Yeah...it's Christmas, I'm making a Christmas themed beer and slightly embarrassed about it but I have to.
I'm playing around with some ideas here. The recipe I'm developing hopefully binds together the whole holiday package and experience. I'm talking some almond, cinnamon and vanilla, little chocolate here and there, a yule tide fire all topped off with a good old fashioned Christmas tree.
I just need some advice on the Christmas tree. I absolutely do not want pine intruding into my beer flavor. Subtle to none if I can help it. I've already picked some piney hops thanks to the assistance provided here (thanks bobbrews), but I feel like that isn't going to be enough in the aroma department. I'm looking at Juniper or Rosemary at this point, but I equally hate the overpowering taste of both of these when used in cooking. Any advice on how to get a nice subtle smell out of them though? Maybe there is other things I could use? Pine needles perhaps (didn't think that was ok but it's apparently featured in this beer)?
My current plan is to get 1oz of dried Juniper berries, grind them up and steep them at flameout in a bag. After that I was planning on removing them entirely after a few minutes while the wort is chilling. That's similar to what I do with hops I'd like to use for aroma (I don't remove them during the chill). I can't find any evidence to suggest that Juniper would react in the same way though.
The recipe is below if anyone wants to take a peak at that too. Feel free to comment.
Amount (lbs) Type Percentage
8.00 Canadian Pale Ale Malt 67%
2.00 Belgian Caramel Pils 17%
0.75 Belgian Biscuit Malt 6%
0.25 Briess Caramel 20L 2%
0.75 Golden Naked Oats 6%
0.25 Fawcett Pale Chocolate 2%
Mash 60 minutes at 152F, batch sparge. 6.5 Gallons Pre-boil, 5.50 Post-boil. I'm guessing a 73% eff (it's been erratic lately). Post-boil OG of 1.054.
Amount (oz) Type Time (minutes)
1 Chinook pellet FWH (I calculate this as 20 minutes in IBU)
0.5 Chinook pellet 60
0.5 Simcoe pellet 5
0.5 Simcoe pellet Flameout
Dry hop in secondary for 1 week with 1oz of Simcoe (or maybe Chinook) Leaf
that's been cold smoked 60 minutes with applewood.
Probably toss the remaining .5oz of Chinook in with the dry hop.
I'm excited to try the cold smoked hops process again. It worked pretty well for the Smokey Al
hefeweizen I made. That's going to be the yule tide fire right there. Very very subtle smoke.
1oz Juniper @ Flameout
1 stick Cinnamon, 1 week during secondary.
1Tbsp Nutmeg, 1 week during secondary.
Almond Extract to taste at bottling (probably 0.5-1Tbsp)
Mexican Vanilla Extract to taste at bottling (probably 1/8cup to 1/4cup)
Plan on using WLP007 for the yeast. I like it a lot.
Most likely going to prime with brown sugar, but I've considered using corn sugar and adding molasses during the boil. Haven't made the final decision yet. The molasses is supposed to give a "brown sugar cookie" reminder to the beer (along with the cinnamon, vanilla, almonds and nutmeg).
Going to push this beer through quickly. 1 week primary (depends on my fermentation readings), 1 week secondary, 2 weeks in the bottle at minimum.