Monday, October 17, 2011

AG#5 All Grain Christmas Beer / Winter Warmer

With winter approaching way too quickly for my liking I have got to thinking about getting the Chritsmas brew on the go. I'm wanting something with all the traditional Christmassy flavours ie oranges, chestnuts, cinnamon and cloves but not a beer that's too strong. I don't mind the occasional head banger but I'm looking for something that allows everyone to enjoy a few, hearty glasses full during the festive season. Around 5% abv will do me.

Brew days, weekend of the 15th and 16th October. A late start for me due to some errands earlier in the day. I didn't get the HLT warming up until 16:45.

In the end I settled on:

The grain bill and sad Keanu for my Winter Warmer
  • 3,800g Pale malt
  • 270g Crystal malt
  • 230g Amber malt
  • 50g Roasted barley
  • 110g Flaked barley
  • 200g Brown sugar - this was added to the recipe by myself during the brew as it began to come clear the gravity was going to end up lower than the book made out. 

Mashed for 60 minutes with 10l liquor at 65C

First runnings from the mash tun
Sparged slowly for 30 mins with 20l liquor at 79C HLT with 62C run off from Mash Tun

The taste of the run off remained sweet until the very end this time. Usually in the past I've stopped sparging when the flavour has gone and the run off is almost colourless. I think I could have ended up with an additional few litres of beer out of this brew but I currently don't have the fermenters for it.

60 minute boil - I have been doing 90 minute mash and boil but the book this recipe is based on calls for 60 mins each... we'll see. The book also didn't give any idea of target OG or FG so it's a bit of guesswork as to if the brew runs on track. Based on the approx ABV given in the book I aimed for a target gravity after the boil of 1048 to 1050 - I got 1048.

Skimming the hot break material from the wort as it approaches the boil.
As with my last brew I skimmed the hot break material away as it built up prior to reaching the rolling boil. I'm sure this makes a difference to the clarity of the final hopped wort as my last beer and this one (as I later found when running it off to the fermenter) are noticeably clearer to begin with than my others. It also makes cleaning the boiler easier afterwards as there isn't so much baked on gunk around the top of the pan.

Bittering Hops: (in at 60 mins remaining)

Nice vigourous boil and in go the bittering hops.

  • 6g Goldings
  • 20g Northern Brewer
  • 7g Styrian Goldings

Roasted chestnuts (360g peeled and chopped up) in at 15 minutes remaining.

360g of roasted chestnuts, peeled and chopped up. Not sure if 360g is enough...
Spice mixture in at 10 minutes remaining along with the rehydrated Irish Moss copper finings.

The spice ingredients were mixed together the evening before in a small tub and allowed to melange together.

The spice and orange mix for this winter warmer. Also in shot, a pint of my Olde Wizard, All Grain Stout
  • Zest of four med oranges - don't zest down to the bitter white pith, just take the surface off. Wash the oranges first, some are waxed, we don't want that.
  • 1 stick of cinnamon, approx 50mm long snapped in two
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds

Post Boil Aroma Hops in at 10 minutes after the boil finished:

Post boil hops added.
  • 8g Goldings
  • 14g Styrian Goldings
  • 12g Bramling Cross
Something I did differently this time (partly due to the lateness of getting started but partly due to a theory I had, read on below) I didn't use the wort chiller opting instead to cover up the finished, hopped wort and allowing it to cool overnight.

I popped the lid onto the boiler and left it all to cool down overnight. I've been reading about oils from chestnuts and the orange zest not only imparting flavour and aroma but also causing problems with the beers head retention. My thoughts were that if I allow the hopped wort to cool overnight the oils can do their thing and hopefully float to the surface. As my system drains via a filter from the bottom of the pan the oils should be kept away from getting into the Fermenter... this I do not know to be a fact.

The following morning the wort temperature was still at 35C, too high to pitch the yeast so I ran the wort off into the FV, covered it up to continue cooling while I cleaned up and got ready for my second brew of this weekend which I will be posting shortly.

When fermentation had taken the gravity down to 1,009 I racked off the beer into my secondary fermenting bin and dry hopped with a light handful of Bramling Cross hops. A sneaky taste before sealing the lid up and fitting an airlock gave me a subtle but pleasant Christmassy flavour. Great colour too and looking like it's clearing down ok.

UPDATE 20/10/11:
I have now bottled this beer and it's smelling, tasting and looking very good. All Grain Christmas Beer Bottled.

No comments:

Post a Comment