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Old 09-25-2012, 02:53 AM   #1
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All,

For my next beer I'm trying to work up my own recipe. Up until now everything I've done is from kits or recipes on this site. I was wondering if somebody could take a look at the following and tell me what they think.

I'm trying to make an ale that evokes the flavors of Italian Christmas pastries. I mostly hobbled this together from a number of Christmas ale and porter recipes, with the spices changed out to match what I'm going for. My biggest concerns are 1) making sure I use the correct ratio of extracts and a good blend of specialty grains 2) not overdoing the hops. I'd love to hear some comments! Thanks!


"Dominic the Donkey"

Extracts:
3.3 lbs. Light LME
3.3 lbs. Amber LME

Specialty grains:
8 oz. caramel malt 60 L Steep 20 minutes
4 oz. caramel malt 120 L Steep 20 minutes
4 oz. chocolate malt. Steep 20 minutes

Hops:
1 oz. Chinook 60 minutes
.5 Willamette 25 minutes
.5 oz. EKG 10 minutes

Spices:
.75 oz. dried orange peel 10 minutes
1 tsp. cinnamon 10 minutes

Miscellaneous:
1 lb. honey 10 minutes
Amaretto (to taste~.75 oz.) At bottling

Yeast:
Wyeast 1214 Belgian Abbey

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Old 09-25-2012, 03:08 AM   #2
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looks like a decent easier-drinking holiday ale. at around 1.063, i'd consider backing off on the bittering hops to maybe .7 oz or so, depending on the alpha of the hops. 13% chinook at 1 oz means around 55 ibu; .7 would be about 41.

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Old 09-25-2012, 03:32 AM   #3
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If you're going for traditional Italian Christmas Cookies, I'd just use 12oz of crystal 60l grains instead of 8oz-60L and 4oz-120L and add 4oz lactose to represent the mascarpone that is usually present in the cookie recipes.

I also agree that your bittering hops, the way you have them, may overwhelm the subtler flavors you're going for. Maybe keep the IBUs in the 20-40 range? What base style are you using as a guide? A Belgian Specialty Ale, maybe? 1/3oz of Chinook hops at 60 min and the rest of your hops the way you have them would put it around 30 IBUs.

Sounds like a really interesting recipe, though, and I'm looking forward to hearing how it turns out.

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Old 09-25-2012, 03:39 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zzARzz View Post
If you're going for traditional Italian Christmas Cookies, I'd just use 12oz of crystal 60l grains instead of 8oz-60L and 4oz-120L and add 4oz lactose to represent the mascarpone that is usually present in the cookie recipes.

I also agree that your bittering hops, the way you have them, may overwhelm the subtler flavors you're going for. Maybe keep the IBUs in the 20-40 range? What base style are you using as a guide? A Belgian Specialty Ale, maybe? 1/3oz of Chinook hops at 60 min and the rest of your hops the way you have them would put it around 30 IBUs.

Sounds like a really interesting recipe, though, and I'm looking forward to hearing how it turns out.
true... i'm a hophead .. 30 would probably be better for the normal palate to taste the other flavors
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Old 09-25-2012, 12:56 PM   #5
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Thanks, all. Was looking at flavor profiles last night and (foolishly) forgot to check the AA on the varietals. 1/4 to 1/3 oz. Chinook sounds much more my speed. I like the idea of using a little lactose to give it some creaminess. At what point in the process should I add that to the wort?

This is really a Frankenstein recipe--I looked at all the Christmas ales and porters that I could find to get a sense of what goes into them to start, then searched around for hops, yeast, and miscellaneous ingredients that would add the sort of flavors I want. I was trying to make this more of an amber ale or Belgian than a porter, but with a little chocolate malt for warmth and fullness. Do you think this will get me there?

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Old 09-26-2012, 02:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cottagebrews View Post
Thanks, all. Was looking at flavor profiles last night and (foolishly) forgot to check the AA on the varietals. 1/4 to 1/3 oz. Chinook sounds much more my speed. I like the idea of using a little lactose to give it some creaminess. At what point in the process should I add that to the wort?

This is really a Frankenstein recipe--I looked at all the Christmas ales and porters that I could find to get a sense of what goes into them to start, then searched around for hops, yeast, and miscellaneous ingredients that would add the sort of flavors I want. I was trying to make this more of an amber ale or Belgian than a porter, but with a little chocolate malt for warmth and fullness. Do you think this will get me there?
I would add the lactose at 10 minutes from the end of the boil to sterilize, but there will of course be 10 different opinions from 5 different brewers about when is best. There's a good article from BYO about using lactose here: http://www.byo.com/stories/beer-styles/article/indices/11-beer-styles/1160-milk-stout-it-does-a-body-good

According to the article, 5.5% seems to be a good ratio for milk stouts so you can figure from there how much you think would be best in your recipe.

