How to flavor beer? (5 ways how)

In this article, we will answer the question “How to flavor beer?”, and what flavors can be added to a beer?

How to flavor beer?

Flameout addition

Flameout is the time between boiling and chilling the wort before allowing it to ferment in the fermentation tanks. After boiling the wort, the flame is turned off but the wort is hot enough(200℉) to absorb flavors. During the flameout period, fruit peels such as lemon, lime, and orange, flavorful supplements like honey, and spices such as the pumpkin pie spice are added.

Dry hopping

Dry hopping involves adding flavors to the fermentation tank after the primary fermentation has finished. This method of adding flavors is particularly used for the IPA’s and pale ales. Dry hopping is named so because the hops are not boiled before adding to the fermentation tank.

Cold-crash extract

This method involves lowering the temperature of the fermented beer before carbonation to the refrigerated temperatures. Doing so makes the yeast dormant and forces it to suspend out of the beer resulting in a clearer brew. 

During this cold-crashing time, flavors like real fruits are added. The added fruits stay unfermented due to the dormant state of the yeast and impart sweet fruity hints to the beer flavor.

In the mash

Some fruits and vegetables can be added while the grains are being mashed to extract wort. The wort extracts the flavor of the added fruits. The drawback of this method is that the end-product has a cooked flavor of the fruits rather than fresh. Moreover, the fruit extract or juice in the wort undergoes primary fermentation resulting in the loss of most fruit flavor.

In hot wort

Fruits can be added directly to the wort during boiling. The fruit chunks are removed before primary fermentation with a strainer. Another way is to wrap the fruit in a nylon bag and lower the bag in the wort. The wort boils and the flavors are extracted. The fruit extracts and concentrates can also be added to the wort after the wort has cooled down to  160° F.

In secondary fermentation 

Adding the fruits during the secondary fermentation preserves the fresh flavor of the fruits with minimum aroma losses. However, it might contaminate the beer. Green beer, which has a low enough ph and a high enough alcohol, can withstand these contamination levels.

What flavors can be added to a beer?

Add fruit and spices

Fruits like fresh strawberries, spices like basil, cardamom, or vanilla beans can be added to flavor beer. Raspberries, particularly, pair well with Stouts or Porters.

Make a barrel-aged homebrew

To make a barrel-aged brew, bourbon barrels are used. To mimic this, soak oak cubes in any liquor that you prefer, then add this mixture of soaked chips and the liquor to the beer during the secondary fermentation.

Use 1/2 ounce of oak cubes for every 1-gallon batch of beer for a balanced oaky flavor in your beer. Use 2 ½  oz. for a 5-gallon batch of beer. After adding it to your beer, wait for a week to 2 months for the flavor to develop.

Swap the hops

Use different hops for different flavors. For fruity flavors, use pineapple and apricots or grapefruit with lemon zest. Ads hop with pine wood or chocolaty flavor. Consider the AA% of the beer before substituting to prevent your beer from becoming bitter.

Swap the yeast

Any strain of yeast can be used to brew beer. You do not have to stick to using hefeweizen yeast to make German wheat beers or Belgian strains to brew Belgian Trappist ales. Each yeast strain provides a different flavor to the end-product. 

California yeast makes a clear and crisp beer, Saison yeast results in a mildly fruity beer, English yeast strains are best suited for sweet and malted taste. 

Swap the amber ale with an English yeast strain to make mimic classic British pub beer. Note that it is important to use ale yeasts for ale beers and lager yeasts for lager beers. Because both these yeasts require different temperatures to grow.

Swap the grains

Play with the number of base malts to produce homebrew with a variety of alcohol content. For example, substitute American pale malts for a British variety. Similarly, you can also use a darker or lighter roast than called for.


Chiles like Habanero, capsaicin, and green chilies can be added to flavor your beer. Every type of chile will impart a different flavor profile to the beer. Some will add earthy and tropical flavors while others will make it fruity, smoky, and hot.

Other FAQs about Beer which you may be interested in.

How long does it take to cool a beer in the freezer?

How long does a keg of beer last?

What does imperial beer mean?


In this article, we answered the question “How to flavor beer?”, and what flavors can be added to a beer?


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.