||HOLIDAY ALE 1998
Finally, after three years of making a Holiday Spiced Ale I won a Second Place Ribbon in the 1999 BABO Competition. I've learned a lot over those three years by using different spice combinations. After the first year of using fresh Ginger I found out what I thought was a little (2oz fresh grated ), goes a long way and I didn't use it again. The second year whole Allspice pods (10 pods )to much ,so that was out also. In 1996 and 1997 I added spices for the last 15 minutes of the boil and let steep about 20 minutes before chilling. The 1998 version I thought about trying something different. So I added the spices I wanted to use to a small amount of EverClear , covered and let steep for a month. This method produced a nice spice flavor ( like apple pie ) but very alcoholic (hot) taste. It was just a small amount for a test. I didn't know if a larger amount of EverClear would affect the taste of the beer , so I didn't use it. After some discussion with other people about the effect the alcohol would or would not have on the taste of the beer, I think I may try it sometime anyway.
So for the 1998 batch I made a tea by steeping 5 Cinnamon Sticks, 1.5 tsp of lightly crushed Cardamom , zest from 2 Oranges and .5 tsp of ground Nutmeg in 1 Quart of water at 160 degs for 1 hour. I strained the tea into a glass measuring cup and boiled down to 2 cups. Then added to the secondary. After 2 weeks I tasted it and decided it needed more flavor so I made some more spice tea, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1tsp Cardamom and 1 tsp ground Nutmeg in 1 cup of water boiled for 10 minutes and let steep until cool and added to secondary . One problem I didn't think of was the boiling of the spices. One of the comments on the score sheet was "some Astringency from spices. May want to steep spices." Other comments mostly about Nutmeg and Cardamom as dominate aroma and flavor. I guess I will cut back on those spices. Over all the flavors of the spices seemed to work out OK. I'm happy but I think I'll make some small changes for the next one.
Now to the Malts and Hops. The 1996 version was, 7 lbs pale, 4 lbs Munich Dark, 1/2 lb Cara-Pils, 1/4 lb Chocolate, 1/5 lb 80L and 1/5 lb Special-B. Hops, 1oz Northern Brewer at 60 and 15 mins and 1oz Cascade at 0 mins for 43 IBU's. Mash 122 degs for 30 mins and 155 for 60 mins. This beer was very clear ( was it the 122 deg rest? ). SG 1.061 FG1.012. Judges comments "Nice Color , Needs more Malt , Better Head Retention." The 1997 brew, 10 lbs Pale, 2.5 lbs CaraVienna, 1 lb Cara-Pils, 2.5 lbs Aromatic, 1/2 lb Special -B and 1/4 lb Flaked Barley. Hops , 3/4 oz Perl 60 mins, 1 oz Mt. Hood 30 mins, 1.5 oz Cascade 0 mins and 1/4 oz Centeninal 0 mins for 41 IBU's. SG 1.070
FG 1.020. Judges comments " Nice Color, Like the Malt, To Many Competing Spices and Head Retention Good. " Looks like I improved on the Malt by using more base malt and head retention with Flaked Barley. I also changed the mash schedule a bit, I used a rest at 135degs instead of 122degs. I don't know if that made a difference though. There has been a lot of talk about lower temperature rests on HBD lately. This beer wasn't as clear as the previous year. In both of these beers I used 1056 yeast and got no comments about esters, that makes sense. I thought both the '96 and '97 were to bitter from the hops.
The 1998 batch, 10 lbs DWC Pale, 2.5 lbs CaraVienna, 2.5 lbs Aromatic, 1/2 lb Special-B, 1/4 lb Flaked Barley, 1/2 lb Cara-Pils. First rest at 122 degs ( all grains except Flaked Barley ) for 30 mins. Raise to 158 and add Flaked Barley hold for 60 mins add 2 gals of 190 deg and direct heat to raise to mash out temperature of 165 degs. No sparge drain to Kettle and top to 6.5 gals. Boil 10 mins and start Hop additions, 1/4 oz Galena 12.9% for 60 mins, 1 oz Cascade 7% for 30 mins and 2 oz Tettnanger 4.4% 0 mins for 34 IBU's. At knock out add 12 pod of Cardamom and 4 shakes of Nutmeg. Let steep covered for 30 mins. Then chill to 70 degs. Racked to primary onto Yeast from last batch Fault Line Ale Yeast. Had a 3 hour Lag time. Primary for 2 weeks. Rack to Secondary for 4 days and added Spice Tea. After 27 days added more Spice Tea. All fermentation in the low to mid 60's. SG 1.076 FG 1.029. After 14 more days Rack to keg, set the CO2 pressure to 30 psi at 48 degs for 3-5 days then lower to 15 psi lower Temp to 35 degs and let Lager for 4 - 6 weeks. The FG 1.026 came out a bit higher then I had planed on. I think that was due to the high mash temperature, 158 degs and the use of Cara-Pils and CaraVienna that total was 3 lbs of mostly unfermentables. Judges comments " Good Color, Good Clarity, Good Head Retention , Nice Malt Character, Good well made Beer, and Base Beer well brewed ." Some negative comments "To Sweet, A little more beer flavor to stand up to the spices, No malt in Aroma and Back off on the Cardamom a little ." So with a little tweaking here and there maybe it's a First Place next BABO.
Updated: May 06, 1999.