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I would like to use whole, lightly crushed spices for a pumpkin ale. I have (so far) had no luck finding a good recipe for the mix. While the ingredients themselves are up to personal taste (cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, clove, allspice, etc.) all of the mixes and ratios I have been able to find are for "ground" spices.

Does anyone have any experience in this arena that would be willing to share their mix/ratios?

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2 Answers 2

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I would assume just like in cooking you'd want to break up and grind whole spices a bit anyway to release their oils. Purchase your spices of choice whole then grind what you need for the best effect in the beer. I don't think you'd get as much punch using the spices whole regardless of ratio.

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DUH! I am an idiot. My reason for using whole spice is that I don't trust the viability. Who knows how long that stuff has been sitting on the shelf. While I had already planned on crushing the whole spices to increase surface area I don't know why it never occurred to me to just go all the way and grind them myself. Thanks! –  Uncle Jubba Sep 16 '11 at 21:19

If your desire to use the whole spices is to reduce the cloudiness, I'd use a small brew sack with the ground spices in it. You'll get better flavor extraction because of the greater surface area in the fine ground spices, and the spices are easily removed. I use canned pumpkin spice from the baking section at the grocery store that has been tied up in a portion of brew sock material (instead of mixing the individual ground spices). Just finished my last bottle of pumpkin spice cider this week and it aged very well. Oh, and heat the spice in the bag in a microwave for about 10 seconds, this volatilizes the oils and you get a better flavor extraction).

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Hey @drj, my reason for using whole is a freshness thing. As brewchez pointed out, rather than my planned light crush I could just go all the way and grind it which would allow me to use any of the many "recipes" for the mixture I have already found. –  Uncle Jubba Sep 16 '11 at 21:22
    
can't argue with that freshness thing. I grind my own when I have the time. Cheers. –  drj Sep 17 '11 at 6:53
    
BTW - here is a recipe for pumpkin spice that I have used in the past, that tasted pretty close to the commercial stuff and had rave reviews: Mix 1/4 cup cinnamon with 1 tablespoon each of ground ginger, nutmeg, and ground cloves. –  drj Sep 17 '11 at 7:08

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