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Too much Crystal? and other Qs

So below is an update of a recipe I did last year for a winter warmer. It is based on a recipe I found for Odell’s Isolation (I have never tried it but it sounds great!). This year’s recipe I upped some of the grains to add another 1% of ABV to get to 7% and added another caramel malt (80L) on the recommendation of a judges feed back to add complexity and balance the booze.

After making a cloying “maibock” last winter I worry about my caramel malts being too much. I really liked how the warmer turned out last year. It had great spicy notes w/out adding any, and a clean dry finish. I just wanted a little more ABV for the warmer effect this year.

Thoughts on the caramel? I don’t want to mess up a good thing too much!

HOME BREW RECIPE:
Title: Yule Log II
Author: Lew Horn III

Brew Method: Partial Mash
Style Name: Holiday/Winter Special Spiced Beer
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 5.5 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 4 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.075
Efficiency: 70% (brew house)

STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.073
Final Gravity: 1.019
ABV (standard): 7.12%
IBU (tinseth): 47.35
SRM (morey): 19.38

FERMENTABLES:
3 lb - Maris Otter LME (21.4%)
3 lb - Maris Otter LME - (late addition) (21.4%)
2 lb - American - Ashbourne Mild (14.3%)
2 lb - United Kingdom - Maris Otter Pale (14.3%)
1.5 lb - German - Munich Light (10.7%)
1 lb - American - Caramel / Crystal 120L (7.1%)
1 lb - American - Caramel / Crystal 20L (7.1%)
8 oz - American - Caramel / Crystal 80L (3.6%)

HOPS:
1 oz - Magnum, Type: Pellet, AA: 14.5, Use: Boil for 60 min, IBU: 40.18
0.5 oz - Mount Hood, Type: Pellet, AA: 4.8, Use: Boil for 15 min, IBU: 3.3
1 oz - Cascade, Type: Pellet, AA: 7, Use: Aroma for 5 min, IBU: 3.87
0.5 oz - Mount Hood, Type: Pellet, AA: 4.8, Use: Aroma for 0 min

MASH GUIDELINES:

  1. Temp: 172 F, Strike
  2. Infusion, Temp: 156 F, Time: 60 min, Amount: 6 qt
  3. Sparge, Temp: 168 F, Amount: 3 qt

OTHER INGREDIENTS:
1 tsp - irish moss, Time: 10 min, Type: Fining, Use: Boil

YEAST:
Wyeast - NB NeoBritannia 1945
Starter: Yes
Form: Liquid
Attenuation (avg): 74%
Flocculation: Med-High
Optimum Temp: 66 - 74 F

TARGET WATER PROFILE:
Profile Name: Milwaukee, WI, USA
Ca2: 94
Mg2: 37
Na: 9
Cl: 14
SO4: 26
HCO3: 122

It’s definitely not too much crystal for my tastes. I use that amount (and maybe a bit more) in my favorite Porter, and don’t get any cloying sweetness at all. Then again, I do bulk age it for a while after the fermentation so that may soften it a bit.

A good winter warmer should be aged for at least a few months (and preferably longer). If you’re making something you expect to consume rather soon after the ferment is complete, you might want to cut back on some of it. I might also up the hop bitterness just a touch, but again, that’s just me.

Just my opinion…others may disagree. In fact, you’ll probably get a half-dozen or more different opinions here.
Of course, the only one that counts in the end is yours, so as is almost always the case, experimentation is the best course of action. Brew it as is, taste it, and adjust accordingly next time around.

[quote=“The Professor”]It’s definitely not too much crystal for my tastes. I use that amount (and maybe a bit more) in my favorite Porter, and don’t get any cloying sweetness at all. Then again, I do bulk age it for a while after the fermentation so that may soften it a bit.

A good winter warmer should be aged for at least a few months (and preferably longer). If you’re making something you expect to consume rather soon after the ferment is complete, you might want to cut back on some of it. I might also up the hop bitterness just a touch, but again, that’s just me.

Just my opinion…others may disagree. In fact, you’ll probably get a half-dozen or more different opinions here.
Of course, the only one that counts in the end is yours, so as is almost always the case, experimentation is the best course of action. Brew it as is, taste it, and adjust accordingly next time around.[/quote]

The only reason I’d question the amount of crystal is the LME. That’s gonna make it less fermentable already. I’d probably replace some LME with sugar if I was gonna keep that much crystal in it.

So I meant to take Denny’s advice, but didn’t get all the details right. I took each caramel down to 8oz each and added 10oz brown sugar to dry it out. BUT I didn’t cut some of the LME like Mr. Conn sugessted. Despite the OG estimate (below) I got more around 1.080! :shock: I only had to top off with 1.25 gal. of water after the boil. I took my sample after giving three 30 sec. bursts with a wine whip. There was some overflow as I was pouring the cooled wort through my double mesh strainer.

My question now is: I got a lot of protein residue/hops and other junk in my hydro sample, could that trub through off my hydrometer reading?

Also is it worth re-sampling? It’s got a good krausen on it this morning (after 36 hours w/out much visible activity).

STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.070
Final Gravity: 1.018
ABV (standard): 6.78%
IBU (tinseth): 52.65
SRM (morey): 15.37

FERMENTABLES:
3 lb - Liquid Malt Extract - Light (23.8%)
3 lb - Liquid Malt Extract - Light - (late addition) (23.8%)
1.5 lb - American - Ashbourne Mild (11.9%)
2 lb - United Kingdom - Maris Otter Pale (15.8%)
1 lb - German - Munich Light (7.9%)
8 oz - American - Caramel / Crystal 120L (4%)
8 oz - American - Caramel / Crystal 20L (4%)
8 oz - American - Caramel / Crystal 80L (4%)
10 oz - Brown Sugar - (late addition) (5%)

HOPS:
1 oz - Magnum, Type: Pellet, AA: 14.5, Use: Boil for 60 min, IBU: 44.68
0.5 oz - Mount Hood, Type: Pellet, AA: 4.8, Use: Boil for 15 min, IBU: 3.67
1 oz - Cascade, Type: Pellet, AA: 7, Use: Aroma for 5 min, IBU: 4.3
0.5 oz - Mount Hood, Type: Pellet, AA: 4.8, Use: Aroma for 0 min

Oh yeah, last years version fermented down to 1.021 - so if that holds similar I am looking at a 7.5-8%, my biggest beer yet and it probably won’t be drinkable by xmas I know. Perhaps a Late-Winter Warmer this year. That’s when you need it most right? :cheers:

The trub won’t affect your reading. Only things that are dissolved in the liquid will have an effect.

Thanks Denny!
Helpful as always (even when your advice isn’t followed right :lol: )

So 9 days into to fermentation and I am at 1.030. Do you think this is my FG?

After sampling I rocked the bucket a bit to see if things can get back into motion. I have been struggling to keep the temp in the 60-64 range (one of my many fermenting limitations), my heating pad has a 2 hour timer so a few times it has hit 60 or below.

I was hoping to get it down 6-10 point more.

[quote=“ibeentired”]So 9 days into to fermentation and I am at 1.030. Do you think this is my FG?

After sampling I rocked the bucket a bit to see if things can get back into motion. I have been struggling to keep the temp in the 60-64 range (one of my many fermenting limitations), my heating pad has a 2 hour timer so a few times it has hit 60 or below.

I was hoping to get it down 6-10 point more.[/quote]

May be done. If you can warm it into the 70s at this point, it might help.

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