just thought i'd drop in with a quick update on my progress for anyone who's interested (that's you Yrevel).
so i bottled my beer yesterday having had the spice mix infusing in the fermenter with the beer for 14 days. due to time restraints over the last few weeks this is the first time i had the chance to do so, so i was not able to sample the beer throughout etc (with hindsight this is something i would do next time).
on opening the lid to the fermenter the first thing that struck me was a very strong aroma of cloves and star anise. i drew a sample to do a final gravity check which was far less strong in terms of aroma but definitely still a noticable clove/start anise/xmas spice presence. i find it more than subtle which i wasnt really aiming for but quite like nonetheless.
to taste, i felt that the beer/malt flavor was dominant, however, i think there is a bit of sweetness coming through from the spice (not just the malt), probably more so from the cinnamon i would imagine. i struggled to identify any distinct spices in particular on tasting but i like to think they have combined nicely to form an overall extra dimension on the taste front.
the big question for me is how the spice flavor and aroma profiles will change with aging. i intend to age this beer for 3 months before i begin drinking /sharing it with friends/family in december but i have set aside 2-3 bottles to taste at 7-11 weeks. i syphoned my beer into the bottling bucket through a very fine synthetic bag which did well to stop any of the dried/ground spices getting into the finished product - hopefully this will stop the spices from becoming overbearing.
if there is any interest i will report back with updates throughout the aging process with a final verdict on the affect of spicing in december.