've looked around but cant find any useful info. probably looking in the wrong places mind you. This came up because I was in my local international food store the other day and bought a block of date paste, thinking I'd just eat a chunk occasionally, anyway, having tried it I began thinking "basically this is all sugar - could it substitute for malt extract" I've experimented to check the sugar content, working on the basis that a 3kg beer kit makes around 21litres of beer, this equates to 1g extract to 7ml water. I dissolved 45g paste in roughly 300mls water, strained off the insoluble bits and checked with the hydrometer, result 1.046 sg, and a nice brown best bitter colour.
Very much like my beer kits give!
So the question is this, has anyone brewed just using date sugar/syrup/paste? I think I'll give it a go, but would gladly listen to any recommendations and suggestions or more to the point- dire warnings. Plan would be to use 1kg date paste dissolved in around 7 litres water, filtered to remove solids and then fermented, with the addition of some hops, but which hops would you try ? Bearing in mind the likely outcome may be unpleasant I'd like to minimise costs to start with so am only looking to produce something very basic which will give me an idea of whether this is worth pursuing with more care.
At the moment 1kg of date paste is £2!
Thanks for any comments
LG

lord groan
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 507
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: Has anyone brewed with date syrup or paste?

Post by lord groan » Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:28 pm

Ok, I guess that means no-one has so here goes, I've just boiled up 1.8kg of date paste, and simmered until it had all dissolved, this took about 6litres of water and the resulting liquid is very heavy with particles but otherwise strongly resembles a bitter wort in colour, I've made it up to 3 gallons and the og is 1.038 @ 50 degrees c. I'm posting this while waiting for it to cool enough to add yeast and take a more accurate og reading. I'm intending to rack it off after about 2 days when most of the particles have settled to the bottom and then let it ferment out. I am using Muntons Gervin English Ale yeast and as a first attempt I'll hop it after fermentation with a little isomerised hop extract. I'm not trying to produce a quality ale this time round, just test to see if it is even remotely drinkable, if so I'll try again with more care over ingredients.
Concerns at the moment: I wonder if a tablespoon or 2 of black treacle would give a little more edge to the taste than I expect pure date to do, and will it fall clear and bright bearing in mind the amount of particulates in it?

Wish me luck!
lg

simco999

Re: Has anyone brewed with date syrup or paste?

Post by simco999 » Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:42 pm

Hi Lord Groan - welcome to Jim's - we're a broad church - all possible recipes are acceptable.

If it ferments it makes alcohol. Looking forward to hear about the results. =D> =D> =D>

lord groan
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 507
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: Has anyone brewed with date syrup or paste?

Post by lord groan » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:12 pm

Date Update:

Ok, after about 3 days fermenting I racked the wort off through a strainer to remove the date particles because I could see it wasn't going to settle out without help. I left it to carry on fermenting and have racked again tonight, now I'm left with something much clearer, gravity has dropped and is now 1.020 at 20c. A tablespoonful of wort had 'spilled' into a wineglass nearby during racking so I thought I'd better taste it. Quite scary really! I expected something dire, but I got something rather pleasant instead, it still has a little sweetness but that should ferment out in the next few days, it is very delicately flavoured so will need to be very lightly hopped I think.

Lessons learned so far - I really should have filtered the wort to remove date particles before fermenting, there was so much suspended 'muck' in the fermenter that as CO2 was released it got trapped in the mix and would stay there until enough built up to lift a pocket of sludge to the surface, this has to be responsible for the failure to clear, but on the plus side I just invented the beer lava lamp!
I had doubted that fermentation was happening at all because there is absolutely no froth build-up on the wort surface but I was wrong. I've never had a brew that didn't froth before. Still there's a first time for everything!

lg

DaveyT
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 525
Joined: Wed Jun 09, 2010 8:58 pm
Location: Las Palmas, GC

Re: Has anyone brewed with date syrup or paste?

Post by DaveyT » Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:11 pm

Hello LG
Excellent stuff! There are recipes on this website using date syrup butI've never seen this before. Well done for taking the risk!
I used to work in on the Cally Rd in North London which is famous for many things, not least HMP Pentonville. Anyway, there is a shop there run by a rather horrible little man who had some date syrup on offer. When I asked him what it was he spat 'Piagra, Piagra' at me several times while his wife looked on with a satisfied, coy look onher face. Seems it holds aphrodisiac qulaities.
Sorry, just had that memory and had to share it. Nice one with the brew. I'd be chucking it into every other beer I brew but I can't find it where I live now. Shame, it is lovely stuff.

