Racking to secondary to zest

So here it , 8:30 pm. And I’m about to rack my KOLSH to secondary so I can add a lil orange zest, and I find myself wondering… How much zest? Which orange do I use? How long do I need to soak in vodka? Does it matter which vodka? Should I bag it? If so can I use one of the lil grain steeping bags that come with NB’s kits… Wow… I just realized I have NO clue what I’m doing​:joy::joy::joy::joy::joy: well I’m off to transfer… Sure hope someone sees this and can help a brother Brewer out of his knowledge less slump!!! Cheers!!

First of all, don’t bother transferring… It’s fine where it is. I’ll follow up later.

Second of all, best to use organic oranges. Conventional produce can have pesticides that can be detrimental to yeast health, and you don’t want to do anything that can affect yeast health.

So soaking in vodka doesn’t really disinfect the zest. The alcohol can help extract flavors, but contrary to popular belief, it does not disinfect. Either way, the amount you use to extract flavor is insignificant, so the cheap stuff is fine.

What I like to do is sanitize 2 or 3 oranges (if I don’t want wild yeast influence) in star-san, sanitize the zester, and take just the outside layer of the orange. The white pith is unpleasantly bitter, so don’t zest too deeply.

If you have a few days, place the zest into some vodka to help extract the flavors. If you’re already transferring to secondary, don’t bother, the alcohol in your beer should inhibit bacteria and wild yeast. Just add the zest to the beer and give it a week or two.

I usually give it a couple of weeks and bottle. The zest tends to sink once fermentation is done, so it shouldn’t be an issue racking to your bottling bucket.

Great info porkchop!! So here’s where I’m at. Brewed a NB 20 min KOLSH on 5-1-16. So 9days ago. I have to go offshore tomorrow night for a week, my plan was to rack to secondary and drop some zest before I leave tomorrow. But being as I’m only going to be gone a week, would I be good to leave in primary till I return then transfer and zest?

It doesn’t matter that much, really… It’ll be fine either way. If you want to play with it (and I often do), go ahead and transfer to secondary over some zest. If you don’t have organic oranges, don’t sweat it. It’ll probably turn out great either way!

Use the amount of zest dependent on how strong you want the flavor. A hint, maybe 1 Orange. Noticeable flavor, go for 3 or so.