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The Creative Potential of Coriander

In Belgian wits, saisons, goses, and even richer Belgian beers, coriander can contribute bright citrus flavors, but it can also ruin a perfectly good beer. Here, we explore how to select, prepare, and use coriander to its best advantage.

Eric Reinsvold Jun 8, 2016 - 5 min read

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Coriander is an ancient and storied spice that has been found in numerous archaeological digs across the world. As a spice, you know you’ve made it when the ostentatious King Tutankhamon decides to keep you around for eternity so as to ward off evil spirits (or at least the rotting corpse smell).

In brewing, coriander seed, the dried fruit of the Coriadrum sativum plant, is most commonly associated with Belgian wits, but can be found in saisons, goses, and even richer Belgian beers (Rochefort 10 uses just a touch for a light citrus complexity). For an ingredient that is used in such a small portion, it can contribute huge flavors, but—if not handled with care—it can ruin a perfectly good beer. So, let’s look at how to select, prepare, and use coriander to its best advantage in your brewing.

The common refrain from “homebrew experts” is to avoid grocery store coriander. I’ll repeat this advice, despite my questionable “expert” credentials, because it’s rooted in several reasonable notions.

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