First Recipe, need critique Winter Warmer

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xjoedx

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Morning! This is the first recipe that I built completely from the ground up and would like some advice. I am going for a Winter Warmer style that has a deep red to mahogany color, so not entirely black. Flavor should have some malt sweetness with caramel and raisin notes as well as some spices (cinnamon, ginger, maybe star anise) and orange peel--those will be added either last 10 min of boil, or at flame out. This will be kegged and aged for a while, hoping to brew in the next two weeks and tap after Thanksgiving. Not planning on adjusting my water at all for simplicity's sake.

Let me know what you think!

HOME BREW RECIPE:
Title: Winter Warmer
Author: Joe

Brew Method: All Grain
Style Name: Winter Seasonal Beer
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 5.5 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 7.5 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.049
Efficiency: 65% (brew house)


STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.074
Final Gravity: 1.018
ABV (standard): 7.29%
IBU (tinseth): 32.18
SRM (morey): 25.99
Mash pH: 0

FERMENTABLES:
10 lb - Maris Otter Pale (61.5%)
2 lb - Dark Munich (12.3%)
2 lb - Crystal 60L (12.3%)
1 lb - Extra Dark Crystal 120L (6.2%)
4 oz - Pale Chocolate (1.5%)
1 lb - Honey - (late addition) (6.2%)

HOPS:
1 oz - Fuggles, Type: Pellet, AA: 4.2, Use: Boil for 60 min, IBU: 14.69
1 oz - East Kent Goldings, Type: Pellet, AA: 5, Use: Boil for 60 min, IBU: 17.49

MASH GUIDELINES:
1) Infusion, Temp: 152 F, Time: 605 min, Amount: 5 gal
2) Sparge, Temp: 170 F, Time: 5 min, Amount: 6 gal, Batch
Starting Mash Thickness: 1.33 qt/lb

YEAST:
Imperial Yeast - A10 Darkness
Starter: Yes
Form: Liquid
Attenuation (custom): 71%
Flocculation: Medium
Optimum Temp: 62 - 72 F
Fermentation Temp: 67 F
Pitch Rate: 1.0 (M cells / ml / deg P)
 
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xjoedx

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With that much crystal your gonna get a darker beer then your wanting. Darkness is an awesome strain.
Brewbama said the same too. Do y’all think cutting it down to 1/2lb each will still give me the flavor profile I am looking for? Also, I’ve read you can get some astringency from dark malts. Any concern with the level of chocolate malt?

The reason I put so much of the crystal was to get the deep red/amber/mahogany color. I was concerned with the Munich and Maris Otter it would be too yellow/brown in color. But I still want the bready/malty flavor from those two malts.
 

brownni5

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Yeah, way less crystal. If you really want a red color, there are malts for that (with red or copper in their name). Special B will also lend a red color. I'm not a big fan of crystal malts. - a pound total would be too much for me, but might be just right for you.

4 oz of pale chocolate in a big beer? Astringency won't be a problem. A full pound wouldn't give astringent flavors in my opinion.
 

Jag75

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I recently had a red kolsch that was 100% viking red malt. Was a great color and a great tasting beer
 
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xjoedx

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Why not melanoidin for the red color?
I’ve never used melanoidin or special b but reading up on them, it looks like one or both might be actually what I’m looking for instead of the combination of crystal malts. If I use melanoidin, should I cut the Munich as well? Or should those play nicely together.

Thinking now it needs to be MO, Munich, Special B, Pale Chocolate, and either melanoidin or crystal 120.
 

brewbama

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If using Special B I’d skip the C120. To me it’s one or the other.

Melanoidin gives deep red color and malty flavor. I think you’re ok using it with Munich. I prefer the lighter Munich vs the darker Munich. Just me.

Have you considered Simpson DRC vs the other crystals? It will give a red-brown hue but with low/no astringency.

Carared gives deep red color also.

My philosophy: use only what is necessary to reach your goal. Eliminate everything not required. Base or combination of base malts to get bulk of maltiness and OG, limit character malts for color and flavors.

Your original recipe reminds me of a Porter: base, med crystal, dark crystal, chocolate. Which is great. But if you’re looking for red vs black I think you’ll be disappointed.

If I was shooting for a deep red Winter Warmer I’d probably do 95% base, 3.5% med crystal, 1.5% roasted barley. Again, just me.
 
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xjoedx

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Yeah I think I may be overthinking it a bit. I am looking for something that borders the red/brown line. Basically as dark as you can get while still having some red in it when held up to the light. I looked into Carared, but read reviews that combining special B and 120 gives a better result. Here is where I am currently. I think this should give me the dark fruit and caramel I am looking for. Pale chocolate is there more for a touch of coloring, but any flavor it brings is welcome. Lovibond ratings based on Morebeer


FERMENTABLES:
10 lb - Finest Maris Otter 3.5 L (58%)
5 lb - Dark Munich 8-10 L (29%)
1 lb - Honey - (late addition) (5.8%)
8 oz - Crystal Extra Dark - 150L (2.9%)
8 oz - Special B 145 L (2.9%)
4 oz - Pale Chocolate 225 (1.4%)
 

Jag75

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Do you have any brewing programs? I would look into those . They allow you to input your recipe while showing the ph and sodium and sulfate levels as well as srm. Have you looked into the recipe section yet? There are tons of good info in there . Are you looking for like a Christmas ale?
 
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xjoedx

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Yea, I’ve used brewers friend for the past 4-5 brews. This is just the first where I didn’t find a recipe I liked and then build off of it, rather this was a ground up build.
 
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xjoedx

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I think what I am going to do is cut the pale chocolate and just do MO, Munich, Special B, and Crystal 140ish (depending on what I can buy). Bumping the mash to 154 to leave some more residual sugars and aim for 7.5%ABV. Will post some pics from brewday in a few weeks as well as the final product. Thanks for the advice!
 
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