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Showing posts from November, 2018

Big and Mead-y Ale 1.0

While enjoying one of Avery Brewing's high-gravity beers recently, I began to wonder just how hard it would be to brew a beer in excess of 16% alcohol by volume. The best I've managed to date has been a Belgian-style dark strong ale that came in at 12.8% ABV. Could I really push yeast to deliver a beer (in this case a hybrid of mead and beer) at 16% or higher ABV? I wanted to find out.

I began by researching what's known and published online about "really high gravity" brewing like this. Below is what I learned:
Some sources suggest aiming for an OG of 1.106 initially. Others suggest keeping it to 1.120. White Labs, in its notes for WLP099 Super High Gravity Yeast, suggests a lower gravity - something that would produce a 6-8% beer, and adding fermentables later.Wort pH during the mash should stay between 5.0 and 5.3.Be sure to increase the amount of hops used to offset the higher gravity and sweetness of the alcohol you'll be generating.Add nutrients, adjunct…

Christmas Ale 2018

Last year, I brewed a Christmas Ale extract kit from the good folks at Label Peelers. It made a really good Christmas Ale, especially after I dialed down the hops.

This time, I want something more Belgian-like. I'm aiming for a nice malty base with a hint of chocolate. I'll use Magnum hops to bitter it, but Bramling Cross hops for flavor and aroma. Bramling Cross can impart fruity, citrus, blackcurrant, loganberry, gooseberry, and lemon notes to a beer - which I think will blend nicely with the spice mix. I'm planning to use almost the same spice mix as the Label Peelers kit from last year, but doubling the amount of cinnamon stick used to punch that up and dialing back the ginger by half. I'm also adding some nutmeg.

Since I have a packet of Wyeast 3522 Ardennes yeast on hand, I'll use that for fermentation. This yeast is known to produce a balance of fruity esters and spicy phenols which will hopefully go well with the beer. Being a fan of Belgian style beers, I…

2018 Pumpkin Ale 1.0

My wife and I enjoy a good pumpkin ale. My personal favorite is Hoppin' Frog's Frog Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale. I also enjoy Heavy Seas Great'r Pumpkin (a barrel aged pumpkin ale) and Southern Tier's Pumking. I found a recipe recently that looked promising, so I scaled it down to fit the Zymatic and ordered the ingredients. Tonight, I brewed it.

Ingredients
4.25 pounds of Two-Row Pale Malt
7 ounces of Munich Light Malt
7 ounces of Belgian Caravienne
4 ounces of Carafoam
2 ounces of Biscuit Malt
4.5 ounces of Wildflower Honey added to mash water
15 ounces of canned Organic Pumpkin
0.5 ounces of Crystal hops @ 3.5% AA (60 min.)
0.5 ounces of Crystal hops @ 3.5% AA (20 min.)
0.25 ounces of Crystal hops @ 3.5% AA (10 min.)
5 grams pumpkin pie spice at 20 min.
5 grams pumpkin pie spice at 10 min.
1 packet Safale US-05 yeast
1/4 tsp. Yeast Nutrient
1/8 tsp. Super Irish Moss (20 min.)
1.5 tsp. pH 5.2 Stabilizer in the grain at the start of mash
1.5 tsp. Amylase Enzyme in the g…