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Winter Warmer Recipe

11-20-01In my last homebrew post I talked about doing a Colonial American style beer. Well I am still working on that, but I have a lot more reading to do so that I can make it accurately. In the meantime, I thought that I would embrace the coming season change and got with a winter warmer. I’ve always been a fan of winter seasonal beers, but I have never made one of my own. My wife has also been asking me to make something dark and malty. A winter warmer fits perfectly into that style.

Let me begin with the fact that I have only had a handful of beers classified as “winter warmer” before in my life. I think my favorite belongs to Lancaster Brewing Company, which I enjoyed plenty of last year back in PA. The things I like about it are the facts that it has a huge body, a lot of different flavor notes (some fruit, chocolate, brown sugar, molasses, and caramel), and it all comes in being very well balanced. Furthermore, for an 8.9% abv beer there isn’t much, if any, alcohol noticeable and there is not a lot of hop bite on the back. The malt and complexity in it are what shine in this beer.

So I began doing some research trying to find a starting point with this beer. And after all was said and done, I came up with a recipe that I think is unique and should deliver a great amount of complexity.

  • 8.0 lbs American 2-Row
  • 2.0 lbs Maris Otter Pale Malt
  • 1.0 lbs Caramel Malt 90L
  • 1.0 lbs Chocolate Malt
  • 0.5 lbs Chocolate Wheat Malt
  • 0.5 lbs Chocolate Rye Malt
  • 0.5 lbs American Black Patent
  • 1.0 lbs Molasses
  • 1 oz Fuggle hops (3.6% AA for 60 mins)
  • 1 oz Fuggle hops (3.6% AA for 15 mins)
  • Nottingham Dry Ale yeast, with starter

I’m planning on mashing this at about 150 degrees for an hour. Doing so should give a nice balance between malt character and easy fermenting sugar. The 1 lb of molasses will be added into the kettle during the first runnings. I put a lot of dark malts into this beer becasue I want something with some coffee, molasses, and chocolate notes.

The chocolate wheat and rye were a last minute decision and the original recipe had one pound of wheat malt. I’ve never used chocolate wheat/rye malt and this is my first experience with rye malt overall, so I’m not entirely sure what impacts they will have. From my  understanding, rye malt tends to dry a beer out and give a crisper feel to it. Even at that, it makes up about 4% of then total grain bill, so it should not have a large effect weather it be positive or negative.

I also went with a dry ale yeast here for a few reasons. First, I used it on the pumpkin ale with good results. Second, the dry ale yeast is easy to make a starter with and with the fluctuation in temperatures here in Texas during this time of year (40 degrees between day and night) I didn’t want any active yeast to suffer. Third is that the optimal temperature range for this yeast is 57-70 degrees which falls perfectly into my apartment’s temperatures. Fourth, it is highly flocculant (precipitating) and highly attenuating. And lastly, it has a lost ester profile, so the malt should be able to shine through even more when it is not competing with the hops or yeast esters.

The final stats on the beer look like this:

  • OG 1.075
  • 39 SRM
  • 7.5% ABV
  • 20.0 IBUs

I plan of fermenting for a week (or until fermention is complete) and than putting it into a secondary for 2-3 weeks. After that I will bottle it and leave it condition for another 2-3 weeks (hopefully there will be no carbonation problems this time around). Then I can finally enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Molasses Milk Stout Recipe

11-03-01My buddy Pete, who you have probably seen around here commenting, has been in Saudi Arabia for the last month and a half or so on a job. I really can’t explain exactly what he does, but know know that he has been suffering in a dry country x2 (it’s hot and alcohol is banned!) but he is coming home pretty soon. Right before he left he went on a brewing frenzy doing a milk stout, two pumpkin beers, and another beer that is escaping me right now. He sent my the recipe for his Molasses Milk Stout so I figured I would share it on here.

  • 8 lbs  Marris Otter
  • 1.25 lbs Roasted Barely
  • 1.00 lbs British Pale Chocolate
  • .75 lbs Crystal 60 L
  • .5 British Chocolate
  • 1 cup Blackstrap Molasses  60 min
  • 1 lbs Lactose Powder  15 min
  • 1.0 oz Goldings Pellets 5.75 %AA  60 min
  • British Ale Yeast 1098  Wyeast

11-03-02It sounds wonderful and from the pictures I have received, looks wonderful as well. I haven’t gone through the calculations for the ABV but it should be a nice middle of the road beer. He collected 6 gallons of wort from his batch. Everything was mashed at 152 for 60 minutes and then a 60 minute boil with the molasses going for the full boil. Lactose in the last 15 to make it a milk stout. He said he has some changes planned for next time, but I don’t know what those are as of yet. Pete should be hope soon and hopefully we can drink some of this stuff not long after.

Pete sent me a few other recipes that I will be getting up here once I finally get over this cold. Once again I want to apologize for the lack of posting, I just have not been feeling well for the past week or so. The updates will pick back up once I get my life back in order.

09-28-04

Sam Adams Boston Ale Beer Review

09-28-04Sam Adams is one of the first craft brewers to really make a big success out of well made beers. Heck they are so successful that they even run TV ads, something that most, if not all other, craft brewers stay away from or don’t have the money to spend on. Sam does make some great brews with their largest success being the Boston Lager.

When I saw the Boston Ale in the six pack store last week I was a bit surprised, but I figured I would give it a shot and see how it was. It is part of their Brewmaster’s Collection and I have had good and not so good samples of that “line” of their beers. Anyway, the beer pours a light amber and appears to be slightly darker than the Boston Lager. By now you guessed that there are going to be a lot of comparisons to the Boston Lager right now and you would be correct in guessing that. There is a slightly off white head with large and small bubbles. The beer is perfectly clear.

