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Video:Brew Beer: How to Flavor Homebrewed Beer

with Dennis Hill

There are a number of things you can use to add distinctive, delicious flavors to your home-brewed beer. This About.com video will teach you some ways to flavor home-brewed beer.See Transcript

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Transcript:Brew Beer: How to Flavor Homebrewed Beer

Hi, I'm Dennis Hill for About.com, and today, I'm going to talk about how you can add flavors to your home-brewed beer. 

Walk down any aisle in a well-stocked beer store and you'll see a wide variety of beers brewed with added flavors. Whether it's fruits, herbs and spices, or other flavorings, adding flavors to your home-brewed beer will definitely open up interesting new avenues for creativity. 

Flavoring Beer: Fruit

The first flavoring option I'd like to talk about is probably the most popular, and that's fruit. Raspberries, cherries, blueberries and apricots have all been used to make great beers.

If you want to brew a beer with a fruit flavor, there are a few things to bear in mind. First, the strong flavor of many beers can overpower your fruit of choice. So I find it's best to brew fruit into lighter tasting beers and ales. You can use fresh or frozen fruit, canned purées, or fruit extracts, which are available at your finer homebrew supply stores. If you use fresh fruit, it's a good idea to freeze it first – this breaks down the cell walls and releases more flavor and aroma into your beer. 

Flavoring Beer: Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices offer another option for flavoring your home brewed beer, and here there are tons of options. The most widely used herbs and spices include mint, rosemary, and basil, and popular spices include cinnamon, coriander, vanilla and orange peel. I've brewed a delicious stout by adding split vanilla beans and about 2 ounces of orange peel. I also recently made a ginger pilsner, using fresh ginger – I simply grated it coarsely and added it to the boil.   

Flavoring Beer: Oak Chips

Many home brewers like to add oak chips to the secondary fermenter, to mimic the flavors found in barrel-aged IPA's or Belgian beers. These also should go into the secondary fermenter – not the boil – and make sure you sanitize them before you add them. 

Flavoring Beer: Honey

Finally, you may have heard about the White House chefs brewing a beer with honey collected from the White House grounds. Adding honey to your boil will add a definite honey flavor to your beer – and it will also round off the sharper flavors and leave a gentle sweetness. If brewing with honey interests you, I'd suggest checking out the White House recipe, which is posted online. 

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