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Old 08-23-2013, 07:10 AM   #1
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Default When to add spices to beer and how much?

So I'm working on a Belgian Saison recipe. Saisons are typically spiced to some extent. My question is when to add the spice (a bit before knockout, at knockout, in the primary ). Also how much to add?

Currently with the recipe I'm working on I'm thinking adding the coarsely cracked spices at 5 minutes before knockout. I'm also thinking that 3 tablespoons for a 5.25 gallon batch should add the hint of spice I want. My goal is a more citrusy rather than overly spicy Saison.

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Old 08-23-2013, 09:20 AM   #2
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It really depends on what spice your working with I would say. Some spices may benefit from a few minutes of boiling while others may not. I've only worked with a few spiced beers, but I can tell you there is a lot of trial and error when it comes to brewing with them. Use your best judgment, you can always add more spice at bottling or kegging time if need be.

There is an episode of "Brew Strong" from the Brewing Network that focuses on spices, and Basic Brewing Radio may have one as well. They are podcasts, give them a listen.

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Old 08-23-2013, 01:16 PM   #3
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It depends on the spice, but 3T seems like way too much based on my experience. A saison I made a year ago only used .25t each of black pepper and coriander at 5 minutes. What yeast are you using? Keep in mind that some saison yeasts will add/emphasize spicy notes (e.g. peppery) especially when fermented at the proper temps.

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Old 08-23-2013, 01:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philistine View Post
So I'm working on a Belgian Saison recipe. Saisons are typically spiced to some extent. My question is when to add the spice (a bit before knockout, at knockout, in the primary ). Also how much to add?

Currently with the recipe I'm working on I'm thinking adding the coarsely cracked spices at 5 minutes before knockout. I'm also thinking that 3 tablespoons for a 5.25 gallon batch should add the hint of spice I want. My goal is a more citrusy rather than overly spicy Saison.
You haven't told us WHICH spice you're using. A complete recipe might be nice...
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Old 08-23-2013, 02:18 PM   #5
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I've added at flame out.

I've thrown in primary after 1 week of fermenting.

This was the same beer on two different occasions and to me it tasted the same either way. Probably safer to do it at flame out to sterilize the spices.


Keep in mind too little spice is OK you can add more the next time you make the same batch. You add too much and you have to drink over spiced crappy beer.

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Old 08-24-2013, 09:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by microbusbrewery View Post
It depends on the spice, but 3T seems like way too much based on my experience. A saison I made a year ago only used .25t each of black pepper and coriander at 5 minutes. What yeast are you using? Keep in mind that some saison yeasts will add/emphasize spicy notes (e.g. peppery) especially when fermented at the proper temps.

Well my thinking was how much can spice impart to 5 gallons of beer when its added around flameout and removed when transferring to primary (talking 20 minutes or less in the wort). Seems like less than a teaspoon would be a trivial amount.

The yeast I'm planning on using is Wyeast 3724 (its the only Saison yeast I can buy locally). I'm tentatively planning a hot ferment box (converting a cabinet with polystyrene foam liner, a ceramic heater, plug-in dimmer to control temperature and a remote thermometer). But that is budget dependent, and my budget is fairly thin. I have the dimmer (used for my lava lamp) and the remote thermometer.

That said the upstairs is usually around 80*F, not pushing it for a saison but a warm fermenting temperature.

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Originally Posted by evrose View Post
You haven't told us WHICH spice you're using. A complete recipe might be nice...
Allow me to dodge that as this is a recipe I've been developing and I'd rather brew it before sharing it. My interest here is how spice additions are usually done.

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Keep in mind too little spice is OK you can add more the next time you make the same batch. You add too much and you have to drink over spiced crappy beer.
Guess I'll aim for a middle ground. Looks like I could spice it up with the secondary if what I have after fermentation isn't what I'm looking for.

Thank you for all the replies!
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Old 08-24-2013, 06:46 PM   #7
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Well my thinking was how much can spice impart to 5 gallons of beer when its added around flameout and removed when transferring to primary (talking 20 minutes or less in the wort). Seems like less than a teaspoon would be a trivial amount.
I know it doesn't seem like much, but the oils in a lot of spices are pretty potent. Usually you want it to add complexity while being complementary, but you don't want it to be a spice bomb. To give some perspective, I'm reading through the most recent Zymurgy right now while brewing a batch and just came across a recipe for a pumpkin beer (page 27 of Sept/Oct 2013). It's a 10 gallon recipe that calls for 1T of pumpkin pie spices. My best advice would be to go with what some other posters have recommended, start on the low side and add a bit more later on if you think it's lacking.

Oh and as for timing, I'd shoot for anywhere from 5 minutes to knockout.
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