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Specialty Spice or Herb Beer

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Specialty Spice or Herb Beer is a catch-all term for any beer brewed with herbs or spices other than one of the traditional beer styles ordinarily brewed with herbs and spices.

Contents

Brewing with Herbs and Spices

{{ #if: | Main article: [[Herbs and spices|]] | Main article: Herbs and spices }}

See the entry on Herbs and Spices for information on specific herbs and spices that can be used in brewing and tips on their use.

Competition Styles

The BJCP defines one specialty style for herb and spice beers that also encompasses Vegetable Beer, with a separate subcategory for beers using Christmas spices; see Winter Warmer for this style definition. The GABF style guidelines contain a catch-all .

BJCP Style Guidelines

Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer

21A. Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer Vital Statistics
BJCP Style Guideline Definition (2004)
IBUs: varies SRM: varies OG: varies FG: varies ABV: varies
Aroma: The character of the particular spices, herbs and/or vegetables (SHV) should be noticeable in the aroma; however, note that some SHV (e.g., ginger, cinnamon) have stronger aromas and are more distinctive than others (e.g., some vegetables) -allow for a range of SHV character and intensity from subtle to aggressive. The individual character of the SHV(s) may not always be identifiable when used in combination. The SHV character should be pleasant and supportive, not artificial and overpowering. As with all specialty beers, a proper SHV beer should be a harmonious balance of the featured SHV(s) with the underlying beer style. Aroma hops, yeast by-products and malt components of the underlying beer may not be as noticeable when SHV are present. These components (especially hops) may also be intentionally subdued to allow the SHV character to come through in the final presentation. If the base beer is an ale then a non-specific fruitiness and/or other fermentation by-products such as diacetyl may be present as appropriate for warmer fermentations. If the base beer is a lager, then overall less fermentation byproducts would be appropriate. Some malt aroma is preferable, especially in dark styles. Hop aroma may be absent or balanced with SHV, depending on the style. The SHV(s) should add an extra complexity to the beer, but not be so prominent as to unbalance the resulting presentation.
Appearance: Appearance should be appropriate to the base beer being presented and will vary depending on the base beer. For lighter-colored beers with spices, herbs or vegetables that exhibit distinctive colors, the colors may be noticeable in the beer and possibly the head. May have some haze or be clear. Head formation may be adversely affected by some ingredients, such as chocolate.
Flavor: The character of the particular spices, herbs and/or vegetables (SHV) should be noticeable in the aroma; however, note that some SHV (e.g., ginger, cinnamon) have stronger aromas and are more distinctive than others (e.g., some vegetables) -allow for a range of SHV character and intensity from subtle to aggressive. The individual character of the SHV(s) may not always be identifiable when used in combination. The SHV character should be pleasant and supportive, not artificial and overpowering. As with all specialty beers, a proper SHV beer should be a harmonious balance of the featured SHV(s) with the underlying beer style. Aroma hops, yeast by-products and malt components of the underlying beer may not be as noticeable when SHV are present. These components (especially hops) may also be intentionally subdued to allow the SHV character to come through in the final presentation. If the base beer is an ale then a non-specific fruitiness and/or other fermentation by-products such as diacetyl may be present as appropriate for warmer fermentations. If the base beer is a lager, then overall less fermentation byproducts would be appropriate. Some malt aroma is preferable, especially in dark styles. Hop aroma may be absent or balanced with SHV, depending on the style. The SHV(s) should add an extra complexity to the beer, but not be so prominent as to unbalance the resulting presentation.
Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel may vary depending on the base beer selected and as appropriate to that base beer. Body and carbonation levels should be appropriate to the base beer style being presented. Some SHV(s) may add additional body and/or slickness, although fermentable additions may thin out the beer. Some SHV(s) may add a bit of astringency, although a "raw" spice character is undesirable.
Overall Impression: The character of the particular spices, herbs and/or vegetables (SHV) should be noticeable in the aroma; however, note that some SHV (e.g., ginger, cinnamon) have stronger aromas and are more distinctive than others (e.g., some vegetables) -allow for a range of SHV character and intensity from subtle to aggressive. The individual character of the SHV(s) may not always be identifiable when used in combination. The SHV character should be pleasant and supportive, not artificial and overpowering. As with all specialty beers, a proper SHV beer should be a harmonious balance of the featured SHV(s) with the underlying beer style. Aroma hops, yeast by-products and malt components of the underlying beer may not be as noticeable when SHV are present. These components (especially hops) may also be intentionally subdued to allow the SHV character to come through in the final presentation. If the base beer is an ale then a non-specific fruitiness and/or other fermentation by-products such as diacetyl may be present as appropriate for warmer fermentations. If the base beer is a lager, then overall less fermentation byproducts would be appropriate. Some malt aroma is preferable, especially in dark styles. Hop aroma may be absent or balanced with SHV, depending on the style. The SHV(s) should add an extra complexity to the beer, but not be so prominent as to unbalance the resulting presentation.
History: not specified
Comments: Overall balance is the key to presenting a well-made spice, herb or vegetable (SHV) beer. The SHV(s) should complement the original style and not overwhelm it. The brewer should recognize that some combinations of base beer styles and SHV(s) work well together while others do not make for harmonious combinations. THE ENTRANT MUST SPECIFY THE UNDERLYING BEER STYLE AS WELL AS THE TYPE OF SPICES, HERBS, OR VEGETABLES USED. IF THIS BEER IS BASED ON A CLASSIC STYLE (E.G., BLONDE ALE) THEN THE SPECIFIC STYLE MUST BE SPECIFIED. CLASSIC STYLES DO NOT HAVE TO BE CITED (E.G., "PORTER" OR "WHEAT ALE" IS ACCEPTABLE). THE TYPE OF SPICES, HERBS, OR VEGETABLES MUST ALWAYS BE SPECIFIED. If the base beer is a classic style, the original style should come through in aroma and flavor. The individual character of SHV(s) may not always be identifiable when used in combination. This category may also be used for coffee- or chocolate-based beers. Note that many spice-based Belgian specialties may be entered in Category 19E. Beers that only have additional fermentables (honey, maple syrup, molasses, sugars, treacle, etc.) should be entered in the Specialty Beer category.
Ingredients: not specified
Commercial Examples: Cave Creek Chili Beer, Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale, Stoney Creek Vanilla Porter, Redhook Double Black Stout, Young's Double Chocolate Stout, Traquair Jacobite Ale, Bell's Java Stout, Bell's Harry Magill's Spiced Stout, Left Hand JuJu Ginger Beer, BluCreek Herbal Ale, Dogfish Head Chicory Stout, Fraoch Heather Ale, Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, Dogfish Head Midas Touch, Christian Moerlein Honey Almond, Rogue Chocolate Porter, Mexicali Rogue, Rogue Hazelnut Nectar, Rogue Chocolate Stout

GABF Style Listings

Herb and Spice Beer

5A. Herb and Spice Beer
GABF Style Listing (2007)
Herb and spice beers use herbs or spices (derived from roots, seeds, fruits, vegetable, flowers, etc.) other than or in addition to hops to create a distinct (ranging from subtle to intense) character, although individual characters of herbs and/or spices used may not always be identifiable. Underhopping often, but not always, allows the spice or herb to contribute to the flavor profile. Positive evaluations are significantly based on perceived balance of flavors. The brewer should list what herbs and/or spices are used, and may also list a classic style of base beer, to allow for accurate judging. Beer entries not accompanied by this information may be at a disadvantage during judging.
Original Gravity (ºPlato): 1.030-1.110 (7.5-27.5 ºPlato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.006-1.030 (1.5-7.5 ºPlato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 2-9.5% (2.5-12%)
Bitterness (IBU): 5-70
Color SRM (EBC): 5-50 (10-100 EBC)