Ok, so my girlfriend and I brewed a winter ale in November, and it was ok. She didn't like it. I thought it was drinkable, but not great. We added the spice in a muslin bag in the secondary that sat for two weeks. We just brewed our second one with the same recipe, but a variation or two.
First off, we spiced the ale in the boil. (last 15 min) Second, we bought fresh cinnamon and nutmeg nuts from our local spice shop and ground those up to add to the boil. I hope it comes out better. I think our first batch was overwhelmed by the spices and the amount of time they sat in the secondary. When I asked around n the forums, I got an overwhelming response to spice in the secondary. Plus, the kicker was that the bottles foamed over for the last case or so. (not the first case) weird.
Do you guys have any experience with spicing ales? I would love to get an ale that tastes similar to Harpoon Winter. I feel this is an optimum winter ale because the spice combination compliments the ale flavor perfectly.