Hey All -
This is my first step outside of using a kit, and I went and took Jamil's recipe for a winter spiced ale (english ale style) and changed it around in an attempt to make a good Christmas beer. Here is my bill of materials:
6 Gallon Recipe
- 12.75 lbs Maris Otter LME (substituted from the recommended English Pale Ale LME)
- 1/2 lb Molasses
- 3/4 lb Crystal 80L
- 1/4 lb Black Patent Malt
- 1 oz. Horizon Hops (60 minute)
- Wyeast 1028 London Ale Yeast (2 packets with starter)
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger (add at last few minutes of boil)
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (add at last few minutes of boil)
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground cloves (add at last few minutes of boil)
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg (add at last few minutes of boil)
The issue is that I pitched my yeast on July 18th (so about 2 1/2 weeks ago). I had an OG of 1.071 (which was significantly lower than my calculated OG of 1.090, but I figured, "Hey! RDWDAHB!"). I made a starter with two packets of the Wyeast 1028 London Ale Yeast (with an attenuation of 73-77%) which would give me AT MOST an FG of 1.019. I took a gravity reading on July 24th, and it read 1.036. I figured I was less than a week in, so I'd give it some more time. I took another gravity reading tonight, and it was, again 1.036. I had VERY active, and long fermentation (about 4-5 days of active "bubbling" in my blow-off tube).
I know, given my ingredients (particularly molasses and cloves) that I am going to have to age it awhile, and to be honest, I was pleasantly surprised when I drank it tonight, because it was quite delightful, and the clove taste (from adding freshly ground cloves AND fermenting a bit hot) from before had mellowed out significantly. The taste was a bit sweet, but I am going for a "Gingerbread" quality to it.
My question is, should I just rack it to secondary for a few more weeks, then bottle it, and hope the beer takes care of itself? Or do you think with such a high FG that I should pitch a little bit more yeast and try and get a little more activity in there before calling it?
Any thoughts, opinions or notes of prior experience are welcome! Thanks guys!
edit -- sorry for the huge posting...