Juniper berries have a strong pine-like, resinous flavor that is
slightly bitter, but as they mature their flavor becomes fresher and
even has citrus notes. Imagine the flavor of gin whose main flavoring
agent is Juniper berries. When crushed their pungent aroma is cedar
Whole Juniper berries should be crushed or ground prior to use to
release their flavor. To make a tea, add 1 teaspoon juniper berries to
one cup of water, boil for two minutes, remove form the heat, cover and
let the mixture steep for ten minutes before testing. A stronger
strained tea can be made with one half to one ounce of juniper berries
and two cups of boiling water, which can be added to secondary
fermentation to impart the juniper flavor to beers.
Juniper berries are a very strong spice and as such should be
added to beers very sparingly, sometimes just a few crushed berries is
enough to impart a distinct juniper flavor. Use up to one ounce in
stronger beers for a five gallon batch if you really enjoy the flavor of
Juniper berries, or a half ounce for a subtler flavor in full flavored
Add Juniper berries during the last 15 minutes of boil.
The flavor of Juniper berries in beer mellows over time, so aging
a juniper flavored beer will tame the spice's strong flavor.