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Dry hop winter warmer? Fuggles or EKG?

So, I brewed a sort of Winter Warmer/Old Ale a couple of weeks ago. I tasted it tonight and it’s OK, but I think it’s needs some more character. Right now, it’s just sort of sweet and slightly estery. I’ve added the recipe below, so I’m wondering if some of you might have some advice for additions. I don’t have any experience with spices, so I don’t have any idea where to start. If nothing else, I think I’d like to dry hop but I’m not sure if I should use Fuggles or EKG. Any ideas would be appreciated.

Winter Warmer
19-A Old Ale
Author: me
Date: 9/3/2012

Size: 5.88 gal
Efficiency: 69.0%
Attenuation: 76.3%
Calories: 276.13 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.082 (1.060 - 1.090)
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Terminal Gravity: 1.020 (1.015 - 1.022)
|==================#=============|
Color: 22.52 (10.0 - 22.0)
|========================#=======|
Alcohol: 8.33% (6.0% - 9.0%)
|====================#===========|
Bitterness: 60.2 (30.0 - 60.0)
|========================#=======|

Ingredients:
15 lb (78.0%) 15 lb Maris Otter - added during mash
2 lb (10.4%) 2 lb Munich 10L Malt - added during mash
8.0 oz (2.6%) 8.0 oz Caramel Malt 60L - added during mash
4.0 oz (1.3%) 4.0 oz Golden Naked Oats - added during mash
8 oz (2.6%) 8 oz Special B - Caramel malt - added during mash
6 oz (1.9%) 6 oz English Chocolate Malt - added during mash
9.7 oz (3.2%) 9.7 oz Dry Extra Light Extract - added during boil, boiled 30 m
1 oz (25.0%) 1 oz Warrior® (16.0%) - added during boil, boiled 75 m
1 oz (25.0%) 1 oz East Kent Goldings (5.3%) - added during boil, boiled 15 m
1 oz (25.0%) 1 oz Fuggle (4.3%) - added during boil, boiled 7 m
1 oz (25.0%) 1 oz East Kent Goldings (4.5%) - added during boil, boiled 1 m
0.0 ea 0.0 ea WYeast 1028 London Ale™

Ferm temp held at 66 till activity slowed almost to a stop, then raised to 68 for a week.

Results generated by BeerTools Pro 1.5.23


I’d probably use the EKG.

+1 Fuggles taste like dirty water.

Would a couple ounces seem out of line?

I think 1-1.5oz would be fine. how much “character” you want?

[quote=“mrv”][quote=“Edward Teach”]I’d probably use the EKG.[/quote]+1 Fuggles taste like dirty water.[/quote]+2 Fuggles will ruin it.

I’m not dead set against Fuggle, but I vote EKG, dropped a week or two before ‘Winter’. It’s way too soon to judge a beer that big. Your bill includes 17 #s of base malt - what’s with the dash of DME? Was that just a gravity adjustment?

Yeah, the DME was to counteract my lower-than-expected efficiency. I was aiming for 1.082.

Maybe I’ll secondary this beer? I haven’t done that in years, but I don’t want to give it more than a 3-4 weeks on the yeast. And if I’m gonna dry hop in primary (which I normally do) I’ll need to do so soon.

Any ideas on spices, or just stick with DH?

UK fuggles are really nice. Yes they taste like dirt but so do EKGs, that is the whole idea. US Fuggles and US Goldings in my opinion are useless.

I’m going to ask something really stupid possibly but I thought Old Ale was aged almost by definition. If that is indeed the case, would not dry hopping end up getting wasted since hop character tends to fade as beer ages?

The reason I ask is because I too made an Old Ale which I planned to start a soleria with. My plan (such as it is) is to age the beer a year, hoping to pick up a bit of oxidation which hopefully will give me sort of a sherry note plus hopefully smooth out any rough edges. Once it’s a year old, I’ll make another batch and blend half the old batch with the new then add the remaining new beer to the soleria and keep that another year then repeat. Is my plan crazy or is there some merit in it? My thought was that they aged beer like this a long time back in the day so if it worked for them then surely it should work for me, right?

I think if I dry hop, I’ll age a bit first. This is my first Old Ale/Winter Warmer and was made on a whim because I had some extra specialty grains lying around.

What about vanilla or oak in this beer? Oak seems like it would be nice, but I’m not sure about vanilla being out of character.

You can’t go wrong with goldings in any British ale.

+1 to dry hopping with EKG. It’s a much better dry hop than Fuggles.

I’d suggest dry-hopping with Saaz. It was quite popular as a dry hop for Burton and other Strong Ales.

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