Holiday spiced amber ale
So, while my Apfelwein has been fermenting, I have been giving more and more thought to the holiday ale I want to produce.
I was running some different tests through the TastyBrew recipe calculator (don't have the full version of BeerSmith yet).
This is what I cam up with:
Batch size: 6 gallons
1lbs Dark LME
6lbs Light LME
3.3lbs Amber LME (Cooper's)
Yeast Apparent attenuation of 75% gives me 6.3% ABV.
First off, let me explain my choices for the malt.
I want an amber beer (red for the holidays). The amount of Light LME is to counter-balance the darkness of LME. The Dark LME is to add depth to the brew. The Light LME is to counter-balance the darkness of the Dark LME. The honey is truely just to add mouth
As for bittering. I was thinking of adding the following ingredients (amounts are still undetermined): cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cocoa. The cinnamon nutmeg and cloves are to add the real Christmas taste to the brew, while the cocoa is to counter-balance a bit of the strength of cloves.
Now, I'm going for something really holiday-y, thus the spices. The colour, as I said before is for Christmas.
What kind of yeast would you guys suggest?
I was wondering what your opinion about this is?
Do you think the ABV is too high for something so light? Do you think the spices would complement the malt? Is there are real use for adding the honey (is the added mouthfeel idea founded)?
Any other suggestions or comments are greatly appreciated.
I would do all light DME and add steeping grains for the color, mouthfeel etc.
I do not like fermented honey, I don't think it adds anything but a bad taste. It ferments out and doesn't leave much honey flavor....maybe try honey malt for the flavor and color you are looking for. You can also add carapils for mouthfeel.
Spices are good...easy on the cloves though.
Yeast: Nottingham or WLP001/Wyeast 1056/Safale US 05 will all work well (IMO).
What about the hops?
Problem is that DME is quite expensive here. Light DME is 6.50$ a pound. Where LME is about 2$ a pound.
I don't think I will add any hops as the spices will be the bittering agents.
I added honey as a late addition into the boil (15 minutes) in my holiday ale as opposed to the entire boil like I've done in the past. It will be interesting to see if it makes a difference. I need to get it in bottles next week.
I would recommend hops, if not your beer is going to be really really sweet. You could go with a low AA% hops so the spices can shine through, but I really think you'll be displeased if you don't add any hops. I also agree with Beerrific. Remember LME is 20% water which is why is so much cheaper. if you going to go LME I would suggest maybe some light /lme and some amber, Defiantly use steeped grains to get your color if red is what your looking for. And yes if your looking for a honey flavor just adding honey wont work it will ferment out completely and usually leaves somewhat of a dryness to the beer IMO.
Hope that helps and good luck with your holiday brew!
I forgot that this boil would most likely be a 4 gallon boil down to 3 gallons with an extra 3 gallons of pure water at the end.
I'm not sure how that affects the process.
If I did steeped grains, would they be crushed or whole?
The hop utilization will change with the smaller size boil.
Here is a winter time beer that I did a long while back...it was actually my first beer:
Malt: 4 lb MountMellick LIGHT Liquid, 2 lb. English AMBER DME
Specialty Grains (crushed): 8 oz. Medium Crystal, 2 oz Chocolate, 4 oz. Cara Wheat
HOPS: 1 oz. Columbus (bittering), 1 oz. US SAAZ (aroma)
Yeast: (Dried) Nottingham
½ oz. Pumpkin Pie Spices
It came out nice. I am considering doing a similar batch again soon.
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