Sunday, January 11, 2015

Two Pops Christmas Ale

Brewing date: Nov. 8, 2014
Dad stirring in the mash
#33 - 6 gal

Dad came over to brew, Mom to help the wife and see her grandson.

I had intended to brew a "winter ale." Something resembling Capital Brewing's Winter Skal (a lager) or Goose Island's Mild Winter or Sam Adam's Winter Warmer. And while the recipe draws inspiration from an article from BYO that mentions Capital Brewing's Winter Skal (one of my favorites) and Norther Brewer's winter warmer, that's not what this batch turned into.

If anything, this beer more closely resembles New Belgium's Abbey Belgian Double. Quite the departure, I know. But the character is so similar to that beer, and unlike the winter ale I was shooting for.

So what happened? In short: I succumbed to the temptation to add too many malts, my efficiency was much higher than expected, it fermented too warm, and is too sharply bitter. (Oh, is that all?!)

The ABV is way too high for a Winter Ale, closer to 8% (my efficiency was much better than anticipated) and the yeast fermented too warm (creating a beer with far more ester-characteristic and an alcoholic backbone). All in all, I'm calling this beer a Christmas Ale -- mostly because it's a somewhat more opaque descriptor.

For future reference, I would use a quarter of the honey malt that's in this recipe, or cut it out entirely. It's VERY pronounced in the final product. Probably reduce the victory malt too. I'll try to add some tasting notes soon. It's also too sharply bitter for this style for my taste.

I also think my strain of 1728 Scottish Ale yeast has seen it's last day. It's been washed and reused too many times  and has sufficiently mutated beyond it's original profile.

  • 13.25 lb Maris otter
  • 1 lb Caramel 60L
  • 10 oz Honey malt
  • 10 oz Victory malt
  • 6 oz Chocolate malt
  • 6 oz Special B
  • 2 oz Liberty (4.5%, pellet) (60 min)
  • 0.25 oz Liberty (4.5%, pellet) (1 min)
  • 2 t Irish moss (15 min)
  • 1.2 L starter Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale
Target OG: 1.064
Target FG: 1.016
Target ABV: 6.3%
Target IBU: 26

  • Mash in 6 gal @ 163F
  • Rest @ 152F (60 min)
  • Mash out @168F (10 min)
  • Batch sparge 4 gal
  • Boil (60 min)
  • Chill to 66F and pitch
  • 1st running: 3.5 gal @ 1.079
  • 2nd running: 3.5 gal
  • Pre boil: 7 gal @ 1.059
  • OG: 1.073
  • Volume: 5.3 gal
  • Efficiency: 73%
  • Pitch @ 66F
  • Basement air temp 64F

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