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Old 08-28-2012, 12:35 AM   #1
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Default Christmas Ale Clone for my Wife Recipe Help

Hey everyone. Quick backstory:

My now-wife lived in the Fairfax, VA area for the past few years and became a huge fan of a brewpub called Sweetwater's Tavern (they have a couple locations), and especially their annual "Happy Trails Christmas Ale". It's a really good beer that she misses terribly now that we live outside Chicago. Last year before we got married, she moved out to Chicago to be with me, so this will be her first holiday season without any of the beer. As a thank you for putting up with my new "hobsession", I'd love to do my best to brew a clone for her. The beer has similar spices to a normal holiday beer, but it's much closer to an amber in flavor and appearance than some of the rich/dark ones I'm used to (Great Lakes, Goose Island, etc).

I contacted the brewer, and this is what he was willing to tell me:

"The grist involves german caramunich malts and caraaroma. No Black.
The hops used were Northern Brewer."

I plan on using a lot of freshly grated ginger, and a moderate amount of clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I have very little experience using the malts he mentioned, so that's what I was looking towards this community for help with!

How does this look:

6 lbs Light Dry Extract
1.5 lbs CaraMunich (Steeped)
.5 lbs CaraAroma (Steeped)
.5 lbs Carapils (steeped)

.5 oz Northern Brewer (60)
.5 oz Northern Brewer (30)

All at 10 minutes:
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp clove
1 tsp nutmeg
1 stick cinnamon

---

Taste, and add more spices at bottling as necessary.

According to TastyBrew, that's a 5.5% alcohol and the color looks about right.

I have no idea what kind of yeast to use...still learning about all those little guys.

Thanks! Appreciate it in advance.



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Old 08-28-2012, 11:50 AM   #2
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:03 PM   #3
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That's probably way too much C-malts. Drop the C-pils (there's some in the DME), reduce the C-munich to 1/2 lb and bump the DME to 7-1/2 lbs. That puts you in the 15% range. Adjust next year if necessary.

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Old 08-28-2012, 01:53 PM   #4
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Clove can be pretty powerful in a beer, I would suggest cutting that back to maybe 1/2 tsp. You can always add more in the secondary.

For yeast, I would suggest London ESB (Wyeast 1968) or something that favors a malty profile or low attenuation.

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Old 08-28-2012, 01:58 PM   #5
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Awesome thanks for the input guys. Is there a reason you want to avoid using too much cara malts? I've seen that before but not sure what is "too much". I was just adding until I got the color I wanted.

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Even ales take too long. I need something I can ferment during the boil and drink from the kettle!
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:09 PM   #6
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The recipe you show is almost 30% unfermentables. C-malts+C-pils. That's too much for any style. Beer will be loaded with body (mouthfeel) and will probably taste sweet. Don't know what style you are looking for but 30% is a bit much. An American Amber beer (if that what it is) might be in the 10-15% range. YMMV...

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Old 08-28-2012, 06:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poobah58
The recipe you show is almost 30% unfermentables. C-malts+C-pils. That's too much for any style. Beer will be loaded with body (mouthfeel) and will probably taste sweet. Don't know what style you are looking for but 30% is a bit much. An American Amber beer (if that what it is) might be in the 10-15% range. YMMV...
Ok that makes sense. I'm shooting for an Amber as that's the closest thing I can compare the beer to. It is a little sweet, so I'll probably target 15% to hit the top of the range.


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You have to grow old, you don't have to grow up.
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