David
Evolution didn't end with us growing thumbs.
Bill Hicks

lord groan
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 507
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: Has anyone brewed with date syrup or paste?

Post by lord groan » Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:51 pm

OK, next update,

I was away for 1 week and on my return I found the wort still as cloudy as ever, in went a dissolved sheet of gelatin, a good stir and I left it for 4 days. This helped a good deal but still left it rather cloudy. I've racked it again today, and got my home-brewing neighbour over to taste test.
No surprise but it tasted fairly dry, and rather 'datey', too high an alcohol content though. I'm estimating the OG now as around 1.050, FG was 1.008.
Hop time - 1/4 teaspoon of isomerised extract, this improved things, but in the end we stopped after 3 not quite full 1/4 teaspoons of extract. I'd guess it came to about 2/3rds of a teaspoon in total, mixed into 21 pints of wort. Result: rather good I think, but definitely different! I've bottled it now and it has gone under the stairs to mature for a few weeks. Will report back on final tasting day! Can't wait.

Cost of experiment:
2kg Date paste £4.00, yeast £1.55, gelatin £0.99.12 crown caps 24p (9 swing top bottles used). Guess about 50p for vwp = £7.28 for 21 pints.

jimp2003

Re: Has anyone brewed with date syrup or paste?

Post by jimp2003 » Sat Sep 15, 2012 6:34 pm

A fascinating experiment LG - Nice one!

Keep us up to date ( :wink: ) with the progress of this one.

Cheers!

Jim

User avatar
floydmeddler
Falling off the Barstool
Posts: 3963
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:37 pm
Location: Irish man living in Brighton

Re: Has anyone brewed with date syrup or paste?

Post by floydmeddler » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:51 am

Very interesting indeed! Look forward to hearing the results. :-)

lord groan
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 507
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: Has anyone brewed with date syrup or paste?

Post by lord groan » Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:14 pm

Tasting time!

Ok, the bottles have fallen almost clear but not quite, popping the lid on a swingtop bottle gave a satisfying 'fhut', then the brew did the champagne thing and frothed over the top, caught it ok in the glass and poured very gently down the side. The sediment lifted immediately even though I took great care not to disturb it, so it makes a cloudy pint, virtually no head when pouring, and it settles like a lemonade or cola, no head whatsoever but a continually sparkling surface. Very 'datey' smell with strong hints of apple (none in it though), similar taste - very fruity datey taste with cidery overtones. Very similar qualities to a medium sweet cider in taste, but I'm certain it fermented out dry, and no sweetener added. My personal taste is for completely dry so the feeling of sweetness is a bit disappointing to me. It stays lightly fizzy until the bottom of the glass unlike my ales.

I'm wondering if the fruitiness is due partly to fermentation temperature or just the ingredient - I fermented at 23c, also I'd really like to get a clear pint and see how that affects the taste.
Worth another go I think, definitely the biggest mistake I made was not to spend the time filtering the wort thoroughly at the start to remove as much of the date particles as possible before fermentation, this meant I ended up having to clean and sterilise filters, funnels, syphon and plastic bins repeatedly during fermentation to try and do the filtering then when a good filtering followed by a short boil at the start would have achieved the same with much less contamination risk and less effort.

The economics: A 40 pint brew with an OG of around 1045ish would use 3kg date paste (£6 from my local international food shop), no added sugar and of course yeast (£1.50?).
Can't be bad really
Any thoughts!

User avatar
floydmeddler
Falling off the Barstool
Posts: 3963
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:37 pm
Location: Irish man living in Brighton

Re: Has anyone brewed with date syrup or paste?

Post by floydmeddler » Sun Oct 21, 2012 5:27 pm

Sounds good! Be interesting to leave it for 6 months to see what that does.

lord groan
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 507
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: Has anyone brewed with date syrup or paste?

Post by lord groan » Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:49 pm

Update-

My neighbour and his beloved have tried a pint and both swear they love it! I think they're being honest with me.
I have since discovered dates are pectin loaded so that answers the problems I had clearing the brew, next time good initial filtering, and pectolase.

lg

Post Reply