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Old 11-05-2010, 10:28 PM   #21
pj_rage
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I guess this thread is a bit out dated, but I'm new to brewing and decided that with Christmas just around the corner, I wanted a Christmas ale ready in time. So I decided to try this recipe as my first full boil and first all grain, heck, first "real" brew day. I did the Mr Beer kit a couple times and though it was fun, the beer was only "OK" to me. So I decided to step it right up. Maybe a bit ambitious but I did a ton of research first and felt pretty comfortable trying it.

Anyway, brew day went as easy and smooth as my first could go. I planned on lower efficiency because I was doing stove stop all grain brewing in a grain bag (Deathbrewer's technique), so I bumped up the ingredients by a tiny bit to compensate, planning on a 65% or so efficiency, figuring I wouldn't hit all that great of an efficiency on my first try. I wound up with a ~70% efficiency and an OG of 1.086. I think I could have watered it down a bit to hit the 1.077, but decided to just leave it. I pitched about a pack and a half of US-05 (tried to hit around 15g which was what I calculated I would need), but didn't rehydrate (probably should have).

It's been fermenting between 62-65F, except for about 2 hours it hit 72-74 when fermentation was hitting it's stride. I quickly cooled it and kept it in the mid to low 60s after that, though.

It's been 6 days, and today I decided to take a sample to check how the gravity is doing, since the airlock has really slowed down, and the krausen has sank. It's at 1.019 now, and most importantly, is unbelievably delicious. I have to say, I expected it to be good, but damn, it's really, really good. Gonna give it the full 21 days, can't wait to see how it turns out then.

Also can't wait to spice it up, but I have to say, I like it a lot just like it is now. I'm thinking I might just bottle a few without the spices just for kicks. I'm also a little worried about the cinnamon being overpowering as Reese had found. I'll definitely only boil for about a minute or so, but I might still use only 3/4 or 1/2 a stick of cinnamon. What do you think?

Anyway, thanks for a great recipe, even without the spices that make it holiday-y, it's very tasty. Just for my own clarification, what style would you call this one (with/without the spices)?

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Old 11-06-2010, 12:17 AM   #22
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Awesome work pj and welcome to the forum. Sounds like you did a great job for your first AG. Reese misunderstood the spicing directions and boiled the tea for 15 minutes as opposed to bringing some beer to a boil and then adding the spices to combine it and removing it from the heat and letting it steep for 15 minutes. Following my steps won't overpower the beer. Anyway, it is a great beer. I'm sure you'll enjoy the base beer almost as much as the spiced version. I't doesn't really fit any style but if I had to pigeonhole it I'd call it an imperial honey brown. 'Holly' just sounds so much better, doesn't it?

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Old 11-06-2010, 02:31 AM   #23
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What's left of my batch has been bottle conditioning for almost a year now, only a couple bottles are left. On Halloween, we opened the first bottle of it in about six months and about eight of us got to give it a taste. Overwhelmingly positive reviews. The spiciness has mellowed out substantially by now, and I now find myself wishing I'd saved a lot more of it last winter.

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Old 11-06-2010, 02:52 AM   #24
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Yeah, I'm pretty excited! I'll use the full spicing and follow your directions to make sure not to overpower it.

Holly does sound good, very seasonal

Can't wait to taste the spiced version and bottle it up. I'm so tempted to just start taking pints from the carboy as is lol.

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Old 11-16-2010, 11:57 PM   #25
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How ironic, I brewed this a few weeks ago, just transferred it to the secondary and figured I would drop in to revive this thread only to find pj beat me to it. Even more ironic is the fact that this was my first AG as well. Only thing I messed up is I underestimated how much wort the grain would suck up (probably didn't let it drain long enough either) and came up a full gallon short of the 5 I was shooting for. I still started at 1.077 and the gravity reading I just took was 1.012. Took a sip and I have to say for a flat beer it was delicious, now I'm really looking forward to the finished product. I'd consider it a winter warmer since it seems perfect for the season and that seems to be a pretty broad category anyway.

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Old 11-17-2010, 03:16 AM   #26
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I'm planning to try this recipe as my first All Grain as well. Hopefully it will just be ready in time for New Years.

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Old 11-17-2010, 06:42 PM   #27
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Wow, all these first time AG'ers trying the recipe. Be sure to check back and give it a review.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to make this in time this year. Next year I am going to use a different strain on this, perhaps wlp007.

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Old 11-22-2010, 04:07 PM   #28
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Just brewed this over the weekend- I adjusted it to be a Partial Mash, using 2.5lbs of 2 row and 6.6lbs of Briess Light LME. My OG was about 1.069, probably due to a fast sparge but I'm ok with that. Pitched a pack of S04 into it and am actually fermenting this in a 5gallon corny in my soon to be kegerator. Its holding at about 57 degrees right now (external temp from my digital thermo taped to the side of the keg). I'm hoping that the +10 degree rule here applies which would mean I'm at about 67 degrees for fermenting.

Has anyone kegged this? This is my first kegging venture and I'm curious how long I should give it to condition. I was thinking about 2-3 weeks in primary depending on my gravity readings, then transferring it into a serving vessel where I would add the spice tea and maybe giving it another week to condition.

Thoughts?

Cant wait to try this!

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Old 11-22-2010, 04:38 PM   #29
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Bottled mine on Friday night. The tea smelled great when making it. I had one mishap... my first time boiling wort and adding priming sugar... I was an idiot and dumped the entire 3oz corn sugar straight into the boiling wort and had an instant boilover. I didn't care so much about the stove or lost wort, but more about wondering how much of the sugar came out in that boilover (since it happened right away) and if enough remained to carb it up. I added an extra tsp or two just in case. For the tea, I did just as instructed in the recipe, boiled the wort, then added the spices and sugar, boiled for about a minute, and then transferred to a french press for 15 min, cooled it in a bucket of water a bit, added it to the bottling bucket, and racked on top of it. I did stir slowly with a big spoon once racked to make sure it was well mixed.

I tried one right after bottling and then again on saturday with friends just to sample it in its stages. Obviously both times were pretty flat and sweet from the sugar. You can really taste the spices, especially vanilla at this point. Can't wait until it carbs up and isn't so sweet. Fingers crossed, maybe it will be carbed just enough to drink some this coming weekend around Thanksgiving, although I know it's a long shot.

Mine had an FG of 1.017, and with my OG of 1.086, that's 9.0% abv. Pretty strong! It hides it really well at this point though, with the spices you would never know it. My hydro sample before bottling was definitely a little dry, though.

I'll definitely report back in a couple weeks once it has fully carbed and conditioned a little bit.

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Old 11-22-2010, 05:23 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xxHelderxx View Post

Has anyone kegged this? This is my first kegging venture and I'm curious how long I should give it to condition. I was thinking about 2-3 weeks in primary depending on my gravity readings, then transferring it into a serving vessel where I would add the spice tea and maybe giving it another week to condition.

Thoughts?

Cant wait to try this!
This is the reason I didn't get a chance to make it this year– my new kegerator. You could prime in the keg if you wanted. That would give it plenty of conditioning time. If you add just the spice tea to the keg, I would think it would need more time than just one week. The vanilla will be in the foreground too much after just one week, I'd think. I found 3 weeks at room temp to be enough time to start to enjoy this one.

Let us know how it turns out.
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