Mint Extract vs Fresh Mint

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by RJLarse, Oct 16, 2013.

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  1. RJLarse

    RJLarse Poo-Bah (1,608) Dec 30, 2005 Washington

    Anyone know how much mint extract to use in place of a specific quantity of fresh mint? How much extract = an once of fresh mint?

    I have a chocolate stout in primary fermentation. The recipe calls for 4 ounces of fresh mint (crushed) to be added in secondary fermentation. I'd rather use extract, because I don't want leaf material in the final product. For quality control I don't really want to put the mint in a muslin or gauze bag, because I don't plan to stir the beer in secondary, and I don't think I'll get the circulation required through the bag. It might make some bottles more minty than others.

    Problem is I can't figure out how much extract to use in place of the fresh mint. I have searched this forum, and found a suggestion for ½ ounce, in presumably a 5 gallon batch, which seems like a lot to me. I think I would rather err on the side of less mint than more. If the beer turns out to be a chocolate stout with a faint mint flavor I can handle that. if it turns out to be an Altoids with a hint of chocolate I won't be happy.

    Suggestions? Anyone used mint extract before?
  2. Theortiz01

    Theortiz01 Initiate (0) Jun 7, 2013 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Draw off a sample of the beer at secondary and use a medicine dropper to put enough drops of extract in it until you are happy...then upscale that amount to the full bango. And yes, a half ounce seems like ALOT of mint.
    machalel and bgjohnston like this.
  3. bgjohnston

    bgjohnston Initiate (0) Jan 14, 2009 Connecticut

    Taste it with what you plan to use and scale up like Theortiz01 says. There are too many variables, especially the variable strength of different brands of extract, different types of mint, etc.

    Dialing in the level of flavor you are looking for with any agricultural product is always a little bit of trial and error.
  4. hopsandmalt

    hopsandmalt Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2006 Michigan

    Just add the extract to taste in the bottling bucket.
  5. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,704) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Premium Member

    No way of knowing, as the amount of mint essence in a fresh sample will vary. Spices need to be done according to personal tastes.
  6. atomeyes

    atomeyes Aspirant (282) Jul 13, 2011 Ontario (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    just my 2 cents. i have zero desire to brew with mint, but i use mint for teas.
    don't add mint to your boil. add it once you start to chill or at flame out.
    i'd add mint leaves once you knock the flame out and let the wort sit for 5 minutes, then chill. mint needs to steep just below boiling and usually steeps in a tea for around 5 minutes.
    i wouldn't add it to boil and adding to secondary may be fine, but you'll probably need more mint.
    also, do NOT chop up your mint leaves. if anything, put them in your hands and clap once or twice to "activate" the cells. mint tastes damaged if you dice or chop it.

    finally, i hate extracts of any flavour. they usually taste strange.
    koopa likes this.
  7. TheMonkfish

    TheMonkfish Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2012 Chad

    If it helps, I used a handful (30 ish small leaves) of chocolate mint (bruised) with 5 minutes to go in the boil and another similar dose of vodka (small amount) soaked leaves (with the vodka) in the primary for 8 days and got a very solid mint flavor in an imperial chocolate stout. I don't think I'd want any more mint flavor than that.

    I agree that a half ounce of extract sounds like a lot, so another vote for the add to taste approach.
  8. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,397) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I haven't used extract, but have used fresh mint, in a weighted bag. Brownian motion is all you need to distribute the oils througout the secondary vessel. It's just like dry hopping.
  9. RJLarse

    RJLarse Poo-Bah (1,608) Dec 30, 2005 Washington

    I thought I would update and close out this conversation.

    I went with fresh mint, 4 ounces of whole leaves for a 5 gallon batch. I put the leaves between 2 sheets of wax paper and pounded them with my fist a few times, then threw them in the secondary fermenter and racked in the beer.

    It tasted OK at bottling time, the chocolate and mint flavors were unmistakable. The beer has been in the bottles 2 weeks and it's going to be another month or so before sampling any of the final product.

    So the conclusion is, fresh mint is easy to use and keeping the whole leaves out of the bottles is not a problem.
  10. ryane

    ryane Initiate (161) Nov 21, 2007 Washington

    Wow, who knew you could read about brownian motion in sooooo many homebrew threads!

    To the OP, Ive only used peppermint oil in mead, but when i did it would not carbonate, bottles without mint oil carbd fine, not sure why that was
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