Monday, October 6, 2008

Catching up - Christmas Ale

I've been a little distracted lately. I've been on the hunt for a new job, interviewing and traveling almost every weekend for some reason or another, and entertaining family a few weeks ago for my B-day. My B-day was a great one. I was pretty bummed about turning 30 this year, no0t because I think it's old, but because I feel old. I used to be a great athlete back in college (I'm usually modest, but I'm 30...time to be proud), but since then my lazy attitude toward training, and ridiculously busy schedule has led me to gain a ton of weight, and constantly injure myself. So, needless to say, even though I was turning 30, I felt like I was turning 60.

But my attitude changed greatly, when my wife pulled out the best gift a home brewer could ever get....a shiny new Blichman Boilermaker 10g brew kettle complete with the Brewmometer, ball valve spigot and borisilic glass sight gauge (yes, I wife rocks). So, what to do with my new kettle....well, brew DUH!

So this weekend, I spend the few hours of free time I had brewing a Christmas spiced beer. I was always a fan of the Saranac Seasons best beer in college, so I wanted to make a spiced ale for Christmas. My brother has always said he has a Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale every Christmas eve while putting the kid's toys together, so I told him my goal was to make one to replace that. My intention wasn't to clone it, but to make a very big, warm and spicy beer that you can enjoy by the fire on Christmas eve, or anytime during the winter. Hopefully I hit the mark. The recipe is below:

Christmas Spiced Ale (recipe created on tastybrew)

Target OG - 1.082
Actual OG. - 1.084

6 lbs light DME
4 lbs light LME
1 lbs wheat malt
1.5 lbs Munich light
1.54 lbs crystal 80L

2 oz. Kent Goldings pellet (5%AA - 60 min)
1 oz Tettnanger plug (4.5%AA - 2 min)
1 oz Hallertau pellet (4.5%AA - 2 min)

.5 tsp fresh ground cinnamon (10 min)
.25 tsp fresh ground ginger (10 min)
.25 tsp ground nutmeg (10 min)
1.5 cinnamon sticks, 2 inch (secondary)

Wyeast 1056 - American Ale (primary)
Wyeast 1056 - American Ale (secondary)

I was hoping to have a little more aroma and taste from the spices when I racked it to the carboy, but it was very faint. Next time I will definitely shy away from the plug hops too. They broke apart and clogged by auto-siphon and it was a pain in the ass to get it to the carboy. I will add the remaining cinnamon sticks to the secondary to hopefully get some more spice in the beer. That all depends on how it turns out.



Mark Andersen said...

That is one kick ass brew kettle!

As far as turning 30. Bah! Wait until you turn 40 like me and start feeling aches and pains in places you never knew existed.

Jason said...

Yeah, The kettle rocks. I just ordered a 60,000 BTU burner, so once I get it and set it up I'll post some pictures. oh, the brewing with the kettle is awesome. My chiller still fits inside even with the thermometer probe in it, so it's perfect! I couldn't be happier.

Ben said...

throw those hop plugs in a paint straining bag (reusable)--you can get them at any hardware store for about $1. Works wonders!

Overshot the OG? Nice efficiency.

Jason said...

Good point, I probably should have used a hop bag. I just bought a strainer that fits the dip tube in my kettle so as I drain the kettle, it will filter out the trub and hop debris. And I won't have to use my auto-siphon when I initially rack to the carboy.

Yeah, not sure what happened. I'm thinking it's because I actually did a sparge for this batch even though I only steeped the grains. I seem to be missing my targets a lot lately. My next beer is going to be an all grain batch, so hopefully that will help me get more consistent.