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Old 11-02-2011, 01:18 PM   #1
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Default Is adding spice to a beer in secondary or at bottling a sanitation problem?

I took a gravity sample of the pumpkin stout I brewed a week and a half ago, and I think it needs more of a spice profile. I want to add more when I bottle. Should I be concerned about infection with adding dried spices to the beer? Or should I just treat it like a dry hopping type procedure and not worry about it?

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Old 11-02-2011, 01:41 PM   #2
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Prob wouldn't worry about it but if you wanted to, you could boil some water and add the spices into that and pour that mixture in.

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Old 11-02-2011, 01:44 PM   #3
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II would do it at bottling. You could get some pumpkin spice tea and boil it along with your priming sugar. Or you could add some whole spices and strain through a sanitized strainer.

I wouldn't recommend powdered spices at that point, as it is really hard to strain them.

I've done chilies, citrus peels, and even some spices in the boil and strained out after. I decided to add 1.5 ounces of ginger to my priming sugar boil.





As you can see it has a nice straw color as opposed to the clear you are used to. It smelled amazingly like ginger.



I've also done it with dried chilli peppers for my chocolate mole porter. And done citrus peels with various beers such as using orange peels in my wits.

You could do it with any dry spice, such as cloves, coriander, star anise for a licorice beer, cinnamon and even a vanilla beer. You can do with this is to add some lactose to the boil as well, since it is unfermentable, it should sweeten the flavor somewhat.

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Old 11-02-2011, 01:58 PM   #4
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Awesome, thanks

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Old 11-02-2011, 07:53 PM   #5
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I think Revvy has the best idea. I've also heard of people soaking spices in a neutral spirit before adding it to the bottling bucket. You should be fine either way.

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Old 11-02-2011, 08:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheEndlessObsession
I think Revvy has the best idea. I've also heard of people soaking spices in a neutral spirit before adding it to the bottling bucket. You should be fine either way.
tincture is what it's called.. They work also
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Old 11-18-2011, 10:01 PM   #7
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Thanks for posting this - I was just wondering about the same thing! I'm brewing the pumpkin ale recipe from Brewing Classic Styles, although with significantly reduced pumpkin. The book suggests to add spices at secondary, no mention of boiling or diluting or anything. I just dumped them into my carboy but now I've got a few slimy-looking strands in there. Was hoping I didn't contaminate by adding dry spices. They just floated at the top, at any rate, never sank. In retrospect I would soak them in something or boil them in something. Oh well, too late now . . . going to find my turkey baster and take a sample. Hope your batch turns out great, thisgoestoeleven. Did you end up using Revvy's suggestion?

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Old 11-20-2011, 03:53 AM   #8
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Just wanted to let you guys know that I believe that adding raw spices in the secondary caused some off flavors in my pumpkin ale. I've made the beer a couple of times before but never added any additional spices after the boil. Anyway, I tasted the beer about a week ago when I kegged and it was great, but the spice was a little lacking so I added just a sprinkle of raw nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove. Took my first sample on draft today and it had this big astringent/sour flavor. After checking the keg there were these odd white specs floating on top of the beer, almost like dandruff, which I have never seen before.

I kegged two other beers that night and those both taste fine, so I don't believe it was anything in my transferring sanitation process. Checking with the BJCP beer fault list "raw spices" is listed as a reason by astringency. So, still not entirely sure that this was the root cause, but something went awry.

The beer is not really drinkable, which is really sad because it might be the beer I look forward to the most each year. Be warned, it would have taken no time to soak the spices in vodka or boil some tea but I decided to take a short cut.

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Old 11-29-2011, 08:37 PM   #9
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Update from time of bottling: there didn't seem to be anything noticably "off" about the smell or taste of the beer at bottling time. It tasted like a basic amber with just a hint of spice, more on the nose than the palette. I boiled more (dried) spices along with the priming sugar to try and bolster the spice element. These helpfully sank immediately and since I ended up with about 1/2 gallon more beer than bottles, I was able to keep the siphon tip off the bottom of the bucket and out of any sediment. Beer flowing into the bottles was clear (well, you know, amber-colored clear). Now lets see what happens . . . see you all in 2-3 weeks. *note to self: switch to kegging ASAP*

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