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Is there a guide for when & how to add specific ingredients to the fermentation process?

For example, if I want honey, lemon, ginger, banana, raspberry, etc. - when's the best time to add that ingredient?

  • Are you looking for reference material or a guiding principle to make these decisions? I would suggest looking up recipes, they should say when to add the spices. – Pepi Dec 28 '14 at 14:29
  • I am not aware of such a guide. Randy Mosher is a noted expert on adding spices, fruits, and other adjuncts to beer, and he has published a book called "Radical Brewing" that contains many useful tables. – Chino Brews Dec 29 '14 at 16:16
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    It' also covered extensively in my book "Experimental Homebrewing". – Denny Conn Dec 29 '14 at 16:56
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I am not aware of such a guide, and I believe I would know if an authoritative guide existed.

Opinions vary on each of these items, as it is a matter of what sort of aroma, flavor, or effect you are looking to achieve with any addition, as well as personal taste. For example, honey may be added to add sugar or for its flavor.

Randy Mosher is a noted expert on adding spices, fruits, and other adjuncts to beer, and he has published a book called "Radical Brewing" that contains many useful tables. He also has published numerous articles on related beer additions, many of which are legally published for free online. Other sources, such as Brew Your Own magazine, have published numerous guides and spreadsheets over the years covering portions of the universe of beer additions.

Otherwise, I recommend searching for the particular item you wish to add, and then posting a question if that question has not been answered.

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In general, the more character you want from your additions, the later you should add them. For the things listed in the OP, I would wait til fermentation has finished, then rack to secondary and add the fruits/spices there.

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  • Agreed. For example, adding honey to the boil in my experience is just an expensive way of increasing the gravity, but used to prime, much less honey produces much more flavor and character. – Wyrmwood Jan 5 '15 at 2:26
  • I haven't found that priming with honey produces any noticeable effects at all. I did a blind tasting comparing various priming agents, including honey, table sugar and force carbing. In a blind tasting, no one could tell one from another nor had a preference for any of them. – Denny Conn Jan 5 '15 at 17:07
  • I think it depends on your sense of smell. I can't taste brown sugar as well, but I have friends who notice it without being told. One from across the room. – Wyrmwood Jan 5 '15 at 20:47
  • Also, it makes a big difference if you boil it. Raising the temp and holding it to around 170, without letting it reach a boil, produces more flavor. – Wyrmwood Jan 5 '15 at 20:49
  • We'll see soon. Next week, I'm going to begin an evaluation of the effects of various sugars in a standard wort. – Denny Conn Jan 6 '15 at 16:43

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