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-   -   Christmas Ale ingredients in fermenter question: (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/christmas-ale-ingredients-fermenter-question-423426/)

bmaze7891 07-26-2013 03:41 PM

Christmas Ale ingredients in fermenter question:
 
I am brewing a Christmas Ale to store until December and I had a quick question in relation to the ingredients in the muslin bag during the first fermentation stage. I put the cloves, irish moss, cinnamon sticks, and all spice into the muslin bag and it called for a 4 day fermentation before transfer to secondary, but I waited 6 days to take out the muslin bag and xfer.
Just curious if keeping the ingredients in for an extended period of time would have an impact on the flavor profile of the beer since the ingredients have such a strong flavor to them as a group or is it a case where you can keep it in there for 30+ days and the flavors are generally extracted already within the 4 days and they are just sitting and not creating an issue?
I know this is a personal preference question, but I was curious how others would perceive this.

twistr25 07-26-2013 04:59 PM

Theoretically, you would think the longer it sits the more flavors that would extract, but it will eventually have a threshold, just not sure when that would be. I don't think 2 days will make that big of a difference however. What could make a lot bigger difference, did it only sit for 4 days after you pitched before you transferred? Did you happen to take a gravity reading? I would highly doubt you hit FG and now that it's transferred and off they yeast cake, it is unlikely that it will ever get there. At the very least I would expect some off flavors that the yeast weren't allowed to go back and clean up.

IslandLizard 07-26-2013 05:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bmaze7891 (Post 5376705)
...and it called for a 4 day fermentation before transfer to secondary...

What called? The recipe? Kit instructions? The whole racking to secondary is old hat, usually unnecessary, and typically the wrong thing to do, unless you want to rack onto fruit, and even then.... As twistr said, it is unlikely the beer was fermented out and definitely had no chance to clean up. Next time, just let it be in the primary for at least 2-3 weeks depending on OG. Then "dry hop" with hops, spices etc.

When dry hopping, which is similar to what you're doing except you're using spices, you would want to wait for the fermentation to be (mostly) over so not to strip the flavors out.

I think 4-7 days on spices will get you some flavor, but not sure how much or enough to your taste. Crushed spices tend to release quicker than whole ones.

I've made Christmas/Holiday ales and usually boil some cinnamon stick, fresh ginger and sometimes other spices and orange peel (zest) for 10-30 minutes, depending on how deep I want the flavors to be. Those mellow out during (bottle) conditioning and the flavor profile changes over time, quite drastically. You got 4-5 months until it is Holiday time, which maybe just OK or a bit too long. My last Great Lakes Christmas Ale clone was perfect after about 3 months after brew day. I have a few bottles left, and they are still yummy after 5 months.

On the next Christmas ale I intend to do a an additional dry hop with fresh ginger (soak in vodka to sanitize) to get more of the fragrant high notes. I would do that a week before bottling or kegging, and do not intend to rack to secondary at all. I think that beer would be better somewhat younger.

J187 07-26-2013 08:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IslandLizard (Post 5377020)
What called? The recipe? Kit instructions? The whole racking to secondary is old hat, usually unnecessary, and typically the wrong thing to do, unless you want to rack onto fruit, and even then.... As twistr said, it is unlikely the beer was fermented out and definitely had no chance to clean up. Next time, just let it be in the primary for at least 2-3 weeks depending on OG. Then "dry hop" with hops, spices etc.

When dry hopping, which is similar to what you're doing except you're using spices, you would want to wait for the fermentation to be (mostly) over so not to strip the flavors out.

I think 4-7 days on spices will get you some flavor, but not sure how much or enough to your taste. Crushed spices tend to release quicker than whole ones.

I've made Christmas/Holiday ales and usually boil some cinnamon stick, fresh ginger and sometimes other spices and orange peel (zest) for 10-30 minutes, depending on how deep I want the flavors to be. Those mellow out during (bottle) conditioning and the flavor profile changes over time, quite drastically. You got 4-5 months until it is Holiday time, which maybe just OK or a bit too long. My last Great Lakes Christmas Ale clone was perfect after about 3 months after brew day. I have a few bottles left, and they are still yummy after 5 months.

On the next Christmas ale I intend to do a an additional dry hop with fresh ginger (soak in vodka to sanitize) to get more of the fragrant high notes. I would do that a week before bottling or kegging, and do not intend to rack to secondary at all. I think that beer would be better somewhat younger.

This!! All spiced beers I have made have included boiling the spices and whatnot. I can't imagine it's going to impart much flavor just sitting coriander in the fermenter for a few days, but I could be wrong.

duboman 07-26-2013 10:29 PM

I'm going to go in another direction. My preference is to add certain spices in the boil like ginger and coriander but I reserve things like cinnamon for secondary. It really depends on what you are using as some things just do better in secondary.

Some spices need to be added and removed to "taste" and bulk aging. Either way, if you do add anything post boil it should be added once FG is verified, not during actual fermentation:)

Before anyone flames me I am not a proponent of using a secondary except for those special circumstances like fruit, oak or as stated certain spices

bmaze7891 07-29-2013 08:58 PM

So basically in a nutshell:
1: No secondary next time
2: Do the boil, pitch the yeast, sit for 2 weeks, if you get to FG THEN put in the spices?
-If so, do I just put the spices in a muslin bag and let it sit another 2-3 weeks as a "dry hop" before bottling?

The recipe called for just 4 days in primary before xfer to secondary, so I went by the recipe (which I found in a book I had, but do not have it with me now to get the details on the recipe). It also told me to do the muslin bag during fermentation, so I am starting to think this isn't the best brewing book.
It is sitting in the carboy now, so I am curious if you guys would do anything else to the brew at this point, or just let it sit for a while longer then bottle, move on with my life and take notes on the issues?


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