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Old 08-19-2014, 10:28 AM   #1
JonBrew
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Default Added spices to secondary

i've recently brewed up 11.5 L of christmas ale. after primary fermentation i added spices (below) which had been steeped in half a cup of makers mark bourbon.

1 cinnamon stick
5g star anise
5 whole cloves
.5 tsp ground nutmeg
.5 tsp dried ginger

they've been in there about a week but i've seem some conflicting views on how long to leave them. some suggest a week maximum, some suggest minimum 2 weeks up to 3. i'm only looking for background hints of the spices, not to be overpowering. i plan to take a sample tonight but understand that flavor/aroma will generally mellow with aging so should i be looking for slightly stronger flavor/aroma than i want in the finished beer? i intend to age this beer for 3 months.

has anyone had any experience in this field?

cheers

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Old 08-22-2014, 04:14 AM   #2
Yreval
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I'd love to hear some input on this, too.

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Old 08-22-2014, 12:24 PM   #3
porterpounder
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Not sure how long it takes the oils to dissolve into solution, but I usually shake a few times a day for about 2 weeks. I then use a dropper or syringe to add a measured amount to about 4 oz of beer until I get the flavor I like. When I calculate how much I then need to add to the whole batch I add about 2/3 of the calculated amount, leave for 2-3 days, taste and add more if needed.

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Old 08-27-2014, 01:40 PM   #4
JonBrew
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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.

cheers

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