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This is the small print where I deny everything and refuse to take any responsibility for anything. Any opinions given should not be taken as facts & any facts given should not be taken as opinions. As an extra precaution all the really small print is in white text, this is copyrighted .

E. & O. E.

Copyright www.petespintpot.co.uk  2008. First published 17 October 2008, last updated  20 January 2018.

Pete’s Pint Pot is dedicated to the home production & sensible drinking of beer, wine, cider & meads plus a little bit of china painting & a few bits of photograph tampering.

If you are affected by any of the articles on this site or any of the issues raised in them, I truly feel very sorry for you.

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famously said to brother Groucho,

  “Everybody knows there ain't no

     Sanity Clause!”


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#Home Herbs & Spices
& all things nice
           Herbs & spices play an important in role in the flavouring & keeping properties of beers & the flavouring of wines etc., especially meads. A few of them are briefly described here, along with some of their uses but first I must apologise for some of the units used - litres of flowers/leaves etc? Other botanicals are included in the list.


Assume a wort of 23 litres for beers & a wine/mead volume of 4.5 litres unless otherwise stated.

ALECOST (COSTMARY) (Tanacetum balsamita)
When adding leaves to ale, use carefully (max. 25g) as it is very bitter, best when used in conjunction with hops.

ALLSPICE (Pimenta dioica)
So named as it has a taste of cloves, cinnamon & nutmeg. Mainly used for wine/cider mulls etc. where 3-6 allspice berries (1-2 tsp ground) are used. Use up to 1 teaspoon of ground (1.9g) allspice per 23 litres, add 15 mins. from the end of the boil.

ANISE (Pimpinella anisum)
Provides a liquorice-like flavour, similar with some other spices - star anise, fennel & liquorice. For beer, add up to 1 teaspoon (1.9g) of ground allspice per 23 litres 15 mins. from the end of the boil.

2.25 litre or 60g dried in wine.

BASIL (Thai Basil or Sweet Basil) (Ocimum basilicum)
Use a late addition of 25-50g/23 litres of ale.

BLACK PEPPERCORNS (Piper nigrum: Black, White, Green - all form same plant)
Used for wine/cider mulls etc. For beer, try adding 0.5-1g ground pepper for the last 15 mins. of the boil.

As has a strong flavour, for beer, try adding 0.5-1g for the last 15 mins. of the boil.

Use the fresh flowers/leaves at the rate of 1 litre fresh/60g dried of per 4.5 litres of wine &, for ale, use up to 60g (fresh) at the end of the boil.

2 litres per 4.5 litres wine.

CARAWAY (Carum Carvi)
For 23l of beer, boil 5-15g for the last 15mins. Also used for wine/cider mulls etc.

CARDAMOM (Elettaria cardamomum)
The seeds have a spicy cola flavour & is used in some beers (try ½ tsp ground) but mainly used for wine/cider mulls etc. generally using 2-4 pods. 1 pod weighs approx. 0.18g.

Has a slightly floral & sweet apple-like flavour & aroma. The flowers can be used in beers, 6-60g at the end of the boil for aroma or at the beginning of the boil for bitterness. Alternatively, around 15g added to the 2nd fermentation.

CINNAMON (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
Mainly used for wine/cider mulls etc.  Try one or two 75mm sticks, for beer, try adding a stick for the last 15 mins. of the boil.

CLOVES (Eugenia caryophyllus)
Mainly used for wine/cider mulls etc. Use 2-6 cloves per 750ml bottle, use the same for beer, added for the last 15mins. Of the boil

Try using 1-4 litres of flowers or 7.5-30g dried per 4.5 litres wine.

CORIANDER (Coriandrum sativum)
Apparently “discovered” by Christopher Columbus in 1492 on his tour of the Americas, possibly thinking he was in Japan! Some Trappist, Abbey, saisons & witbiers use up to about 30g of coriander seeds per 23 litres, added added about 15 mins from the end of the hop boil. A more practical dosage will probably be 8- 20g, err on the side of caution. Also used for wine/cider mulls etc. Use 1-2 tsp ground coriander per 750ml of wine. Fresh leaves can also be used at half the weight of the seeds.

COSTMARY (See Alecost)

CUMIN (Cuminum cyminum)
Try 2-4g/23 liters. 1tps whole.

