Fall has set in, Thanksgiving (and my Birthday) are only a couple weeks away, Christmas is shortly after. It is that time of year when you really want to have a beer with a little bit of warmth to it, a nice toasty malt character with some sweetness, a good body, and some spiciness to it. I have always enjoyed beers like Full Sail's Wassail, Bridgeport's Ebenezer, Deschutes' Jubelale, all of which are rich, malty, caramelly, with a nice hop character of spice, earth, and pine. Because of my love for these particular Winter Warmer beers, I decided to make my own this year.
I started with a pale malt base, layered in a couple British crystal malts for toffee, burnt sugar, and a touch of dark fruits, and chocolate malt for a touch of toasted nuts and cocoa. I hopped it with Chinook for pine and spice, as well as Willamette and Crystal for some mild floral and spicy English hop character. Round it out with London ESB for a nutty malty brew with some light fruity notes.
This was the first beer in a long time that I did a standard 60 minute mash on, and even with adjusting for a drop in efficiency, I still came in low for what I was shooting for. I added 1/2# Coconut sugar on the fly to boost the gravity up a few points, but ended up low on volume. Just under 5 gallons in the fermenter, which is fine. The Wyeast 1968 yeast is doing quite well in my beers lately, 74% apparent attenuation on this beer, 79% on my Autumn IPA, or 71% on my 1.094 22% specialty malt Imperial Stout, neither of which have sugar added, and both were mashed at 148*F overnight. Turned out to be a nice beer with a richer finish that really works well, and quite a nice chocolate note in both aroma and flavor.
NOTE: This beer took 1st place in the KLCC BJCP comp in February 2014 in the American Browns and Ambers category.
12.00# Pale Malt (Great Western) (82.2%)
0.70# British Carastan – 30/37L (4.8%)
0.70# Caramel/Crystal Malt – 135/165L (4.8%)
0.70# Chocolate Malt, Pale (Crisp) (4.8%)
0.50# Coconut Sugar (3.4%)
Mash 1 hour @ 149 - No Sparge
Boil - 60 mins:
FW 1.00oz Chinook 12.00%AA (Homegrown)
25 0.50oz Chinook 12.00%AA (Homegrown)
25 0.60oz Crystal 6.20%AA (Homegrown)
25 1.00oz Willamette 5.60%AA (Homegrown)
WP 0.50oz Chinook 12.00%AA (Homegrown)
WP 0.70oz Crystal 6.20 %AA (Homegrown)
WP 0.70oz Willamette 5.60%AA (Homegrown)
Gypsum - Mash 3/8 tsp
Epsom Salts - Mash 3/8 tsp
Calcium Chloride - Mash 6/8 tsp
Baking Soda - Mash 3/8 tsp
Pickling Lime - Mash 1 tsp
Whirfloc 1 each
Cooled to: 62 *F - aerated 10 mins
Wyeast 1968 London ESB (1/2 cup Ninkasi slurry)
65-66*F 2 days
68-69*F 1 days
70-71*F 1 days
72-73*F 10 days
11/2 Mashed in around 9am for 1 hour. Ran off 6.5 gallons into smaller kettle via pump. Gravity was very low (I wonder if I shorted myself some base malt when weighing as I chatted with an employee at Falling Sky, it didn't feel like I added 14# of grain to the MLT). Added 1/2# of Coconut sugar to boost gravity as it doesn't appear to be fully fermentable. Boiled 1 hour with hop additions as scheduled, accept Willamette as I ran out of the hop .3oz shy of the 1oz FO addition. Hop Stand for 15 mins no chiller. Added chiller and whirlpooled to chill. Racked 4.8 gallons at 62*F into 6 gallon Better Bottle with 3 shots of foam control. Aerated 10 mins. Pitched 1/2 cup thick slurry from Ninkasi at 1pm. Fitted with airlock. Signs of fermentation by 6 pm.
11/3 1+ inch of krausen, still 62*F. Wrapped with heat blanket at 65*F. Krausen got a little thicker but never reached top.
11/4 Upped temp to 68*F
11/5 Krausen appears to be dropping, swirled fermenter to get yeast back up in suspension. Bumped up to 70*F.
11/6 Bumped up to 72*F, swirled fermenter to rouse yeast back up.
11/11 Gravity down to 1.022
11/16 CO2 Force racked to keg then placed in fridge at 10psi to carbonate for a week.