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Brewing with Spices


I plan to make a honey wheat in a few days. It will be my first time brewing with honey (inspired by a recent BYO article). I was considering the addition of some spices too. Rather than adding the spices (coriander and orange peel) with 5-10 minutes left in the boil; I was considering adding them to a secondary. I want to do this because I plan on splitting the batch after primary as I want to compare the honey wheat as a stand alone beer but, also want to see what kind of twist comes through with the spice addition. I seem to recall reading that the use of spices should be limited when using honey. Does anyone have any experience in brewing with both honey and spice…if so, any recommendations?

Because honey often has delicate flavors, spices can come across strongly. Decide how much spice you want to use, then use 1/2 or 1/4 of that much. Even better would be to make a spice tincture. Soak some of the spice in vodka and try different measured amounts in measured samples. then scale it up. Listen to the Jamil Show spice beers podcast from the Brewing Network.

I make a Honey Weizen somewhat like NB’s, but altered a little. It’s a house staple for my wife. I add 1lb of honey late in the boil. 1/2oz coriander and 1/2oz cardamon and fresh orange zest from 3 medium oranges. The spices are light, but there. Not too overpowering. I have considered adding the zest to the secondary instead of the boil, but haven’t actually tried that yet.

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