Late for christmas ale; can I get anything similar in 10 days?

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Micha

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Hi there;

Our brew schedule has been a mess recently, and we forgot to brew a Christmas Ale — we are a few months late alright. However, we'd like to have something with those notes (cinnamon and such) for new year's eve and we'll have a session on Sunday. Any advice on a nice all-grain recipe with a wintery touch, ready and drinkable before Jan. 1st? We'll force carb, of course. Maybe something in the low 1.050s, 15% caramel, and spices/orange?

Any help super-welcome! Thanks!
 

Brulosopher

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I've had an idea to use some orange & cinnamon tea to add a quick punch of flavor to a "quick turnaround" beer. For 10 days, though, I think your only decent option would be some sort of Hefeweizen- I made a delicious American Wheat that went from grain to glass in 8 days; it was a hit! After a couple days of fermenting, steep some good orange/cinnamon tea and throw it into the fermenter for a couple days. I can't imagine it'd be terrible.

Otherwise, I think most traditional Xmas beers are out.

Cheers!
 

aiptasia

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I'd suggest a similar witbier with about a half ounce of mulling spices tossed into the boil, a hyper-aggressive yeast like WLP007, pac-man or Super San Diego and let it sit in the primary as long as possible before you keg and force carb.
 
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Micha

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Very kind of you both! Keep it coming, I'm sure I can end up with a nice Hefeweihnachtweissen of some sort :)
 

kpr121

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I think a very important note is that if you are planning on using cinnamon, make sure it is GOOD QUALITY. This should go without stating but I’ve been known to use McCormicks or similar in some instances. That crap takes a long time to mellow out.
 
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Micha

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@kpr121: Thanks! So you recommend freshly grated cinnamon and nutmeg, right? Is that the best way to ensure a good mellowing?
 

kpr121

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I would say yes, freshly grated is your best bet. Also if you want it done in 10 days Id think you want to keep the quantity/amount of spices to a minimum. Just enough that you know it’s there.
 

Jayhem

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This late in the game if it were me I would just take something I already have bottled, pop the tops, toss in a pinch of spice and re-cap them. :p
 

Brulosopher

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I would not use spices at this point, regardless of quality
 

LexusChris

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I would say yes, freshly grated is your best bet. Also if you want it done in 10 days Id think you want to keep the quantity/amount of spices to a minimum. Just enough that you know it’s there.
Agreed. If you are using fresh spices, they usually take a few months to mellow out ... so you should go really lite on them for something that will be consumed in the very near term. Very lite.

Personally, I'm more likely to follow Brulosopher's suggestion. Don't use spices for this one. As an alternate, you can use a yeast which gives you lots of phenolic notes.. (Wheat or Belgian strains like WLP351, WLP530, etc.) and ferment on the low side .. 62-F - 64-F. That can give you some of that spiciness you are looking for. (e.g. brew a Northern English Brown, but with WLP530 at low-temps)

Good luck and happy holidays!
--LexusChris
 
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