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I've made a Witbier with tangerine peel and coriander. Though Randy Mosher's Radical Brewing suggests chamomile as a good "secret ingredient" for Witbiers, I didn't have any on hand when brewing, so i missed my chance to add it to the boil (and I've wondered how well the taste and aroma would persist anyway).

So now i have a few options:

  1. Add it directly to the secondary (akin to dry hopping), maybe after a little boiling to avoid introducing bacteria
  2. Make some chamomile tea and add that at bottling
  3. Make a spice potion with vodka or the like, and add that at bottling time

The question: which is most likely to impart the best taste and (secondarily) aroma? And how much would you suggest for a 5 gallon batch?

I want it to still taste like beer, not chamomile tea, but I'd like to impart a reasonable amount of flavor to the result.

Concerns I respectively have for the the above options are:

  1. I'm not sure the essence will get released without boiling.
  2. I've seen other recommendations for this, with some complaining the result was too strong.
  3. I've seen one opinion elsewhere that this spice potion approach doesn't wind up producing much flavor.
share|improve this question
Chamomile (and most other infusions) require heat to extract their oils / essences. It's reasonably common in brewing Witbiers to use chamomile by adding it to steep at flameout. The water will still be hot enough to kill off most of the bugs on the chamomile leaves, while not being hot enough to compromise the extracted essence. Others add it to the boil for the full 60 minutes, which I believe provides slightly different characteristics from the chamomile. Also, you can use either chamomile flowers, or tea bags. Amounts used in the linked examples range from 2 grams - 4oz per batch - how muc – BrianV Mar 3 '14 at 15:07

Go with the tea. You'll extract the flavor and sanitize the chamomile.

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Can you suggest a quantity for 5 Gal. – Another Compiler Error Mar 3 '14 at 16:40
Anywhere from .5-4 oz. depending on how much chamomile flavor you want. I like a well integrated flavor so that it doesn't stand out, so I usually use .5-1 oz. – Denny Conn Mar 3 '14 at 17:40

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