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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.

09-13-01

Pumpkin Ale

09-13-01It is getting around that time of year to start thinking about Pumpkin Ales. There are a ton commercially out there nowadays but a homebrewer is never satisfied. Last year I made a Pilgrim Porter that had four pounds of pumpkin put into the boil kettle. It was an extract batch with some specialty grains in there, but it was wonderful. To date it is my wife’s favorite beer that I have made. This year I think I’m going to take a different approach.

In the Pilgrim Porter I was more looking for a Thanksgiving beer that was rich in flavor and had some hints of pumpkin pie in there. This year I want to make a stronger beer that has more pumpkin flavor, nice mouthfeel, and most importantly a great aftertaste. Something along the lines of Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale, which happens to be my favorite pumpkin style beer. DFH had the following video on their site about their Pinkin Ale.

YouTube Preview Image

Well what do I take away from this? First are the three ways they add flavor and sugar to this beer; pumpkin meat in the mash, brown sugar in the boil, and spices at the end of the boil. I had already planned on doing the same thing but it is nice to know I was on the right track. The second thing is the color, it is orange and looks like a pumpkin. Something to shoot for. Lastly is that they didn’t want it to be too much like pumpkin pie or spice, but has to have pumpkin flavor.

I’m still working on a recipe, and seeing that pumpkins are not going to be in the stores for a little longer it gives me time to plan out my beer. I’m not sure if I want to add brown sugar or not or something more along the lines of a honey or even no adjuncts at all. I know that I do not want to used canned pumpkin but fresh. I think my spice rack has everything I need in it already but I do need to get some fresh cinnamon. I will get a recipe up here as soon I complete it and I will keep you updated on the progress once it starts.

08-25-03

Pete’s Wicked Ale Wanderlust Cream Ale Beer Review

08-25-02I recently got a variety pack from Pete’s Wicked Ale and in it was Wanderlust Cream Ale. I’m not a big fan of cream ales to begin with, but I tried to keep a clear head. To be fair my only other experience with a cream ale is Genesee, which, while my best man’s father loves it, I do not. Anyway, the bottle is pretty neat looking as you can see from the pictures.

I opened up the bottle and poured it out. There was a nice sweet aroma in the air which a nice fluffy head, that quickly vanished into nothing. I didn’t notice any hops or anything like that on the nose, just a pleasant sweet smell. This is just a nice looking beer. It is perfectly clear and the color of a pale ale.

08-25-03Looks don’t matter much if the taste can’t back it up. My first taste was light. There wasn’t a lot going on. There was some malt sweetness and just a hint of hop on the back end, but that was about it. I kept drinking to see if I could explore some other flavors, and the only thing I noticed as I kept drinking was a metallic taste. It was creamy, but a bit lighter than what I am used to. I guess it fits the style of beer pretty well, but as I said in the second sentence of this post, I don’t like it.

If you like cream ales, you would enjoy this beer, but that is all I would recommend it to. Click the read more link to see more pictures of the beer and the neat bottle. (more…)

A little background

If you haven’t read the About Us page yet, I suggest you go on over and start that. If you have, and want to know more, then here is the post for you. My name is Nate and I am the tech/internet savy person who started this site, Pete was an afterthought. I got my inception to beer a couple of years ago and haven’t grown tired of the stuff yet. I’ve enjoyed making trips out to different bars, breweries, and 6-pack stores trying to sample as much as I can. And no, I’m not the snobby beer drinking who asks of little sample glasses and leaves when I’m at the bar (you know who you are).

I drink my beers fully by the glass, 6-pack, or case. I love drinking beer, but I have also gotten into homebrewing. This site will be a mix of beer reviews, homebrew, and beer culture. I’ve been homebrewing for two and a half years or so, mostly on the Mr. Beer setup. This last summer I finally converted over and got the 7.5 gal plastic buckets and all of the other necessary things. I’ve made everything, good and bad, from stouts, lagers, IPAs, Red Ales, and even a cider. I am getting ready to make my jump into all grain. So with that, my introduction is done. Think what you may, but I’m having a great time trying new stuff and creating some concoctions of my own.