Beer Style: Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer (21A)
Recipe Type: extract
Yield: 5 US gallons
I've used cloves for spiced ales, and my advice would be go easy. It doesn't take much to add that character. I had good luck by simmering 3- 4 whole cloves (not crushed) in water, then adding the whole thing to the primary. The flaw with a lot of commercial Xmas brews is that the spices overwhelm the flavor of the beer rather than complement it.
I'm normally an all-grain brewer, but this is a twist on a kit beer. I find that spices tend to mask any sort of "canned" flavors, and with the time you save you can brew a lot of it, like for a party. The spices balanced perfectly after a few weeks in the bottle.
The flavors balance very nicely after only a short aging time, but it gets better after a couple of months. An excellent holiday beer.
Simmer spices, hops, and zest of 1 orange in 1 quart water for 30-45 minutes. Make Brown Ale according to 3.6 gallon recipe. Add spice mixture (do not strain) and zest of other three oranges to wort. Ferment, strain, and bottle according to kit instructions.
Source: Jeff Benjamin