Spice Mix for Christmas Ale

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Beerthoven

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I'm brewing my 2008 Christmas ale in the next two weeks or so and I'm trying to decide on the spice mix.

Can anyone recommend a spice mix that they have used and liked in a Holiday ale?

I'm considering these two options, but I'm open to suggestions:

Option 1:
1/2 tsp Cinnamon (ground, dry)
1/2 tsp grated fresh Ginger
1/8 tsp Nutmeg (ground, dry)
1/8 tsp Allspice (ground, dry)

Option 2:
3/4 tsp Cinnamon (ground, dry)
1/2 tsp grated fresh Ginger
1/8 tsp Clove (ground, dry)
1oz Sweet Orange Peel


FWIW, the base beer is an English Old Ale (13# Maris Otter, 0.5# Crystal 60, 0.25# Crystal 120, 3oz Black Patent, 17AAU of Warrior at 60 mins, [email protected], OG = 1.081, 5.5 gallons)
 

Jacob

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I used spices similar to your option #2, but without the cloves. I'm not sure what sweet orange peel is, I just used a regular orange and grated the peel off. In my next batch I'm not going to use powdered cinnamon, I think I'll find some real vietnamese cinnamon sticks and put them in the secondary. Those amounts seem a little low to me though.
 
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Beerthoven

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Jacob said:
I used spices similar to your option #2, but without the cloves. I'm not sure what sweet orange peel is, I just used a regular orange and grated the peel off. In my next batch I'm not going to use powdered cinnamon, I think I'll find some real vietnamese cinnamon sticks and put them in the secondary. Those amounts seem a little low to me though.
A description of sweet orange peel:
"Traditionally used in Belgian beers, Sweet Orange Peels will not give you a metallic taste like some other kinds of Oranges tend to do. If you are familiar with the taste of Grand Marnier, this is the sort of flavor you will find in these peels. Great for that added depth in your holiday beer, strong ales, and Belgians. Add about 1/2 ounce for the last 15 minutes of the boil. Can be combined with Paradise seed and Honey for added depth."

I like the idea of adding a cinnamon stick to the secondary. How long would you leave it in? Do you need to do anything to it w/r to sanitation before adding it, or just drop it in?
 
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Beerthoven

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Tonedef131 said:
Are these spices typically added to the boil or the secondary?
Well, both actually. In my Option 1 for example, I'd add about 2/3 of the total to the boil in the last 1 minute and the rest in the secondary. I've never used spices before, this is just what I have read.
 

Jacob

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For mine I added all the spices with about 5 minutes left in the boil. I think with the cinnamon sticks I'm going to boil them in a small amount of water and add then dump the whole mixture in.

So I guess sweet oranges are just a variety of orange kind of like navel, I'll have to keep an eye out for those.
 

batesjer

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Jacob said:
For mine I added all the spices with about 5 minutes left in the boil. I think with the cinnamon sticks I'm going to boil them in a small amount of water and add then dump the whole mixture in.

So I guess sweet oranges are just a variety of orange kind of like navel, I'll have to keep an eye out for those.
+1. Bitter oranges are a variety different from what you find in your average market.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_(fruit)
 

miatawnt2b

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If you are using store bought oranges, use the zest for sweet orange peel, and use the whole peel for a more bitter variety. The more white part of the peel you use the more bitter.

-J
 

ALimpert

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Saw somebody asked about cinnamon sticks in the secondary. On my second batch of beer, a 5 gal pumpkin ale, I thought it'd be great to add a 4 inch cinnamon stick to the secondary. Kept it in there for 3 days and bottled it. After 2 months the cinnamon is still too strong. Almost undrinkable and burns a little. Definitely gunna just let this sit for a long long time. Lesson learned...cinnamon is one helluva spice.
 
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