What are some creative ingredients and spices that people are adding to holiday beers?
Creative spices?....man, that's an open menu.
I've had "holiday" beers with everything from frankencence to pine cones in it. Though it's of corse up to personal taste, most holiday beers have the more "traditional"spices in them...you know, corriander, ginger, or pumpkin.....or really, anything you'd spice wine with. I find that most of these beers( in my opinion) become something other than beer, as the spice flavor over powers any beer flavors. It can be very difficult to make a beer with just the right "kiss" of spice and still be a great drinkable beer.
I found that the most common spices used are closely associated with pumpkin pie spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and orange (peel). Just recently I looked up Wassail recipes on the Internet. They had some other spice programs that would fit easily with a belgian holiday ale or a brown. As for amounts I have always played it on the conservative side and then make a "tea" if the flavor is too low. Good Luck!
Last edited by dabrewer; 10-27-2002 at 04:52 PM.
Here is a couple ingredients I use in my XMAS beers. I have added ground peppercorns and lime zest to the boil. I also have added shaved ginger in my hopback along with the hops to the above recipe. This was done on a 7 BBL batch. Very nice results. As the beer aged the ginger flavor mellowed and the lime/pepper flavors increased. The base beer was a 6.5% IPA.
I've used cinnamon, nutmeg, freshly grated ginger, sweet orange peel, and cloves (go easy on the cloves). I start with a 15 degree P beer heavy in high kilned malts (munich, aromatic, etc.), hop to around 12 IBU so the spices show. I would be glad to share my 1993 GABF Silver Medal (Spice/herb) winning formula if you are interested.