Nameless Christmas Ale

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Nameless Christmas Ale

I am still contemplating what the name of this brew is going to be, but I think that I'll get into that more when I start working on a label. Right now, the plan is to load up on bombers (it's a great excuse to stop at Galeville and grab a bomber every now and again) and make some labels for the brew. I'll bottle all or most of it in bombers (30 for 5 gallons) and put a unique label on them. The thought is that I'll wrap up with two goblets (from Syracuse China) each and give them out as Christmas gifts.

I was thinking something with Clark W. Griswold, but we'll see.

Anyway, the brewing went well, I struck at 154f for 45min, decoct for 10 min to get the mash up to 168f. I did a fly sparge for about 35min at 170f and was able to collect about 8 gallons. the recipe called for a 90 min boil, so I did that (especially since I had such a good volume).

All went well. I added the spices at 1min and mixed them all together before adding them to the wort. In the end I had a brew that weighed in at 1.090 and I was able to pitch a very healthy yeast. So much so that it was a problem. It was bubbling out of the cracks between the bucket and the lid! It's the first time I've had that happen. That only lasted about 32hrs. Now it's slowed and it's about ready for secondary. I'll do that later this week.

It was a great brew day. This is a busy time for me, so it's nice to have something that takes my mind off of work and I can focus on brewing.



I racked this over and when I tasted it, the anise was totally overwhelming the spice profile (note to self, no more anise EVER) so I added another teaspoon of apple pie spice and a half teaspoon of ground ginger. After a week like that, I took a taste and STILL wasn't happy so I took Ted's advice and added 2 shots of Appleton rum and another tablespoon of apple pie spice. I had a small sample of that and it was really good, complex, warming and not overpowered by any one flavor or smell. The final spice breakdown was as follows:

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1tsp vanilla extract
3 tsp apple pie spice
2 shots of Appleton rum
a pinch of anise seed (don't add next time)


Keith said...

This sounds great! I really ought to start thinking about a holiday beer. Last year the name was "Christmas Presence".

andy said...

Kris Kringale

Ted Danyluk said...

Most already know I'm bad when it comes to names, and naming beers. I just called mine Holiday Spiced Ale 2. So I wouldn't be much help to you. Sounds like yours will be a nice big ale for the holidays. I too bottled my whole batch, cause it will mostly go out to all my good friends. Lots of spice, and the rum should give it a good alcoholic kick.

Travis said...

I am thinking "Cousin Eddy's Christmas Ale" with a priceless pic of Cousin Eddy (yea I found it already). Ted, any suggestions on the spices? I want this one to be pretty spicy.

Ted Danyluk said...

Sorry Travis, for not getting to your question in time. I don't always follow up right away on comments on fellow blogs. When I get around to checking google reader, my brain recalls I left a comment on your site, and that's days later. Next time, just give me a call, or email.

I think you did the right thing by adding more pie spice blend to sort-of balance out the anise. Some spices like this one are cruelly potent. Using them even a little can simply ruin a beer. Blending spices is definitely a wise approach. When using one a two spices, especially if potent, you need to have a very light hand.

But, it looks like a big enough beer to handle the extra pie spice and rum. I'd like to hear how it turns out. I've been good about not opening one of mine. I want to wait, because there are a lot of flavors that need to meld together. I'll probably wait another week and a half when my whole family is together.

I do have a worry that the cassia bud additions will be too strong, but the vanilla and rum were also fairly potent and may balance it. There are also a lot of hops. So we'll see.

Jonathan said...

I like Cousin Eddy's. You could also call it Hannukah Sucks. Or, since you're up towards the North Pole, Cold as Balls.

I hate you, but I miss hating you at the same time. Will be glad to have you back in action after all of this election nonsense.

Travis said...

I too hate you. Not out of the woods yet, after the 4th I am all back to norm and it's ON!

I found a great Cousin Eddy pic so I think I am going there. Go to hell, war back on soon!

amm002 said...

Travis, I like your blog. I just brewed a saison using star anise, and now I'm wondering if it was a mistake. It's fermenting now, and actually smells great coming out of the air lock. Hopefully the flavor follows suit.