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Old 12-14-2012, 08:27 PM   #1
Aug 2012
Halifax, NS
Posts: 41
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

I didn't see a thread up about the technique of adding spices to beer so I decided to make one. There are several factors to consider when adding spices to beer. Two I can think of are the surface to mass ratio (i.e. how finely ground the spices are) and extraction time (i.e. how long you let the spices stay in the beer.

For the first issue, It seems to me that breaking fresh spices down to medium chunks (e.g. cracking black peppercorns) would be the way to go. Too big might limit your ability to pull out flavor from the spice, too small and you could over extract or have a grainy texture to the beer (if unfiltered).

For the second issue, I'm interested in what others have to say. I would think that its kind of like making tea where if you leave the spices in long enough unwanted (usually bitter flavours) could be pulled out.

I guess other issues are present, like do you add spices to the fermenting beer, when do you do that, what about extracting the flavour of the spice in vodka then adding that to the beer.


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Old 12-16-2012, 02:27 PM   #2

Except for witbiers (with coriander and orange peel), I usually make a tincture with herbs and spices and add the tincture to my taste at bottling/kegging. I do it mostly for the control I get from this method.

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Old 12-16-2012, 05:34 PM   #3
Jan 2012
san diego, california
Posts: 215
Liked 20 Times on 17 Posts

I add spices the way that Jamil Zainasheff suggests - take the full amount you think you'll need, and cut them by 1/3, and add them in at packaging to taste to avoid over doing it. I usually add spices that are pre-ground loose to the boil, but uncracked peppercorns and the like I'd probably have in a fairly tight ball in a hop bag or tea ball. I add them in the last 5 minutes or even flameout.

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Old 12-16-2012, 06:02 PM   #4
Nov 2012
Posts: 143
Liked 17 Times on 13 Posts

There are a at least a couple spices that are best done in an alcohol extraction like vanilla and cacao nibs or in a bag in secondary where they are at least in contact with some alcohol. I use the vodka method and just add the vodka extract to secondary or the priming tank. Other spices can be either put in with 5 or 10 minutes left in the boil, dry hopped or what I like is making a tea and putting it in secondary or the priming tank like the vodka.

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Old 12-17-2012, 09:56 AM   #5
diS's Avatar
Apr 2011
Posts: 997
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I am adding spices/vodka tincture in bottles.
This way I can see how they affect taste without risking whole batch. Also I can add several spices in few bottles and still have "original" batch kegged.
We are only 10,000 years into beer... there are thousands of years left to go!
Things are bound to change!!

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Fermentation chamber and Keezer.. a.k.a. FermKeezer

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Old 04-08-2014, 04:55 AM   #6
Apr 2014
Posts: 4

Adding spices to beer that makes something different and a unique taste. Where many of us are not aware about dried and fresh spices. Its is good to use the dried spices rather than the fresh one. If we add fresh ginger to that, then the taste will differs from the usual.

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