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-   -   Christmas Spice... Needs more spice...Thoughts? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/christmas-spice-needs-more-spice-thoughts-148782/)

ara35 11-25-2009 12:03 PM

Christmas Spice... Needs more spice...Thoughts?
 
So i brewed a christmas spiced beer and i do not think there is enough spice. My cousin (who got me into the hobby and is experienced) suggested that I bottle half of them now, and then add more spice before bottling the second half. this way i can hone down on what i want to brew next year, or since its early enough, even another batch for the family. so he suggested making a "spice tea" by steeping the cinnamon and nutmeg in warm water and add that to the brew. any thoughts on how to go about this or other ways to get more spices in the mix. i obviously dont want to get the cinnamon in the beer cause i feel that may be gross to drink. please give me any ideas you have!!!

chode720 11-25-2009 12:27 PM

I would definitely go with what your cousin said. I did a pumpkin beer that did not taste like it have enough spice coming out of the fermenter, but after kegging and carbing, the spice flavor came through.

Bottle half as is and then boil a little spice and add the spice tea to the other half. That way, you can evaluate the flavors of both and see what is needed for the next batch.

eppo 11-25-2009 02:38 PM

i've heard to make a spice extract you can mix the spice with say vodka. use a test sample and then multiply it out to the total (but actually put in 3/4). so say you used 1 drop for a cup, if you have 100 cups you would put 75 drops, give it a taste and add more as needed. dont want to add too much.

ara35 11-25-2009 02:57 PM

eppo,

that was alittle confusing... sorry

so do i boil it, or just let it sit in the vodka. and as far as the drops, do you mean a drop in each bottle.

once again, sorry i just didnt fully understand that. if you wouldnt mind clarifying, cause i definitely want to know all my options

Coastarine 11-25-2009 03:09 PM

My first thought was an alcohol spice extract idea like eppo. No heat involved, just take maybe a pint of vodka in a mason jar (or tupperware, or anything really) and drop in a few cinnamon sticks, a clove, and some chunks of nutmeg, maybe some ginger. Let it sit for a week maybe, then the tricky part: figuring out how much to add. This would be most easily done by taking a measured amount of your beer, say 8oz, and adding the spiced vodka a drop at a time until you think it tastes right, then extrapolating for your whole batch. Another way would be to add X number of drops to each bottle. You could even add a different amount of drops to different bottles (e.g. one six-pack with 3 drops per bottle, one six-pack with 10 drops per bottle, one with 15, etc.)

Advantages of this are that alcohol is very good at extracting and holding on to volatile flavors of spices, and there is virtually no risk of contamination since anything that touched the vodka would be sanitized.

ara35 11-25-2009 03:15 PM

yes this is definitely a huge experiment. heres my thoughts...
im going to have around 40-50 bottles (hopefully) so lets say i get 45
make the spice extract with all the spices you just said:
5 bottles - 2 drops
5 bottles - 4 drops
5 bottles - 6 drops
then one that is only ginger:
5 bottles - 2 drops
5 bottles - 5 drops
then one that is only cinnamon:
5 bottles - 2 drops
5 bottles - 5 drops

leave the rest as is. i think this would be awesome. and i could really get a great christmas recipe like i said before. i could even make another one this year to be ready for jan/feb using whatever was the best. the only problem is that i made this brew 2 weeks ago, would it be a problem to have it sit another week before bottling? i could then let the vodka and spices sit for a week and then do my experiment when bottling.

mkling 11-25-2009 03:36 PM

It's a good plan. You should let it sit another week, because you will want the spices to sit in the vodka for a week to get good flavor extraction.

Coastarine 11-25-2009 04:19 PM

Letting the beer sit is no problem. Beer timelines are verrry flexible when it comes to letting the beer sit. It's when you try to rush it that you run into problems.

Also, I recommend getting some idea of how much spice two drops will add before you decide for sure on an amount. A good way to just get a ballpark is to grab a bottle of commercial beer and start adding drops to it. Maybe a newcastle, maybe a bud american ale, just probably something not too hoppy with a little color and a little bit of sweetness to it. Obviously it won't tell you exactly what your beer will taste like, but it will give you a good starting point. You might not even be able to detect 5 drops, and you wouldn't want to find that out after going through all the effort.

ara35 11-25-2009 05:14 PM

Quote:

Also, I recommend getting some idea of how much spice two drops will add before you decide for sure on an amount.
great idea!


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