How can I make flavored beer

How can a beer be flavored?

Ok, the basic brewing process is as follows (not a homebrewing detail here, just a distant overview):

Heat your wort with water, soak it, then add hops and cook, adding more hops when you start cooling. Once cooled enough, add the yeast, ferment, and bottle.

Flavored beers can be made in a number of ways. For example, you can add herbs, spices, or flavorings before, after, or after cooking. Seeds and roots would usually be added before cooking; Herbs would normally be added after. I would probably add fruit after that, but people could argue about that forever. If you buy something like smoke-flavored beer, chilli-flavored beer, etc., they are likely made this way.

However, there is a second type of flavored beer that I have seen for sale in certain bars and restaurants in Asia. There you take a fairly light draft beer and add it to a glass along with a dash of flavor syrup (like lychee or peach). These usually have a sweeter taste with clearer fruit flavors than the fermented fruit beers. If the beer is pasteurized, the flavor can be added prior to bottling and carbonation. I think you can see that.


Typically, additives (fancy term for extra things that are added) that are added during the cooking process try to extract soluble things from them and usually appear as "clues to X". If you want the flavor to be highlighted, the additives are added during the fermentation process (called dry hopping, but it can also be done with things other than hops). You can of course also add oranges (for example) in the boiling AND fermentation phase. I've even seen people put additives in a French press, pour the beer in, then squeeze the beer into a glass.


Don't forget that the bitter plant used isn't always hops: swamp myrtle, nettles, and some other weird and wonderful botanicals are used. In fact, both of the above were widespread in the UK before hops were introduced.