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Christmas Ale Extract Kit - Recommendations?

  • 10-10-2016 9:12am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 43,388 ✭✭✭✭ Basq


    Ah yes, it's *almost* that time of year again!

    My first home-brew is bubbling away nicely now, and will hopefully be bottled within the next 2 weeks... and have had a suggestion from a few people for possibly a Ginger Beer next.

    But I remembered having a really good Christmas Ale by The White Hag last year... sort of mild hint of ginger and cinnamon.. which was really damn good.

    Any recommendations from anyone here? This Santa's Winter Warmer seems to be the one popping up most places.


Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 14,760 ✭✭✭✭ Lovely Bloke


    I'm not sure if that kit you linked would have the spice notes you are looking for - sometimes "Xmas" or "Winter Ales" are just big sweet higher ABV Beers, I see nothing on that description to suggest any kind of cinnamon or whatever you seem to be after
    Muntons Premium Gold Santas Winter Warmer Homebrew Beer Kit produces a deliciously strong winter brew which is a perfectly balanced combination of maltiness, bitterness and aroma. This one encapsulaates the mellow flavour of a real English winter ale.

    What you could do is "dry spice" an English Mild kit or something, make up a kind of bouquet-garni of cinnamon sticks and crystallised ginger and stick it in the fermentor 4-7 days before bottling.


  • Registered Users Posts: 43,388 ✭✭✭✭ Basq


    Yeah, you're right actually.. this is one I was looking at that does seem to indicate more of a Cinnamon/Ginger blend.

    But your idea is good alright.. to be honest, i'd have no idea of how much to use for that quantity of liquid.. but probably would be better than having a very sweet / overpowering taste which I suspect would happen with the linked kit.


  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 5,560 Mod ✭✭✭✭ irish_goat


    Agree with Lovely Bloke, I think you'd be better brewing a English style beer and then adding your own blend of spices and fruits. Mild would work but porter, red ale and stout can all work too.


  • Registered Users Posts: 43,388 ✭✭✭✭ Basq


    Actually decided to go with the Bulldog Brews Yule Kit (as linked above):

    14712637_10154512193953930_3043295039518745277_o.jpg

    Popped it into primary yesterday evening - it does smell a little sweet, but it does comes with additional Pilgrim Hops which I may use in a few days to try and counter some of the sweetness.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 14,760 ✭✭✭✭ Lovely Bloke


    jaysis, how old are the hops that you'd get in a kit?

    I'd rather order some fresh ones from a homebrew store tbh, you've no idea how long those hops have been packaged and left on a shelf.

    Hops should be stored cold, and the older they are, and the longer they are stored just on a shelf, the less potent they become.

    Older hops can also give off flavours, most usually a cheesy flavour that just won't be palatable.

    If you decide to open the pack, would you mind taking a picture of the contents and posting here?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,276 ✭✭✭ mordeith


    Maybe it's hop pellets?


  • Registered Users Posts: 43,388 ✭✭✭✭ Basq


    jaysis, how old are the hops that you'd get in a kit?

    I'd rather order some fresh ones from a homebrew store tbh, you've no idea how long those hops have been packaged and left on a shelf.

    Hops should be stored cold, and the older they are, and the longer they are stored just on a shelf, the less potent they become.

    Older hops can also give off flavours, most usually a cheesy flavour that just won't be palatable.

    If you decide to open the pack, would you mind taking a picture of the contents and posting here?
    Yeah, I'm leaning towards not using them.. they were a suggestion to add more bitterness to the final product, but not required.

    They're a teabag like so


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 14,760 ✭✭✭✭ Lovely Bloke


    mordeith wrote: »
    Maybe it's hop pellets?
    makes no difference
    Basq wrote: »
    They're a teabag like so

    Are they brown? :eek:


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,381 ✭✭✭ oblivious


    Are they brown? :eek:

    Good for lambic's :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,276 ✭✭✭ mordeith


    makes no difference
    Even if they're in the foil vacuum packs? (I know the OP's aren't but on a general note)


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 14,760 ✭✭✭✭ Lovely Bloke


    mordeith wrote: »
    Even if they're in the foil vacuum packs? (I know the OP's aren't but on a general note)
    Yeah, even in foil, I wouldn't use any hops for brewing today that aren't 2015 NH harvest, or 2016 SH, not worth it.

    unless...
    oblivious wrote: »
    Good for lambic's :)

    yeah, the smell of parmesan upstairs in Cantillon! :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 43,388 ✭✭✭✭ Basq


    Use by on them is 12/16.. so they're probably out.

    Probably going to leave them in primary for another 2 - 3 weeks so I'll see if the sweetness subsides closer to the time.

    Quite a potent smell coming from it however! :eek:


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 14,760 ✭✭✭✭ Lovely Bloke


    yeah, first few days of a big beer can be like that.

    sit back and enjoy!


  • Registered Users Posts: 43,388 ✭✭✭✭ Basq


    Not much action from airlock since Monday really.. which I know isn't too irregular.

    However, opened it there and there's pretty much no Krausen on top.

    IMG_20161021_132404.jpg

    Pitched yeast about between 22 - 24 .. worried if I killed it or maybe it was just old! :(

    Temp under the stairs has been pretty stable at about 19 - 20 .


  • Registered Users Posts: 43,388 ✭✭✭✭ Basq


    Actually on resealing lid, there is a bit more action from airlock.. but lack of krausen after 44 hours (or thereabouts) is concerning.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 14,760 ✭✭✭✭ Lovely Bloke


    nah it's not.

    take readings, if it's going down then nothing else matters (never cared for what they say!)


  • Registered Users Posts: 43,388 ✭✭✭✭ Basq


    Cool... think I'm just concerned as the first brew I did recently (IPA) had plenty of krausen... but OG was 1.050 so I'll give it a few more days before I take a reading.


  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 11,405 Mod ✭✭✭✭ BeerNut


    Don't even look at the bucket for another week or so. Anything you do to it at this stage can only harm the beer. Leave it completely alone.


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