Dried or Fresh orange Zest

I’m brewing up a batch of the NW Le Petit Orange and wondering if anyone has and thoughts about fresh vs. dried orange rind/zest at the end of the boil. I’m assuming the fresh zest is more potent but does the flavor vary much?

Fresh orange peel is better. For one thing, the dried stuff you buy has pith attached and so is too bitter. You should use just zest, the outer part of the peel, don’t use the bitter white pith of the peel. For beer the favored oranges to use are often the sour oranges, either seville or the hard to find curacao. If using sweet orange peel, normally you would use 2 to 3 times more than if using sour orange. You can use tangerine or any variety really, and when shopping at a regular grocery store, I like to get the minneolas if sweet oranges are all that’s available. For most beers, 1 to 2 oranges worth of zest is pretty typical for 5 gallons - i don’t know the recipe you refer to. Randy Mosher discusses the use of orange zest well in his book “Radical Brewing”. You might try adding orange zest at the end of the boil, into secondary, or soak it for a few days in a little vodka and add that at bottling. I generally go the traditional route of adding at flameout, and err on the side of adding a little more than needed since it’s never overpowered with that usage in my experience. You can also add 2 parts sweet orange zest to 1 part grapefruit zest to imitate sour orange. I’ve done that and been happy with the result. Be sure to wash the oranges well first in cold water.

Check out this thread. I don’t have a zesting tool, and my regular cheese/vegetable grater is a cheapie one that wouldn’t work on the peeling very well. What I did was use the grater to grate the pith off the inside of the skin of the satsuma (citrus fruit). I basically removed the pith from the outer skin rather than the outer skin from the pith. This is backwards from what’s normally done. Here’s a link to a thread that includes some pictures of the results.


Best wishes and Happy Thanksgiving!


a regular potato peeler with a light hand can work effectively and quite a bit easier than removing the pith from the inside. At least that’s what I use with lemons to make limoncello, when avoiding pith like the plague but needing a lot of zest.