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Old 10-04-2012, 06:58 PM   #1
BrewLou
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Default Thoughts on forming up an Christmas Beer recipe...

Ok, I want to get an Xmas beer brewed in the next week or two so it can age appropriately for the holiday. The only problem is I have no clue what exactly I want to do. Here are my thoughts, and if anyone cares to throw out any suggestions/grain bills I am all ears.

Generally I go with a dark beer for the holidays. This year I want to keep it light. Regardless how good a dark beer is a lot of people shy away from even trying them. I also typically go with a cinnamon/nutmeg type of spice. This year I want to change that up just a bit. A friend of mine actually mentioned a cider type of taste. While I am not huge on ciders it did get the wheels turning to some form of a apple spice pale ale. Yes I am aware of the cinnamon in this style, but paired with the apple profile I think it would be interesting.

I am thinking of...

8.5lbs 2 row american
1.5lbs Vienna malt
1lb Crystal/Caramel 60L or 80L
1oz Cascade ~5%AA 60 mins left
0.5 Halla ~6-7% last 15 mins
Wyeast 1332 or 4766 (cider ale if use would be feasible)

At the beginning of the boil pour ~ 1 quart of apple cider into the kettle.

This will probably require around a 90 min boil

152 degree strike
180 degree sparge

After gravity settles transfer to 2ndary. Depending on taste possibly boil another quart of cider to add in once it has cooled to RT.

My concerns are...

1. This bill does not utilize a ton of hops, but what are the thoughs of hops playing well with a mild/moderate cider backing?

2. Is using a "cider" specific yeast feasible for this to allow that profile to come through? Wyeast states their strain is fine for up to 12% ABV which this will not come to half that. Thoughts on trying out that yeast, or should I go with the Northwest 1322 Ale yeast?

I still have around 2lbs of grain I can add to the bill if needed to adjust taste. I am pretty comfy mashing up to 13lbs in my MLT.

Another option instead of actual cider is that I could get some nice ripe green apples, slice them up, blend them, add cinnamon or w/e spice I decide to go with. I can either dump that directly into the fermentor or do a "soup" boil and use that. I have never had an issue using actual watermelons/pumpkins in my brews so using apples does not bother me to much.

My "goal" I guess for this would be to have a moderate 6% or so ABV "dirty golder" beer (just enough to warm you up) that reminds you of an apple pie/cider type flavor.

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Old 10-04-2012, 07:07 PM   #2
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A few comments:

1. Boiling the cider will set the pectin and your beer will be cloudy unless you add pectic enzyme.

2. Boiling cider will make it taste like cooked apples instead of fresh apples.

3. I'm not certain but it could be that cider yeast won't be able to ferment the longer chain sugars of wort.

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Old 10-05-2012, 05:49 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingBrianI View Post
A few comments:

1. Boiling the cider will set the pectin and your beer will be cloudy unless you add pectic enzyme.

2. Boiling cider will make it taste like cooked apples instead of fresh apples.

3. I'm not certain but it could be that cider yeast won't be able to ferment the longer chain sugars of wort.
1. Would something like Irish Moss help clear this up, or do I need to go with a straight pectic enzyme?
2. That might actually go better with the profile I am aiming for.
3. I will probably go with the Ale yeast then. That strain should be able to chew through both types.

Thanks for the comments!
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:57 PM   #4
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I just answered #1 by some google digging but it brought up a new question.

Irish Moss will not function like a Pectic enzyme. From what I found the enzyme will actually "eat" the pectic and produce sugar much like when a yeast digests sugars it produces alcohol/co2. My new question deals with this "new" addition of sugar.

There is no actual way to account for this is there? My OG will show the sugars from the boil. As the pectic enzyme works through fermentation this will create new sugars for the yeast to consume.

Should I check gravity daily? Just thinking it might be tough to get an accurate ABV measurment like this.

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