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Old 08-17-2008, 11:51 PM   #1
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Default "Aging" a Christmas Old Ale

I made a Christmas Old Ale in early July; here's the recipe:

9lb XLDME
2lb Munich
1lb Crystal 60L
1lb Crystal 120L
3/4oz Warrior (16.4%) 60 min
1oz Goldings, NZ (4.1%) 10min
1 Orange Peel 15 min
2 cloves (crushed) 1 min
1/2tsp cinnamon, ground 1 min
Wyeast 1187 Ringwood Ale

1/2 cup vodka infused with 1 cinnamon stick for 3 weeks (secondary)

OG: 1.078, FG 1.017, ABV: 8.11%, IBU: 38.8

Right now, it's been 4 weeks in the primary and 2 in the secondary. Judging by the samples, the flavor is a combination of caramel, cinnamon, and a bit of alcohol heat. Cloves show up in the background, and maybe a touch of dark fruit from the yeast. However, caramel, cinnamon, and heat are front and center.

I've got this idea to split the batch into 2 2.5 gallon carboys in tertiary fermentation, and drop some oak chips and brettanomyces into one of them, to create an variation on the aging affect. Given the cinnamon, caramel, fruit, and clove flavors, I'd want the sourness of the brettanomyces to be mild, maybe just a slight twang in the taste. I could take or leave the oak, but figured that the brettanomyces and oak combo would be more "authentic", and the flavors would meld well. However, I've never used brett or tried tertiary fermentation, and still want this ready to drink in December. I'm probably a bit out of my league with this idea. Can I get some advice on whether to try this approach, and what may work best? Also, what brettanomyces product should I use if I proceed?

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Old 08-18-2008, 12:36 AM   #2
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Brett works slowly. You could try adding lactic acid instead. About 10ml would provide a pretty good twang.

I like the oak chips idea.

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Old 08-18-2008, 10:53 AM   #3
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Thanks, Saccharomyces. I'll have to read up on lactic acid. Do you just drop it into the secondary?

I'm still back and forth on oak chips. Possibly, I could soak them in Jack Daniels, and add both. Maybe the Jack itself would lend a twang, if I used enough. I just want to be careful not to overdo it.

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Old 08-18-2008, 03:35 PM   #4
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Lactic acid should give some of the Brett effect (souring) though it won't be quite the same. You can add it when transferring/bottling or in the secondary.

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Old 08-19-2008, 01:31 AM   #5
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Alright; I'm racking to 2 2.5 gallon carboys; one with oak chips.

I'll decide onthe lactic acid at bottling time...thanks for the tip!

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