Proven Sanitary Methods for Adding Flavor Agents

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ApothecaryBrewing

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Hey All,

So I am trying to gather as much information on this topic as possible. I typically stick to standard styles but every now and then like throwing some spice in my holiday beers or some chocolate or coffee or whatever in my stouts and such.

My question is this... How do you all go about adding these spices and flavoring agents in a sanitary way? I have tossed cinnamon and nutmeg in my winter warmer and gotten gushers. I have put vanilla and coffee in my stout and gotten something that tastes like vinegar.

The standard beers I do, IPAs and Reds and such, seem to be fine. It is only when I go to add flavoring agents that I seem to infect the hell out of my beer.

So... what do you do? How do you do? Let's get a nice list of best practices. Coffee, vanilla, spices, fruit, chocolate and whatever else you have added successfully... let me have it.
 

mtnagel

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Flavor extracts - I've added at bottling with no issues (including vanilla extract)

Vanilla beans - chopped up, soaked in whiskey for a week, then added to secondary (a bourbon barrel to be exact)

Coffee - this one will probably be controversial and there are lots of other threads on it, but here goes:
  • Brewed concentrated coffee in regular coffee maker, then cooled overnight and added to secondary. Many people say you will extract out the bitter compounds this way, but I liked the beer I made using this method.
  • Cold steeped coffee grounds overnight in room temp water, filtered and added to secondary. Tasted good, but I actually preferred the brewed coffee to this one.
  • Add grounds to end of boil. Again, many people say you will extract out the bitter compounds this way. Did a FBS clone like this, but haven't bottled it yet.
  • Add grounds after the boil when it's cooled to around 180F. This should avoid extracting the bitter components in coffee.
  • Add grounds or whole beans to secondary. Did a FBS clone like this, but haven't bottled it yet.

That's all I've added so far. Hope that helps and take everything I say with a grain of salt as I've only brewing about 2 years :)
 
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ApothecaryBrewing

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I cold brewed coffee... didn't think that was sanitary so I boiled it for 5 minutes after removing the grounds. I dont know if this worked or not, or added to the acrid sour tangy flavor that is my beer now.

For the vanilla I just boiled the chopped and scraped beans with the coffee thinking that would sanitize things... not sure how effective that was.

Anyone tried soaking coffee grounds in liquor? Do you get as much of the flavor as you would by brewing it hot or cold?

I just ask these questions because with every beer that I have made that has some odd flavoring addition, I get some nasty infection.
 
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