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Old 10-20-2012, 01:44 AM   #11
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I'll use whole spices whenever I can in the future for sure, I just went with what I had on hand this time.

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Old 10-20-2012, 12:01 PM   #12
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Wanting to do a Christmas ale. These sound interesting! Thanks!

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Old 10-20-2012, 06:54 PM   #13
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Just put mine down. Smelled and tasted great, a little more bitter than I'd hoped for, but the spices were what I wanted. Thanks for the ideas Bramstoker.

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Old 10-21-2012, 01:10 AM   #14
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Awesome, glad it worked out for you!

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Old 10-28-2012, 01:24 PM   #15
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Had a near catastrophe, blow off about 10 hours in. Cleaned it up and put it back down, all seemed fine. Got a crazy banana smell out of the airlock though. At heighth of blowoff it was 78-80 on the sticky. Hope the smell doesn't translate to flavour.... Guessing by mid december it might be clean enough anyway. And banana might work with the spices.....

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Old 10-29-2012, 05:00 AM   #16
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Had a near catastrophe, blow off about 10 hours in. Cleaned it up and put it back down, all seemed fine. Got a crazy banana smell out of the airlock though. At heighth of blowoff it was 78-80 on the sticky. Hope the smell doesn't translate to flavour.... Guessing by mid december it might be clean enough anyway. And banana might work with the spices.....
At those temps, the smell will definitely translate into the finished product. Ale yeasts (aside from some Belgian strains) tends not to make good tasting beer when fermented above optimal temps. I'd try to keep things below 70 (below 65, even better), 78-80 on a stick on easily means 80+ in the fermenter, way to hot for ale fermentation.

As far as spices, I don't know if fresh is necessarily better than dry. In cooking, yes, but in brewing I've gotten much better results with dry ground. Think ginger; dry it's a holiday type spice, ginger snaps, etc., fresh tastes/smells like ginger ale/Asian food. I had a pumpkin ale at last month's club meeting that the brewer used fresh ginger root in. Tasted nothing like a pumpkin beer, more like ginger ale, which doesn't taste good with pumpkin and beer added to the mix. I like to use quality dried spices in things like this type of beer. I do like stick cinnamon over ground, but only because ground is so easy to over do. I go light in the boil, maybe 1/4-1/2 TSP of each spice I'm using, depending on the gravity of the wort and the level of spice I want. That's almost always plenty, but in the instance of it not being spiced enough upon tasting gravity samples, I'll make a spice tea and add that in secondary.
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can i drink this? I mean. Im gunna. But is it fine?
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it's not a barley wine. it's an ale.
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Old 10-30-2012, 09:11 AM   #17
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Yeah, never had the temperature fly off the handle like that. Usually I worry about keeping temps warm enough..... I think I overpitched, I just dumped in all the yeast from an old batch, maybe a liter or so...

I hope like heck the banana fits in with the spices....

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Old 10-30-2012, 05:55 PM   #18
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Oh man, yeah, a whole cake is a lot of yeast. I've never done it myself, but I heard that you can get crazy fermentations.

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can i drink this? I mean. Im gunna. But is it fine?
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it's not a barley wine. it's an ale.
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Have you seen the price of ketchup lately? And I'm not talking Heinz.
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Old 10-30-2012, 11:31 PM   #19
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I'd done it for a full batch, 21 liters or so, but this was 14-15 liters.....

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Old 11-03-2012, 10:11 PM   #20
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Just bottled my recipe from the first page, and it tasted pretty good out of the bucket. Had noticeable spice flavor, but didn't seem like it will be overpowering. I'm really looking forward to see how this one will turn out. I'll probably try one around early December to see how its come along, then save the rest for the holiday parties and all that. I should also have a peppermint brown ale, an apple ale, a pumpkin ale, and a coffee chocolate stout all ready for the holidays so it will be a VERY merry Christmas indeed!

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