I am looking to brew a hazelnut brown ale. What brands of hazelnut extract are the best tasting? My lhbs does not carry one. Ideally im looking for a brand that closely resembles the real thing.
I just co authored a book on commercial beer recipes for homebrewers. One of the recipes I got was Rogue Hazelnut Brown ale. The recipe came directly from brewmaster John Maier. They used to use Flavormate extract, but have switched to the Northwestern brand. John says it has much more flavor than other brands. Based upon their usage, 1/2 tsp. for a 5 gal. batch is the right amount.
For my first Rogue hazelnut brown nectar clone I am using a homemade hazelnut extract (2 cups roasted and crushed in 2 cups vodka for 4 weeks) It will not be as potent as the commercial extracts so I am thinking a couple tbs in the 5 gallons - will let you know if interested. ..
Just use a brown ale extract kit, and add some hazelnut flavoring to fermenter. If you don't use a pre-made kit, I would suggest always using the lightest extract you can get, and adding color, flavor using specialty grains. Browns ales are usually made with 1 pound or so of a dark crystal malt (80-120L) and 4oz of chocolate malt. (for 5 gallon batches) easy on the hazelnut, it could get too powerful.
I have had success with a bottle of hazelnut syrup from Starbucks. You can experiment with it by adding it directly to a glass of finished beer.
I added about 4 T (tablespoons) of the syrup to about 12 liters of finished beer, and then let it sit in a carboy for about 6 weeks before bottling.