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Duffey 11-12-2007 02:13 PM

Spices
 
When using spices, does it make a difference at what point they go into the boil? Or has anyone added them to the primary/secondary fermentor? I have a slightly strong porter with cinnamon and nutmeg planned.

cheezydemon 11-12-2007 02:20 PM

Conventional wisdom seems to be the last 10 minutes of the boil, or in the secondary. Some people like to put the spices in vodka to sterilize them before going into the secondary.

For cinnamon I have roasted whole sticks and dropped them in the secondary no problem.

Go easy on the nutmeg.

Evan! 11-12-2007 02:32 PM

Very late in the boil or in secondary. I'd listen to the Jamil Show podcast episode on Winter Spiced Beer. They go very in-depth into the best methods for spicing.

homebrewer_99 11-12-2007 02:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cheezydemon
...For cinnamon I have roasted whole sticks and dropped them in the secondary no problem...Go easy on the nutmeg.

How do you roast your cinnamon?

I have some "gigantic" cinnamon sticks, from Mexico I believe, that are like 1.5 inches across. There are lots of smaller pieces inside so this stick is very dense.

The cinnamon flavor is candy-like, very sweet, but if you chew on the bark it has a different flavor, much like the powdered stuff we sprinkle on chocolate, etc.

I agree when that using nutmeg, ginger, and cloves you really want to use them sparingly as they will easily overpower a brews flavor. They also take a long time to mellow.

Soulive 11-12-2007 02:43 PM

I've made one beer that was spiced. My method was making some spice tea and adding it to the keg. That way I had control and no aroma was lost. It was one of the best beers I've made so far. If you don't keg, you could add it to the bottling bucket...

cheezydemon 11-12-2007 02:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by homebrewer_99
How do you roast your cinnamon?

I have some "gigantic" cinnamon sticks, from Mexico I believe, that are like 1.5 inches across. There are lots of smaller pieces inside so this stick is very dense.

The cinnamon flavor is candy-like, very sweet, but if you chew on the bark it has a different flavor, much like the powdered stuff we sprinkle on chocolate, etc.

I agree when that using nutmeg, ginger, and cloves you really want to use them sparingly as they will easily overpower a brews flavor. They also take a long time to mellow.

I would roast them in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes or so. Another interesting way is to grill them until you get a few black spots. Cinnamon responds really well to being a little bit burnt. I would remove the grate or do it over your turkey fryer burner, holding it with tongs or a skewer, because a grill grate typically has lots of nasties on it. I suppose you could broil it too.

bradsul 11-12-2007 02:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Soulive21
...If you don't keg, you could add it to the bottling bucket...

This is what I have done in the past. A key thing to remember though is to get your desired spice level BEFORE you add your priming solution or the sweetness will throw it off.

homebrewer_99 11-12-2007 03:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cheezydemon
I would roast them in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes or so. Another interesting way is to grill them until you get a few black spots. Cinnamon responds really well to being a little bit burnt. I would remove the grate or do it over your turkey fryer burner, holding it with tongs or a skewer, because a grill grate typically has lots of nasties on it. I suppose you could broil it too.

I was just wondering how much to "burn" them...I didn't want to end up with cinnamon flavored charcoal. Thanks....:D

Bradsul: Good tip. ;)

Duffey 11-12-2007 05:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Soulive21
I've made one beer that was spiced. My method was making some spice tea and adding it to the keg. That way I had control and no aroma was lost. It was one of the best beers I've made so far. If you don't keg, you could add it to the bottling bucket...

Yeah that looks like a smart way to do it. I want to be careful not to end up with an overly spiced beer.

Soulive 11-12-2007 05:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Duffey
Yeah that looks like a smart way to do it. I want to be careful not to end up with an overly spiced beer.

I was worried about over-spicing too. With the tea, you can taste it and add more if necessary. As I said, its also a fresher aroma/taste than adding to the boil...


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