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Old 06-08-2008, 06:58 PM   #1
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Default Advice on holiday brewing schedule?

This is our first year brewing, and since we have had various family members show interest in what we are doing, we have decided to put together some mix packs for Christmas gifts this year. I am looking for advice on the best choices on how to schedule all of this, and the best choice of styles that would be good and drinkable around the end of December.

Here are the qualifications:
1. We only can brew about once a month. Next week will be our first AG (see this thread for details: HBT thread)
2. We have two primaries (one bucket and one 6-gal BB) and no secondary. Ideally we would like to not have to purchase any new equipment, but will if necessary.
3. We would like to chose some styles that are a bit out of the mainstream for the BMC drinkers.

So, we are going to brew the English Pale Ale / Bitter this month. Maybe try a Belgian Tripple in July (something like this: Belgian Tripple)). Hopefully they would both be good and conditioned in December.

Any suggestions for a style that we could brew in August that would be good 4 months later? How about one for September that would be good 3 months later? October two months later?

I hope this all makes some sense, I am still trying to sort it all out in my head...

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Old 06-08-2008, 07:12 PM   #2
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general rule...bigger beers need more conditioning time. that belgian will be drinkable in december, but will improve with much more age. it should really spend two months fermenting and conditioning before it even goes into bottles.

definitely start with the big beers now. if you're creating stuff for the holidays, go with a strong stout. nice, full, dark, warming beer.

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Old 06-08-2008, 07:13 PM   #3
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August..Holiday Spiced Porter
September..Pumpkin IPA!!!yeah.
October..Belgian Blonde, Irish Red

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Old 06-08-2008, 07:16 PM   #4
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Ideally you want more secondaries than primaries, since secondary takes longer, but you don't REALLY need a secondary anyway. The English Pale Ale will probably be past it's prime by then, I would say about 3-6 months max on any lighter colored beer because you will start to get oxidation problems. Darker malts help beer stability, so you may want to brew dark now and move lighter in the winter, which is not really in line with the season, but would provide for better beers for gifts.

The Trippel will cellar for a while, and should be good by december, and should stay good to drink for a while afterwards. Just as a guidline of sorts, the darker/stronger, the longer it will stay drinkable. The lighter/milder the quicker it should be consumed. Of course there are some exceptions. An IPA in my opinion is best when fresh, because you get all the hop flavor that starts to drop out even though it can be fairly strong. Hefewiezens and even dunkelwiezens are best when very fresh to, even though dunkelwiezens are dark. Hope this helps.

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Old 06-08-2008, 07:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeathBrewer View Post
general rule...bigger beers need more conditioning time. that belgian will be drinkable in december, but will improve with much more age. it should really spend two months fermenting and conditioning before it even goes into bottles.

definitely start with the big beers now. if you're creating stuff for the holidays, go with a strong stout. nice, full, dark, warming beer.
Yeah, I realize that I can't do any really big beers, since they all need more time that I have. I was thinking with the tripple that I brew early July, bottle late August, leaving it in bottles for about 4 months before giving it to the family. Do you think I could do the tripple without a secondary, or is it a must for this brew?

I haven't heard of the Pumpkin IPA, is the recipe in the database here?
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Old 06-08-2008, 07:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilikestuff View Post
Ideally you want more secondaries than primaries, since secondary takes longer, but you don't REALLY need a secondary anyway. The English Pale Ale will probably be past it's prime by then, I would say about 3-6 months max on any lighter colored beer because you will start to get oxidation problems. Darker malts help beer stability, so you may want to brew dark now and move lighter in the winter, which is not really in line with the season, but would provide for better beers for gifts.

The Trippel will cellar for a while, and should be good by december, and should stay good to drink for a while afterwards. Just as a guidline of sorts, the darker/stronger, the longer it will stay drinkable. The lighter/milder the quicker it should be consumed. Of course there are some exceptions. An IPA in my opinion is best when fresh, because you get all the hop flavor that starts to drop out even though it can be fairly strong. Hefewiezens and even dunkelwiezens are best when very fresh to, even though dunkelwiezens are dark. Hope this helps.
Are there hefes/dunkels that are quick enough that we could brew in November and have it ready for Christmas? An IPA (maybe the Pumpkin one mentioned) in October?
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Old 06-08-2008, 07:24 PM   #7
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Something that need to sit in the fermenter for that long should probably go to secondary after the first few weeks to a month. That 6gal BB COULD sub as a secondary, especially if you made the beer a little bigger (in volume), but why not just get 1 5gal, they are only like $20.

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Old 06-08-2008, 07:26 PM   #8
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Most weizens will be ready to drink in 3-5 weeks. They really only need a week or so to ferment, just make sure its done before bottling, but they don't need bulk conditioning.

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Old 06-08-2008, 07:27 PM   #9
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And they are easy...
Hefeweizen
6 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 50.00 %
6 lbs Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 50.00 %
1.00 oz Hallertauer [4.80 %] (60 min) Hops 15.1 IBU
1 Pkgs Weihenstephan Weizen (Wyeast Labs #3068) Yeast-Wheat

To go dunkel, use Munich instead of pilsner malt.

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Last edited by BarleyWater; 06-08-2008 at 07:29 PM.
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Old 06-08-2008, 07:31 PM   #10
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No the Pumpkin isnt in the database, its one I did a few months ago as a test batch and it was pretty good, but that was before I wrote down my recipes(I am actually an idiot). it was really good and promising with a few spice additions

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