Thursday, September 15, 2005

Santa Needs Helpers

It's Thursday night, it's raining and I just finished up bottling a batch of strong brew. I found a use for my vial of White Labs 400 (Wit) and seventeen days ago I brewed a partial mash recipe with five kinds of grain, fortified with a 3.3 pound can of Munton's Light Malt Extract. I used the rest of my German hops; Perle and Spalt, along with some spices such as cardamom, sweet orange peel and coriander. I'm calling it Santa's Little Helper. What I've got so far is a strong light brown ale with a big caramel malt presence, some complex esters and phenols, along with a fairly bitter finish -- the makings of a fairly complex brew. The esters are completely different that what I thought I'd get; mostly caramel, a bit of sugary-vanilla and a hint of leather in the nose. The tartness that I expected is also missing, perhaps due to the elevated fermentation temps of around 83-85 degrees F. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with batch so far. I'll be posting the recipe when I get a chance, but for now it's sleepy time. I love homebrewing, but bottling can be exhausting.


Hunahpu said...

Bottling is my least favorite thing in homebrewing. These days, I mostly keg. I do, however, occasionally bottle off of my keg, say, for competition.

Marc said...

I seem to have forgotten to post an update on this particular brew. (I guess I've had more important thing to do.) The Santa's Little Helper turned out as more of fall than a winter beer. I guess it didn't seem strong enough to be a winter warmer or Belgian Grand Cru, like I had intended, so I've renamed it Autumnal Amber Ale. It's a dark amber, almost brown, but I think it's closer in style to spiced dubble or brown ale than a "Christmas" beer. I think I used too many different spices. The rosemary and marjoram may have been a bit over the top.