Using A Brewer's Licorice Stick

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by jokelahoma, Jul 12, 2013.

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  1. jokelahoma

    jokelahoma Zealot (531) May 9, 2004 Missouri

    The only thread I could find on this was over a year old, and no one gave an answer, really, so I thought I'd try again for my own purposes. I'm planning on brewing an American stout (roughly 1.070 OG, ~65 IBU, with a bit of chocolate malt and roasted barley for the dark grains). As a way of adding some complexity and a bit of unique flavor to this brew, I'm planning on adding all or part of a brewer's licorice stick. Not the root, not star anise, not fennel seeds, not any other flavoring instead, but the hard stick the HBS's sell. It's roughly 5" long and weighs in a .7 oz.

    So the questions, then, are these: Has anyone used these sticks? At what point did you add them to the boil to get them to melt completely? Do they add much in the way of aroma? How's the flavor? Is it sweet like licorice root, or more of the black licorice flavor of anise? How much did you use in a 5 gallon batch?

    My current plan is to use about half the stick with about 15 minutes left in the boil, giving it hopefully just enough time to melt. I want a noticeable licorice flavor, but I don't want it tasting like a black jellybean. Any advice and/or experience you're willing to share would be appreciated. Thanks!
  2. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,428) May 21, 2010 Texas

    I have no idea the answer to your question, but it sounds delicious! I would really enjoy a non-imperial stout that could harness this flavor in appropriate levels. I hope you are successful, please post results and recipe!

    And truthfully, I like all the flavors, black jelly beans, anise, licorice root, black sambuca, love 'em all. But obviously some subtlety needed in beer, and with some serious body (read dark/roasted malts) otherwise it'd be too funky. :rolling_eyes:
  3. lionking

    lionking Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2006 Pennsylvania

    The old Stegmaier Porter used licorice they say. ....that's all I got. Good luck sounds like a nice brew.
  4. jlpred55

    jlpred55 Initiate (0) Jul 26, 2006 Iowa

    I've used the licorice sticks a few times. Mostly in a recipe that is very close to Deschutes stout. The most I've used at a time (6gals) is a half stick. I just broke it and tossed it in with 15 minutes left. Melted fine. It adds a depth of flavor that isn't entirely noticeably licorice like. It's there but very faint and more of an additional flavor that builds on those other dark roast flavors in the beer. I love black licorice as well but thought that little contribution was a good amount without saying "hey this tastes like black licorice"
  5. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (749) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Used 1/2 a stick @ 15 and it just barely melted by KO. Might have gotten one that had been on the shelf for awhile. I like what it did for the stout and porter.
  6. kjyost

    kjyost Meyvn (1,202) May 4, 2008 Manitoba (Canada)

    HB42's Imp Stout recipe used 1/2 b/c that's all he had. I did it with 1, threw it in 15 mins before FO and it turned out great. That said, it's about 13%, aged on oak and has all sorts of deliciousness going on in it...
  7. Naugled

    Naugled Savant (923) Sep 25, 2007 New York

    I haven't used the stick but I have used licorice root recently in a porter. I used 5g/gal and added them with my 60min hop addition. It came out nice. There is noticeable licorice flavor in the background, but far from being over powering.
  8. jokelahoma

    jokelahoma Zealot (531) May 9, 2004 Missouri

    Decided to go with about 3/4 stick based on the replies. I want it noticeable, but not tasting like a Jelly Belly. When I cut into this thing, I sliced off a sliver and popped it into my mouth. It is definitely unsweetened black licorice. I really think the flavor will work well in an American stout. I could really see it in a Foreign Extra or Imperial, to be certain. Time will tell. Brewing it as I type this, so thanks for all the input.
    GreenKrusty101 and jlpred55 like this.
  9. Lemy

    Lemy Initiate (0) Oct 28, 2013 Washington

    I am brewing an Oatmeal Stout this weekend and was curious about adding licorice. I have have before, and I am not particularly fond of licorice, but I am all about adding a nice depth of character. Which is better root or stick?
  10. Smokebox_79

    Smokebox_79 Initiate (110) Jan 11, 2013 Pennsylvania

    I do I psuedo-Kalamazoo Stout clone a couple times now. One of my favorite stouts, and the best stouts I've brewed by far. I used a whole stick. Broke it up and threw it in a coffee (spice grinder I use solely for brewing) grinder. Turned out great, the flavor is so far beyond straight licorice to me.
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