Juniper berries have a strong pine-like, resinous flavor that is slightly bitter, however, as they mature their flavor becomes fresher with notes of citrus. When crushed their pungent aroma is cedar like.
Whole Juniper berries should be crushed or ground prior to use to release their flavor. To make a tea, add one teaspoon crushed 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 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 bodied beers.
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.