I think the chocolate malt (coffee flavors) in addition to the lactose and Amaretto will give it a very cappuccino-esque quality which certainly falls in line with the Italian pastry theme you're going for. Maybe try Briess' Dark Chocolate Malt for some extra kick.

All in all, though, your recipe is growing on me.
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Old 10-21-2012, 01:39 AM   #7
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Final recipe:

.75 lbs 2-Row Caramel Malt 60L; Briess info
3.3 lbs Liquid Light; Muntons info
3.3 lbs Liquid Amber; Muntons info
1 lbs Honey info
.5 lbs Oats Flaked info
.5 oz Willamette (Pellets, 5.00 %AA) boiled 60 min. info
.5 oz Willamette (Pellets, 5.00 %AA) boiled 25 min. info
.5 oz East Kent Goldings (Pellets, 5.00 %AA) boiled 10 min. info
1 tsp. Cinnamon (ground) (not included in calculations)
.75 oz. Orange Peel (dried) (not included in calculations)
Yeast : WYeast 1056 American Ale™ info

Will be adding amaretto at bottling. Coming out of the brew pot this smelled like it could be really good!

Chris

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Old 11-04-2012, 06:25 PM   #8
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Two weeks into fermentation and the gravity is at 1.014. That's slightly higher than anticipated (1.012), but I think I've bottomed out. Even though the temperature is a tad cold, I've had no airlock activity for over a week. The plan now is to leave it in primary for another 6 days just in case there's still some honey taking it's time to ferment, then I'll transfer to secondary.

When I gave it a smell yesterday it seemed very sweet, with lots of the orange flavor coming through. I didn't notice the cinnamon so much in the aroma, but it's not like I was sticking my head deep into the fermenting bucket. I'll give it a taste when I do my transfer and think about dropping a stick or two into the carboy if the cinnamon is lacking. Does anybody have an idea of how much I should use if I decide to do that?

The other variable here is the amaretto. I know I need to add that at bottling, accounting for the sugar content to avoid bottle bombs, but I figure the transfer to secondary is a good time to figure out how much I'd like to add. Can somebody who's added liqueur to beer before give me an idea of how much I'll be working with? I have no idea if it's even in the range of a few ounces or a few cups. My goal is just to impart a mild almond flavor that will balance out the sweetness of the orange and complement the cinnamon.

Thanks for all your help, everyone! My next project is going to be a French Toast Stout for the fiancée. That one is shaping up to be a challenge...

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Old 11-04-2012, 09:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cottagebrews View Post
Two weeks into fermentation and the gravity is at 1.014. That's slightly higher than anticipated (1.012), but I think I've bottomed out. Even though the temperature is a tad cold, I've had no airlock activity for over a week. The plan now is to leave it in primary for another 6 days just in case there's still some honey taking it's time to ferment, then I'll transfer to secondary.

When I gave it a smell yesterday it seemed very sweet, with lots of the orange flavor coming through. I didn't notice the cinnamon so much in the aroma, but it's not like I was sticking my head deep into the fermenting bucket. I'll give it a taste when I do my transfer and think about dropping a stick or two into the carboy if the cinnamon is lacking. Does anybody have an idea of how much I should use if I decide to do that?

The other variable here is the amaretto. I know I need to add that at bottling, accounting for the sugar content to avoid bottle bombs, but I figure the transfer to secondary is a good time to figure out how much I'd like to add. Can somebody who's added liqueur to beer before give me an idea of how much I'll be working with? I have no idea if it's even in the range of a few ounces or a few cups. My goal is just to impart a mild almond flavor that will balance out the sweetness of the orange and complement the cinnamon.

Thanks for all your help, everyone! My next project is going to be a French Toast Stout for the fiancée. That one is shaping up to be a challenge...
If it's a 5 gallon batch I'd add between 1/2 to 1 cinnamon stick, depending on how much cinnamon flavor you want. Crush it a bit before putting it in the secondary (I push down on mine with a meat mallet which breaks it into strips) to get a bit more surface area. As far as the amaretto, I find it's best to start with 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of a flavoring agent, gently stir it in to keep from oxidizing the hops and taste, then add more until you like what you have. It's easy to add but impossible to take out, so slow and steady wins the race.
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