DANDELION (Taraxacum officinale)
Try 2.25 litres of heads (30 g dried) to 4.5 litres of wine. For beer, use 75-500g fresh at start of the boil for bitterness.

ELDERFLOWER (Sambucus nigra)
625ml or three large heads or 60g dried should be sufficient for 4.5 litres of wine.

FENNEL (Foeniculum vulgare)
Use up to 1 teaspoon per 23 litres of beer. Add 10 to 15 minutes from the end of the boil.

GARLIC (Allium sativum)
Any one fancy a garlic beer? They are available!

GINGER (Zingiber officinale)
A good starting is point is 25-50g of thinly sliced/grated root ginger (15 mins.) & 15-60g of ginger in the secondary fermenter or you may try the ginger in the secondary only. “Ginger Beer” requires typically 65g of root ginger per litre & for ginger wine try 50-150g for 4.5 litres. Good for wine/cider mulls.

GINSENG (Araliaceae)
Use the dried roots for ales at the rate of 10-60g added late to the boil.

GRAINS OF PARADISE (Aframomum melegueta)
Also known as “seeds of paradise” & “melegueta pepper”, it comes from the same family as cardamom (Zingiberaceae) & tastes like combination of black pepper, cardamom, lemon zest & more. Try ⅛ to 2 tsp per 23l of beer for the last 15 mins.

Gruit is a combination of herbs, some of the most common being bog myrtle, mugwort, yarrow, horehound & heather. Gruit recipes are not “fixed” & can include other herbs/spices such as black henbane, juniper berries, ginger, caraway seed, aniseed, nutmeg, cinnamon & hops. Steenbrugge Abbey beers include gruit.

1.8-2Kg for 4.5 litres.

1.8-2Kg for 4.5 litres.

HEATHER (Ericaceae family)
The Scottish Fraoch Heather Ale uses heather & bog myrtle in it’s recipe. As a starting point add 200ml of fresh heather flowers (or 100ml dried) to the hops for the last 40 mins. of the boil + 200ml (or 100ml dried) for the last 15 mins.

HOPS (Humulus lupulus)
See the Hops Page. May be use in meads & country wines for flavour.

JUNIPER (Cupressaceae or Cypress)
Used in all gins, the berries can also be added the (late) boil of ales at the rate of  15-30g OR the leaves can be added (25-120g) to the secondary fermenter.

LAVENDER (English Lavender: Lavendula Angustifolia, French Lavender: Lavandula stoechas)
Use up to about 20g of leaves (10 dry) about 15 mins from the end of the hop boil. Be Careful. Can be used for “dry hopping”.

LEMON BALM (Melissa officinalis)
Use 15g of fresh leaves per 23 litres of beer.

LEMON GRASS (Cymbopogon citratus)
Fresh stalks can be “dry hopped”, use up to 90g for 23 litres.

Similar use to orange peel.

2 litres per 4.5 litres wine.

LIQUORICE (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Liquorice or licorice adds sweetness, long-lasting head, colour & flavour to (strong) ales, 1 dried root stick (about 140-180mm long, 20-30g at a guess) should suffice per 23 litres, for the last 15-30 mins., time not critical. Surprisingly (?) not used for wines & ciders.

Mace is the aril (the lacy covering) of the nutmeg seed shell & is usually bright red or yellow in colour. The mace is removed from the shell, dried & its broken parts sold as “blades” or sold in powder form.

Try using 4.5 litres per 4.5 litres wine.

See Grains of Paradise.

MINT (Mentha spp)
A very versatile addition to many types of alcoholic & non-alcoholic drinks. Use for “dry hopping”, up to 30g for 23 l. Try 1 litre per 4.5 litres of wine. For ales, use up to 60g fresh mint (30g dried) late in the boil, equal amounts can be added to the secondary fermenter.

Typically a mixture of Cinnamon, Coriander seed, Caraway, Nutmeg, Ginger & Cloves is used. A rate of about 8 level 5ml tsp in 23 litres (equivalent) was used in my “Olde Wig Bender” & “Ginger IV” (2 tsp per 4.5 wine) recipes.

