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Old 11-10-2012, 01:24 AM   #1
gnubierguy
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Default Experienced opinions please

I brewed a christmas ale recipe that my LHBS helped me develop and I just have some questions for experienced christmas brewers. I steeped the grain (6oz C-80 and 2oz black patent malt) for 30 minutes at about 155 degrees. Turned up the heat and removed the grain just before boil began. Added 1/2 oz warrior hops and 4 lbs of DME to the boil. and cooked it for about 45 minutes. About 15 minutes before flameout I add another 4 lbs of DME as well as 1/8 tsp Allspice 1/8 tsp Nutmeg 1/4 tsp ginger and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and continued to boil for another 15 minutes for a total 60 minute boil. Here is one concern this seems like a lot of DME for a recipe that was supposed to be scaled down for a three gallon batch. I fermented it in a 3 gallon PET bottle and expected some blow off so set up a blow off tube in a sanitized bowl. Here is my second concern I experienced a lot more than some blow off but I mean major blow off. My three gallon PET is now down to about 2 gallon of liquid. The blow off has stopped and I have installed an air lock that is bubbling away so fermentation is still progressing. So I lost 1 gallon of liquid in about three days of fermentation. Is this fairly normal. In hindsight I should have fermented in a 5 gallon or larger vessel but only 2 gallons of liquid is left. Suggestions? any abnormalities spotted? Experienced extract Christmas Ale brewers please reply Thanks in Advance GNUBIERGUY

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Old 11-10-2012, 02:31 AM   #2
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8 lbs of DME seems like a lot....What was your target OG? What was your OG?

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Old 11-10-2012, 02:52 AM   #3
DrummerBoySeth
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8 pounds of DME in a 3 gallon batch gives you a starting gravity of 1.112 Depending on attenuation, this would give you an ABV between 10.5 and 12% A beer that big will take several months of conditioning to reach it's prime. You will also have MAJOR blowoff from a brew that big. It probably won't be ready in time for Christmas this year, but it will probably be getting really happy by Christmas 2013!

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Old 11-10-2012, 02:57 AM   #4
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wow , big indeed! that sounds like a 5 gallon recipe.
Agreeing with Seth on this ...hard to imagine it'll be ready in two months . Should be good next year though.

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Old 11-10-2012, 03:07 AM   #5
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Agreed that this Christmas is not likely. I did a Winter Ale last December hoping for February or March. It wasn't nearly as high OG, and is just now coming into it's own.

The loss of the beer was mostly due to having 3 gallons in a 3 gallon vessel. I use a 6 gallon Better Bottle for 5 gallon batches and even that is just barely enough for big beers.

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Old 11-10-2012, 03:09 AM   #6
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Default OG SG Oh Gee

I am still pretty new to this stuff and I don' t have a hydrometer. Isn't that what I would need to measure OG and SG? Will a hydrometer give me the ABV and other measurements I need to know? Also thanks for the input on how the beer will probably be better next year than this. I will probably bottle in a couple of weeks regardless and try a few beers this Christmas but set a few bottles aside to age for next Christmas to compare with next years attempt that I will start much earlier since this is my first attempt at a Christmas Ale.

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Old 11-10-2012, 03:11 AM   #7
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Default Yeast

Forgot to mention that I pitched with Nottingham Yeast at about 68 degrees and I am storing around 68

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Old 11-10-2012, 03:16 AM   #8
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You should get a hydrometer.
They don't give you a reading of the amount of alcohol in a beer.
You have to know what the gravity was when you started, and what you finish at.
You look at the difference in those gravity readings to get your alcohol content.

The other method of determining alcohol content is to drink about 12 beers and compared to other beers with known alcohol content.
This method works best with a couple guys each drinking 12 beers and then you take an average of the drunkenness.

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Old 11-10-2012, 03:17 AM   #9
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A hydrometer is used to measure the SG and the FG. It does not directly measure alcohol content, but if you know the SG and FG, then it is very easy to calculate the ABV. I would at least pick up a hydrometer before bottling this brew, so you can make sure that the fermentation has finished. A brew this big could easily take 3 weeks or more to completely finish fermenting.

Also, what yeast did you use? I would double-pitch this beer (use 2 packs of dry yeast, or 2 vials/smack packs of liquid yeast) if I was brewing it. Depending on the yeast you used to start with, you may need to repitch a second helping of yeast to enable this beer to finish fermenting.

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Old 11-10-2012, 03:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 45_70sharps View Post
The other method of determining alcohol content is to drink about 12 beers and compared to other beers with known alcohol content.
This method works best with a couple guys each drinking 12 beers and then you take an average of the drunkenness.

THIS is by far the most entertaining method of ABV measurement!

However, since this brew is gonna be in the 10-12% ABV range, I might lower that to 3 or 4! 12 of those might result in an unexpected emergency room visit!
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