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-   -   First taste of Christmas Ale....not so good... (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/first-taste-christmas-ale-not-so-good-368054/)

mthelm85 11-16-2012 01:05 AM

First taste of Christmas Ale....not so good...

501irishred 11-16-2012 02:15 AM

Spiced beer I assume? Give it time.....

jeburgdo 11-16-2012 04:03 AM

Recipe/fermentation details?

...give it time...

501irishred 11-16-2012 06:02 AM

I've had several beers that I thought I had ruined somehow, only to find after they aged "properly" were some of my favorites. Looking back, most were spiced beers of some kind (pumpkin spice, Christmas spice, Winter warmer spice...............you get the picture)

Hope this is the case with yours!

mthelm85 11-16-2012 09:14 PM

Haha, I wasn't expecting any replies, thanks for caring! I erased my original message because I concluded that it just needs more time. It's actually not spiced, here's what I did:

75% 2-Row
11% Crystal 120
11% Honey Malt
3% Brown Malt

.4 oz Galena 60 mins.
1 oz Sterling 15 mins.
1.5 oz Sterling 5 mins.

OG 1.051, FG should be about 1.014 for 4.9% ABV, IBU 45, BU/GU .9, fermented w/ Wyeast 1272.

The idea was to brew a relatively low-gravity Christmas beer. I wanted lots of dark fruit flavors and some residual sweetness, hence the large % of 120 and honey malt, but I wanted a touch of roastiness in there too so I added 3% brown malt (one of my favorite malts, by far). I also wanted it to be nice and hoppy so I chose some "spicy" hops for the Christmas theme. I guess you could say I was inspired by Deschutes Jubelale but I wasn't going for a clone, I used it as inspiration and then formulated the recipe based on my own imagination and personal taste.

I really don't brew many hoppy beers, I guess you could call me a malthead (versus a hophead) and in my experience my hoppy beers always take longer to mellow out. I checked the gravity yesterday for the first time and I'm at 1.016 so I have a couple of more points to go to hit FG but the flavor of the sample was terrible. After thinking about it, I realized that it tastes like freshly boiled wort - the hop bitterness just dominates and is kind of gross. Even my malty beers that are very lightly hopped (think Scottish Ale) have this taste right after the boil so I think this beer has enough hops in it that it's going to take a while for that hop harshness to mellow out.

jeburgdo 11-16-2012 09:48 PM

It may take a bit more time for your liking if you're not a hop guy, but given that you haven't even bottled, I would be far from giving up hope on it just yet... It seems like a pretty tasty recipe to me.

501irishred 11-16-2012 10:05 PM

Your grain bill sound really good! Id actually be interested in know how this one ages........

What is Galena?

Saxomophone 11-17-2012 01:01 AM

That much hops right at the end seems more in line with an IPA. Give it a couple months for the hop presence to settle down.

mthelm85 11-17-2012 02:25 PM


Originally Posted by 501irishred (Post 4596713)
Your grain bill sound really good! Id actually be interested in know how this one ages........

What is Galena?

Galena hops are a widely used bittering hop. From what I understand they were Brewer's Gold that were openly pollinated so it's a hybrid hop but it's a really high alpha acid (the ones I have now are 13.4%, that's why I only needed .4 oz) hop that produces nice, clean bitterness.

Sterlings are just a nice spicy hop in my opinion. They do have a touch of citrus in my experience but when I'm looking for spiciness, they are my go-to hop.

I knew I was going high with my IBU's, the BU/GU is .9 on this one which is definitely approaching IPA bitterness as Saxomophone said, but I really expected the crystal 120 and honey malt to be able to stand up to that. I'm thinking it will, I'm going to leave it in the carboy for another week and I'll be at FG by then, then I'll bottle and age for another 3 weeks and then I'll post again to this thread to let you know how it turns out.

501irishred 11-18-2012 04:00 AM

Sounds good, I look forward to your results.

As for the Galena hops, I'll have to give them a try. May have to go on line, I've never seen them in my LHBS.

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