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Old 03-03-2008, 03:25 AM   #1
Beerthoven
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Default Brew Day: Christmas Ale 2008

Brewed my 2008 Christmas Ale this weekend. It was a fun day! The beer smells great and the color is fantastic. Recipe is below for anyone interested.

Here are a few pics:

My brew assistant cleaning the Barley Crusher



First runnings

(My MLT is 15 years old and was scrounged from Clemson University's Athletic Department by SWMBO when she used to work there. If you look carefully you can still see "CUAD Volleyball" written on the cooler.)


The first batch in my new 15 gallon kettle



Fermentation activity 18 hours after pitching


Brewday was fun and went well even though I didn't hit my numbers. I undershot my mash temp by 2, which is a lot IMO, and couldn't add any more hot water because my MLT was just about to overflow. My efficiency sucked (73%; I'm used to 85%) because of the low mash temp, no mashout, and the sparge wasn't hot enough. So my OG was only 1.072 when I was planning on 1.083. Oh well, its still plenty big enough and should age well.


BeerSmith Recipe Printout - www.beersmith.com
Recipe: Christmas Old Ale
Brewer: Beerthoven
Style: Christmas/Winter Specialty Spice Beer
TYPE: All Grain

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Batch Size: 5.50 gal
Boil Size: 7.33 gal
Estimated OG: 1.083 SG
Estimated Color: 19.8 SRM
Estimated IBU: 44.9 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 85.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amount Item Type % or IBU
13 lbs Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3 SRM) Grain 90.03 %
12 oz Crystal Malt - 60L (60 SRM) Grain 5.19 %
8 oz Crystal Malt - 120L (120 SRM) Grain 3.46 %
3 oz Black (Patent) Malt (500 SRM) Grain 1.32 %

1.00 oz Warrior [16.90 %] (60 min) Hops 44.9 IBU

0.50 oz Orange Peel, Sweet (Boil 15 min) Misc
4.00 items Clove (whole, crushed) (Boil 1 min) Misc
0.50 tsp Cinnamon (ground, dry) (Boil 1 min) Misc

1 items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10 min) Misc

1 Pkg Nottingham dry ale yeast


Total Grain Weight: 14.44 lb
----------------------------
Step Time Step Temp
60 min 152.0 F

Ferment at 68 for 21 days. Secondary for 21 days. Bottle condition until Christmas.


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Old 03-03-2008, 04:29 AM   #2
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So you brewed the beer you will be drinking during Christmas now?! Well, patience is a virtue!
Looks really good.


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Old 03-03-2008, 05:22 AM   #3
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Looks like it's gonna be a great beer!
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Old 03-03-2008, 05:31 AM   #4
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Nice planning ahead. That beer should be mellowed out quite a bit by then. The spices need it.
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Old 03-03-2008, 05:33 AM   #5
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Your assistant looks delighted by that barley crusher. Cute kid.
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Old 03-03-2008, 05:34 AM   #6
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Looks it is going to be one tasty holiday time for you this year.
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Old 03-03-2008, 02:59 PM   #7
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Looks good. I'm gonna have to go report you to Terry Don Phillips about that cooler though. Go Tigers!
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Old 03-03-2008, 03:01 PM   #8
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Looks good! I love the MLT...
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Old 03-03-2008, 06:39 PM   #9
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Wow, this is a good idea - thanks for the reminder!

I can't brew every weekend, or even every other, bc I don't consume it fast enough. However, I could always brew ahead by brewing up an oktoberfest, a pumpkin ale and christmas ales ahead of time...

I need to start doing some planning!
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Old 03-12-2008, 09:01 PM   #10
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Default Update

FG reading 9 days after pitching is 1.012. That's about 82% apparent attenuation, for 7.8% ABV.

This is higher than I expected. I'm somewhat relieved, though, since this brew will condition in the bottle for many months and I won't have to worry about bottle bombs.

The spices were definately prominent in the flavor, maybe too much so. It has only been in primary for 9 days, so I expect they will fade and mellow over time. It had a deep, rich aroma from the spices and all the crystal malt. The alcohol was noticable, but not hot. I can certainly see where the term 'barley wine' comes from now. I think this will turn out to be a complex, interesting beer.

The beer hadn't cleared much, it was still pretty cloudy, but it had a nice dark red, mahogany hue. (Sorry, didn't think to take a pic.)

I'll leave it in the primary for a total of 3 - 4 weeks, then rack to secondary and leave it there for another 3 - 4 weeks. I'll then bottle it and set it aside until Christmas. Of course, I'll have to taste them along the way...maybe 4th of July, Halloween, and Thanksgiving, just to see how its coming along.


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