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I am stil fairly new to homebrewing; on my third batch of real ale now, and I wanted to experiment with adding a few extra things to my brew: some elderflowers, and miscellaneous herbs.

My idea was to boil a small handful of these leaves up in a pan, strain it, and pour it in.

However, I would like some opinion on when the best time in the process would be to throw this stuff in? My guess is that I should wait until it hits the pressure barrel, since I don't want to add any extra sugars etc that could upset the fermentation process.

Or should I simply wait until it's ready to pour before adding anything extra, at the very last minute?

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I would add the ingredients in late fermentation. When there is plenty of alcohol, minimal co2 blow off, but still active yeast. This will allow the yeast to consume those sugars, dominate the culture and preserve your flavor and aromatics of the adjucts.

Especially if the ingredients have fermentable sugars. Adding more sugars after fermentation has competed will upset the beers balance and possibly cause other issues in conditioning / storage / carbonation.

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    Thank you. So I am now currently at the stage of transferring from the fermenting bin to the pressure barrel. So I guess I'll throw in the elderflower mix with a little bit of extra sugar now then? (not much natural sugar in there I don't think) – Inigo Jun 4 '18 at 15:56
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I always recommend adding non fermentable flavorings as close to packaging as possible. This helps prevent that flavor and aroma from getting "blown out" by fermentation.

  • I completely agree with this for sanitary non-fermentables. – Evil Zymurgist May 28 '18 at 16:30
  • Thanks for your reply. By "packaging", I assume you mean putting the brew into either bottles or a pressure barrel, is that right? I always use a pressure barrel, and I am currently at the stage of transferring from the fermenting bin to the pressure barrel. So your advice is to add the elderflowers NOW.. is that right? – Inigo Jun 4 '18 at 15:54
  • Yeas, that would be my recommendation. – Denny Conn Jun 5 '18 at 16:06
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This as always depends on what you are adding. For elder flowers I would add these at the end of the boil/flame out like I would with my final hop addition.

Regarding other herbs, this would depend on the herb, but most bitter herbs I would add a few min from the end of the boil to extract thier oils, more delicate herbs I would add as you would dry hops.

If you are adding fruits or any other flavours which contain sugars, then I would add these immediately after your kraussen has dropped. ie while the yeast are still pretty active and will be able to chew through the sugars quickly so you don't spend motnhs waiting for the beer to ferment out.

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