09-28-02The smell on the nose is a bit more complex than what I was expecting. There is the malty sweetness, a bit of a rye smell (no idea where that came from), and some biscuit. I didn’t really pick up any hops or esters in it. I would expect some slight esters becasue of the ale yeast verses the lager yeast. Both can be done with or without esters however.

On my first taste I felt that the beer floated on the tongue and then crashed on the back of my pallet. There is some biscuit taste with some toasty flavors in there as well. The malt sweetness is mostly caramel and there is a bit of hop bitterness on the back. The malt and hop balance it tilted towards the malt side, but in a good way.

Boston Ale is a fully bodied beer that is extremely drinkable. I find that a lot of Sam Adams (Boston Beer Company) beers represent a style of beer that might to toned down just a bit, but are very drinkable and a decent example of the style they represent. For a newcomer to craft beer, their beers might open a door to a new style that they have not tried before. Boston Ale was just wonderful. I’ve actually gone back out and purchased two more six packs becasue I (and the wife) enjoy it so much. One of our later six packs must of been a bit older becasue it was a bit duller in taste and had some metallic undertones. I still really enjoyed to fresh version of this beer and I think most people would also enjoy it. (more…)

07-21-01

Portland Breweries: McMenamins

07-21-01McMenamins is another chain that has dozens of locations in the Portland area. I know you are thinking that I traveled across the country to visit chain breweries; this is the last one. We went to the McMenamins Crystal Ball location. The funny thing is that have an additional bar the next block down. Weird.

McMenamins was a werid place overal, but I dug it. When Smalls and I entered there was a large bar area, and a decent seating area. Overtop the bar was a huge concoction of things. Broken glass, odd figures, bits and pieces of just about anything. It gave a folky vibe, which for an Irish place, is somewhat fitting. Smalls and I ordered our normal water and sampler.

In the sampler was a fruit beer, pale ale, stout, pilsner, wheat, and a porter. Most Portland breweries seemed to have a good selection of brews that run the gambit. To start out with we had the Pilsner called Bagdad Ale. It was a pretty tasty Pilsner with nice sutble flavors that would be perfect on a hot day. It was a great example of how you can use ale yeast for a lager. We then moved onto the wheat named Edgefield Wheat. I was alright, a typical American Wheat which some not subtle flavors but nothing to write home about.

The fruit beer was next on the list. It was called the Ruby and was pinkish in color. I never really had a beer that was that color before, so I was a little werided out. It is brewed a puree of Oregon grown raspberries as well. IF you have read this blog in the past, you know I’m not a fan of fruit beers, and this one did not agree with me. It was too sweet, to overly fruited (is that even correct english?) and there was nothing other than fruit. Not a fan.

Terminator Stout was McMenamins offering of a stout. Pretty typical flavors, mouthfeel, and aftertaste. I enjoyed it, but then again a typical tasting stout is pretty good on its own. Black Rabbit Porter was pretty excellent. It had a nice coffee flavor to it and Smalls promptly called dibs on it after tasting. Is it weird that I don’t like coffee, but I like coffee flavors in beer? Just saying. The final beer we had at McMenamins was their top seller, a pale ale, Hammerhead. It was a bit higher in hops than what I like in a pale ale but it was well balanced and fit the name. It was clean and really hit the spot.

The food wasn’t half bad at McMenamins either.  We got there for the lunch special and got all of our food and beer for under $25. Being that we had a $25 gift certificate, we each ordered another pint to finish it off. I got the Hammerhead and Smalls decided on the Pils. Pretty good place, both beer and food were not up to the standards of some of the future breweries I will write about from Portland. I would put the beer slightly behind Rock Bottom, and the food way behind it.

SB Birthday Beer

09-02-16-01One of my dear friends is turning 21 soon and she asked if I could make a homemade beer for her. Naturally I was thrilled that someone other than my roommate and I wanted to drink my beer, so I accepted the challenge. She is a big tea freak and wanted some tea flavor in the beer. I decided that a wheat beer would be ideal for a tea flavored beer. Wheat beers carry a lot of complex flavors that I thought would compliment the beer nicely.

I made a trip out to my homebrew store last week and got all of the necessary supplies. Below is a list of everything I picked up:

  • 3 pounds American 2-Row Pale malt
  • 3 pounds Wheat malt
  • 1 pound 60 Crystal malt
  • 1 oz Saaz hops (3.6%)
  • 1 tube liquid American Hefeweizen Ale yeast

I know that most wheat beers generally have a 50% wheat grain bill, but I wanted to make this an amber colored wheat beer and the homebrew store was running a bit low on wheat malt. This is supposed to make about 4 gallons worth of beer. I started my mash trying to get the grains to 110 degrees for 15 minutes, then 125 degrees for 15 minutes, and then finally 153 degrees for 45 minutes. All of these different temperatures are an attempt to release different characteristics from the wheat.

I boiled for the normal 60 with a half ounce of the Saaz going for the full boil and the other half ounce going for the last 15. I took the beer off the burner and put two teabags into wort leaving them there for only a minute or so. the  Everything went well and I cooled down the wort and pitched the yeast. The next day I took a look at my airlock and bubbles were firing away.

09-02-17-02I was unsure of the tea she wanted to use when I got my supplies. The day before brew day she gave me Chi Tea. I’m not a big tea guy so I made up a cup and found it to be very gingery. Not something I would put with a wheat beer with hefeweizen yeast. That’s the reason for such a short time in wort. I think the Chi would of gone great with a winter warmer type beer as the flavors are those I typically taste in a winter beer. At first glance I achieved an effieceny of 75% from my batch sparge and we are looking at an ABV of 4.3%. I’m pretty happy with that and I’m looking forward to trying this beer as it ages through and finally is ready to drink out of a bottle on her birthday in March.