christmas ale, take 2. any thoughts?
This is only my second post and i am still a noob so bear with me, but after a failed attempt at brewing my first holiday ale a month ago i decided it wasn't to late to try again...right? So seeing as this is sort of still my first christmas ale i thought this time id get some advice. I am going to start fermentation at about 61F and maybe slowly raise it up to 70F. The batch will total 4.6 gal and i have 10g dry Nottingham yeast to pitch. The recipe is....
Amount Fermentable PPG °L Bill %
6 lb Liquid Malt Extract - Pilsen 35 2 45.1%
2 lb Maris Otter Pale 38 3.75 15%
1 lb Belgian Candi Sugar - Amber/Brown 38 60 7.5%
1 lb Dry Malt Extract - Pilsen 42 2 7.5%
0.75 lb Molasses 36 80 5.6%
0.5 lb Caramel / Crystal 40L 34 40 3.8%
0.5 lb Dark Chocolate 29 420 3.8%
0.4 lb Flaked Oats 33 2.2 3%
0.3 lb Roasted Barley 33 300 2.3%
0.22 lb Munich - Light 10L 33 10 1.7%
0.22 lb Victory 34 28 1.7%
0.2 lb Carapils (Dextrine Malt) 33 1.8 1.5%
0.2 lb Black Patent 27 525 1.5%
Amount Variety Time AA Type Use
2 oz nb 60 min 12.3 Pellet Boil
1 oz Fuggles 15 min 4.5 Pellet Boil
Show Summary View
Amount Description Type Temp Time
10 qt Sparge 155 F 60 min
Amount Name Time Type Use
7 each cinnamon 15 min Spice Boil
10 each clove 15 min Spice Boil
Danstar - Nottingham Ale Yeast
57°F - 70°F
Any advice, tip/tricks, or thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated. So let me know.
Are you doing an mini mash or steeping?
oops. Its a mini mash with 10 quarts of water. 5 quarts at 155F mash temp for 1 hour and 5 quarts to sparge at 170F.
You have too many speciality malts in this imho. It will only taste brown and muddy, especially if you plan to spice it.
What are you trying to achieve ? What flavours are you shooting for ? Fruity/caramel type of stuff, or more of a robust, roasty, chocolate approach ? Winter ales range the gamut, from very pale to stout/porter in character. In England, some winter ales were just the finest pale malt they could buy while others were a bunch of sugar and high kilned malts. Or do you want a more American approach ?
Since you are using pils LME, maybe a mash a couple of pounds of Munich with a high lovibond caramel (80L) and adjust with chocolate malt for colour ? Then use invert sugar or candi sugar to boost gravity. That'd make for a bitching winter ale that would be ready to drink by Christmas.
It does sound like a wide range of grains and malts. I haven't tried a recipe that diverse myself, but could see how that might taste muddled on the pallet. I have made beers from grain bills with about half the variety you have there and they had plenty of complexity. To me it seems there is certain complexity added by the malt diversity, and other complexity added by the yeast. The two don't seem to overlap much. So if you want something that tastes more complex perhaps a more simple grain bill, and a more complex yeast.
thanks everyone for the ideas.
i didn't really think that all the different grains would make it taste worse, but it kind of makes sense.
@jfr1111 i like the idea of adding more munich, dropping the victory and maris otter. The style im looking for is a chocolaty spiced Imperial stout.
however i have had problems with past beers being just a tad to light bodied and also getting a thick head has eluded me. So i thought adding in the oats and carapills would help with that? Also i was thinking the lighter caramel40 would add more residual sweetness to offset any overly bitter flavor add by the black patent. is it not necessary?
Thanks again everyone
oats won't help with head retention, usually people add wheat or carapils for head but even that is more of a band aid for process issues. this is a good article on head retention: http://byo.com/stories/article/indices/35-head-retention/697-getting-good-beer-foam-techniques. You may just want to find a good Imperial stout recipe to use as a base and add some spices to it.
thanks peterj, that was a fun read. I guess i should have specified, carapils were to help head and oats for body or mouth feel. but now i see why adding carapils is more of a band aid. Still wondering though about the lighter caramel40 and if would add more residual sweetness to offset any overly bitter flavor add by the black patent or if its not necessary?
yeah I think it's probably a good idea to leave the caramel 40L in there.
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