Brewing with Coriander


coriander seeds

Coriander is an annual herb that actually grows into what we know as Cilantro, yeah the soapy tasting leaf in a bunch of South Asian dishes and Mexican salsa.  Usually if a recipe says to use coriander it refers to the seed of the plant rather than its leaves. The seeds have a citrus flavor when crushed, almost lemon like. Coriander seeds are sometimes used in brewing certain styles of beer, particularly some Belgian witbier and German Hefeweizens. When brewing wheat beers they are typically used with orange peel to add a citrus character to the beer.

Where can I get some?
You can pick up coriander at your local grocery store, just check out the exotic spice section. I usually grab some just before I am about to brew at the local home brew store here in Raleigh.  You should expect to pay anywhere from $1 to $1.75 per ounce.

How to brew with Coriander?
The average 5 gallon beer recipe requires 1 ounce of Coriander seeds which is about a hand full.  Grind them up with a coffee grinder or crush them with a mortal and pestle ( hammer and napkin) just before use.  They should be placed in a hop bag and added to the boil when 15 minutes or less remain, check out Brewing the Beer for more info on when to add.  I would not recommend adding coriander into the fermenter, I have heard stories of it completely destroying beer by giving it an overwhelming amount of coriander flavor.


8 Responses to “Brewing with Coriander”
  1. PNWBrew says:

    I’ve actually found that coriander purchased from the supermarket can be pretty old and flavorless. You’d be better off getting it from your local homebrew supply or a high quality spice purveyor. You can always order online from somewhere like if you don’t have somewhere near by. Also Indian grocers sometimes have really high quality coriander, if you live near one of those.

  2. Coffeeguy says:

    Coriander works pretty well with both “summer” and “winter” beers; I agree that there are big differences in quality depending on where you buy it…that goes for just about any spice. What I’d suggest is brewing a small batch the first time out and adjusting the amounts proportionately, that way if you get an overpowering flavor you’re not stuck with 5 gallons of it.


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