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Pie Spices For Pumkin Ale

I know that the spices are supposed to be added at bottling, but what is the reason for waiting until then? Can they not be added to the Boil? What about in with fermentation? Is there some kind of down side to adding them earlier? Is there any way to extract more of the flavor from these spices?

Sorry for all the questions, but I am getting ready to make a pumkin ale for Thanksgiving, and I want to make sure I maximize flavor and aroma.

Thanks for the help.

Adding during the boil or at flameout will result in reduced aromatics from the spices - boiling and the off-gassing of CO2 during fermentation will scrub them out. Adding at bottling lets you control exactly how much goes into the finished beer. If you want to boost the spice character, try toasting the spices before grinding.

OK…I am kegging, how to I make sure the whole.5 gallons has the aroma and flavor and not just the first handful that run from the keg?

The same way a scented candle spreads it’s fragrance throughout the house.

Spicing the keg, I would put the spices inside a panty hose leg so that they don’t clog the poppet.

Last year, I had very good luck making a tincture. I put a couple tablespoons worth of spices in a cup of rum around the time I brewed. When it came time to bottle, I added the spiced rum to the beer in my bottling bucket with a dropper. I did this little by little, stirring and tasting along the way, until I reached the level of flavor I wanted. This same procedure could be used in a keg, obviously.

[quote=“majorora”]OK…I am kegging, how to I make sure the whole.5 gallons has the aroma and flavor and not just the first handful that run from the keg?[/quote]Yeah, bottling procedure is the same as kegging - +1 to making a tincture with vodka and spices, then pour a glass of beer and add the tincture one drop at a time until the beer tastes right, then scale up the drop count to dose the whole keg (and use a little less than you think since it’s easier to increase the spices and impossible to reduce).

Okay, I think I am going to go the route of putting the spices in liquor and letting it sit until I keg. But I have seen two posts, one uses Rum and the other Vodka. Any ideas on which is best, or which would be best for a pumkin spice beer?

[quote=“majorora”]Okay, I think I am going to go the route of putting the spices in liquor and letting it sit until I keg. But I have seen two posts, one uses Rum and the other Vodka. Any ideas on which is best, or which would be best for a pumkin spice beer?[/quote]I do this every year with Vodka and it works great. I don’t use Rum because I don’t want to taste the rum coming through.

+1 to the vodka tincture, I’ve done this several times and it’s an excellent way to control the spice level in the beer. I like to put the spices in the vodka and leave it for a week or two prior to using in the batch.

I leave the spices in the vodka for the whole month that the beer is fermenting.

Out of curiousity, what quantity of say… pumpkin spice do you typically add to 5 gallons?

Anybody have a good recipe for making pumpkin spice? And how much to use? Last year I brewed an extract version of NB Smashing Pumpkin with some added spice at the end, but they provided the initial spice.

Spice Extract: add the following fresh spices to a
750 ml. bottle of vodka:
3 tsp. Cinnamon
1.5 tsp. Allspice
1.5 tsp. Nutmeg
1.5 tsp. Clove
1.5 tsp. Ginger
After a couple of weeks, the vodka has picked up
the spice flavors nicely. I decant off the “pumpkin
vodka” from the spices, and carefully add it to a 12
ounce serving of the pumpkin beer that has been in
the secondary. It usually takes 1-2 ml. to make the
beer taste the way I want (this year, 1.8 ml.). From
there, it is all math. Assume approx. fifty 12-ounce
beers in a 5 gallon batch (I make 5.5 gallons, but
lose approx. 1/2 gallon in racking/sampling, etc.).
1.8 x 50 = 90 ml. of the “pumpkin vodka” to add to
the finished beer, either while priming the beer, or
transferring to the keg. This results in a much more
consistent end product.

This may be a dumb question, but does the quality of the vodka matter much?

[quote=“majorora”]This may be a dumb question, but does the quality of the vodka matter much?[/quote]I thought long and hard about that today at the store and I decided to use 5:00 Vodka. $6 per 750ml bottle. I figure each keg is getting 90ml which is maybe a drop per glass and therefore, quality cannot matter so much. I did buy fresh spices because some of mine had a best before 2007 on the bottom.

Greg, what do you do with all that leftover vodka? Pumpkin pie white russian? I have only done this with 100mL so I don’t have much leftover.

[quote=“nyakavt”]Greg, what do you do with all that leftover vodka? Pumpkin pie white russian? I have only done this with 100mL so I don’t have much leftover.[/quote]I throw it out. I don’t drink booze and last year I took a little sip of the spiced vodka. I would not recommend that for anybody. It took hours to get the cloves out of my taste buds.

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