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Old 07-06-2012, 05:21 PM   #1
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Default Belgian Christmas recipe advice

I'm planning on brewing a Belgian-esque Christmas ale at some point over the next few weeks, and would like some advice on my recipe. For a 23 litre (6 US gallon) batch:

Fermentables
- pale malt: 5kg (61.73%)
- sugar: 1.5kg (18.52%)
- Munich: 1kg (12.35%)
- biscuit malt: 0.4kg (4.94%)
- crystal 60: 0.2kg (2.47%)

Hops
- Saaz: 50g @ 60 minutes
- Saaz: 30g @ 30 minutes

Spices
- orange peel
- clove
- ginger
- cinnamon

Target OG: 1.084 (target ABV: 9%)

How does this look? Also, would it be ok to bottle after a three week primary then leave to mature until Christmas, or will this require a secondary?

Thanks!

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Old 07-07-2012, 02:24 AM   #2
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I'm not a specialty beer expert, but I feel like there are too many spices. When tasting specialty beers at a homebrew competition, the best ones had 1-2 spices. Too many, and the flavors get muddled. Think about what works well together in baking and cooking and go off that. To me, orange, ginger, clove, and cinnamon don't balance, but that's my opinion.

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Old 07-07-2012, 12:58 PM   #3
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I'm not a specialty beer expert, but I feel like there are too many spices. When tasting specialty beers at a homebrew competition, the best ones had 1-2 spices. Too many, and the flavors get muddled. Think about what works well together in baking and cooking and go off that. To me, orange, ginger, clove, and cinnamon don't balance, but that's my opinion.
Couldn't disagree more. Take a look at my Belgian XMAS beer in my recipe drop down. It's a great beer and has a number of spices. BTW, be careful with the ginger.
Oh, and secondary when spicing is a must IMHO...
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Old 07-07-2012, 01:28 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Poobah58 View Post
Couldn't disagree more. Take a look and by Belgian XMAS beer in my recipe drop down. It's a great beer and has a number of spices. BTW, be careful with the ginger.
Oh, and secondary when spicing is a must IMHO...
Would you spice during the boil or in the secondary? If you were to spice just during the boil, wouldn't an extended bottle maturation have the same effect as a secondary?
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Old 07-07-2012, 01:56 PM   #5
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Not to say, it can't be done, but the better specialty beers I've had tend to highlight a couple spices, or even a single spice. The other spices may be present to build complexity. I too would be careful with the ginger, too much could easily dominate your beer. For a Christmas beer, I would think the cinnamon and clove would be more pronounced than the orange and ginger. Also, using an exotic cinnamon may work better than the generic grocery store variety.

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Old 07-07-2012, 06:19 PM   #6
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Would you spice during the boil or in the secondary? If you were to spice just during the boil, wouldn't an extended bottle maturation have the same effect as a secondary?
I spice during boil and secondary. I secondary to clear it up a bit and to give it a good taste test. I taste before adding anything to secondary to be sure it needs it...
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Old 07-07-2012, 07:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poobah58 View Post
Couldn't disagree more. Take a look and by Belgian XMAS beer in my recipe drop down. It's a great beer and has a number of spices. BTW, be careful with the ginger.
Oh, and secondary when spicing is a must IMHO...
I agree here. I did a nice "Kring-ale" last year that knocked my socks off. Put a small cinnamon stick, a few cracked allspice berries, 1/2tsp of ground ginger, and 1/2tsp of bitter orange peel in at flameout. Tasted like a gingerbread cookie with the Maris Otter.
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Old 07-07-2012, 08:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poobah58
btw, be careful with the ginger.
+1
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Old 07-08-2012, 01:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DobrePivo View Post
I agree here. I did a nice "Kring-ale" last year that knocked my socks off. Put a small cinnamon stick, a few cracked allspice berries, 1/2tsp of ground ginger, and 1/2tsp of bitter orange peel in at flameout. Tasted like a gingerbread cookie with the Maris Otter.
The gingerbread flavour is what I'm hoping to get out of this. Do you think the grain bill is adequate?
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