These are available as commercial sachets, typically containing a blend of crushed spices including coriander seed, allspice, cloves & nutmeg.
For 1 bottle (750ml) red wine, four simple recipes to make your own:-
2 sticks cinnamon
4 whole cloves
½ tsp grated nutmeg
Zest of 1 orange or lemon
100g demerara sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp dried ground orange peel
1 tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground nutmeg
85g demerara sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods
6 whole clove
6 allspice berries
6 whole black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick plus 4 for garnish (optional)
Other ingredients may include a star anise, 1 vanilla bean or ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract, 1-2 level tsp finely grated fresh root ginger, 1-2 Juniper berries, 1 (100mm or so) sprig rosemary, 2 bay leaves etc.
One word of advice, watch those cloves, some people (like me) may find that their taste is over-powering.

NASTURTIUM (Tropaeolum)
Use 1.25-2.5 litres of the fresh flowers & leaves late in the boil.

NETTLES (Urticaceae family)
On this prickly subject, typically use 250-500g (25-50g dried) for beer, added at the start of the boil. Nettle wine can also be made but I am unsure of the quantities involved.

NUTMEG (Myristica fragrans)
Used in wine/cider mulls etc. For beer try ½ tsp for the last 15 min. of the boil.

60g dried per 4.5 litres wine.

Coriander is often used in association with orange peel in beers. Try 5-15g the last 10-15 mins. to maximum of 30g. Try equal quantities of orange peel & coriander for the same amount of time. The bitter peel of the Curaçao orange is often preferred when used in beer making, the green fruit is not allowed to ripen & the peel is dried. Curaçao Island is situated in the Caribbean where the peel is used mostly in the production of making Curaçao liqueurs (which are usually BLUE in colour). Also used for wine/cider mulls etc.

PARSLEY (Petroselinum crispum - curled parsley)
Use 450-500g fresh parsley or 55-60g dried per 4.5 litres.

1.8-2Kg for 4.5 litres.

For wine use about 1-2Kg fresh hips, dried can be used - replace by about 25% of the original weight. Rose hips are said to be better after frosts - if the birds have not got to them first!


ROSEMARY (Rosmarinus officinalis)
For 23 litres, use up to about 55g of leaves & the associated stem, about 15 mins from the end of the hop boil. Also used for wine/cider mulls etc. with about 25g dried rosemary.

For 4.5 litres of wine add between 2-2.8 litres or 45-60g dried.

ROWANBERRY (Mountain-ash) (Sorbus aucuparia)
500g - 2Kg, 3Kg max.

SAGE (Salvia officinalis)
15-50g of fresh leaves midway through the boil to add some bitterness & a camphor-like aroma. 70g (10g dried?). For wines & meads try 10g.

SPRUCE (Picea spp.)
Re-cycle your old Christmas tree! For beer (23 l), use 10-100g of fresh spruce tips late in the boil, for wine (4.5 l) try 50g.

STAR ANIS (Illicium verum)
Mainly used for wine/cider mulls etc. For beer try ½ tsp for the last 15 min. of the boil OR use about 30g in the secondary fermenter.

For wines try 1 litre fresh or 60g dried per 4.5 litres.


4 tbs or 10 bags for 4.5 litres.

THYME (Thymus vulgaris)
Use 15g of fresh stems & leaves late in the boil. The same amount can also be added to the fermenter for a stronger aroma.

VANILLA POD (Vanilla fragrans)
Fresh vanilla pods have very little taste or aroma, but once cured, they are much better!
Mainly used for wine/cider mulls etc. Try a 25mm piece for the last 15 min. of the boil.

Use 1 to 2 teaspoons per 23 litres during secondary fermentation.

1-2.5 Kg for 4.5 litres wine.

WALLFLOWER (GILLIEFLOWER) (Genus: Erysimum, species: Cheri)
Use 300-500ml of wallflower petals as a starting point.

WOODRUFF (Galium odoratum)
Add 5-8g of the dried leaves to the secondary fermenter for a few days before bottling. Can be served with a dash of green woodruff in Berliner Weisse.

YARROW (Achillea millefolium - Asteraceae family)
Try 120-180g fresh flowers (60-90g dried) per 4.5 litres of wine. The flowers & leaves can be used for ales, try 80-150g fresh or 40-75g dried, added at the start of the boil, if “late hopping”, try 25g for last 15min.

Annual 2015