This post is not about that beer.
Rather, this post is about another winter-holiday themed beer that is both a product of long planning (and fantasizing), plus a bit of last-minute brew-wizardry to make the brew-day happen. Sadly, I have no images of this last-minute brew, as I’ve recently taken a page from a fellow home-brewers book (hi, Devin!) and begun brewing late at night. Yep, 7 PM – midnight brew “days” do get you around all those irritating day-time things (jobs, family, friends, etc), but make for crappy photo-shooting conditions.
I wish I could claim this recipe as my own, and to some extent it is, but I received a lot of help on this one. The initial motivation for this beer is the table of Gose recipes by Cascade brewing in American Sour Beers; specifically, the all-to-brief mention of the winter gose featuring cinnamon, orange, hibiscus and cranberry. While a gose is a pretty straight-forward sour-ketteled beer, the balance of orange & hibiscus came from a very helpful set of private messages and public posting of a similar gose recipe by BigPerm over at HomebrewTalk. The remaining balance of cinnamon, cranberry, hops and salt are from my previous brewing experiences with gose and those particular ingredients.
Despite that, there was (of course) a bump in the road. I had planned on souring using Lactobacillus isolated from a bottle of Hottenroth. Unfortunately, the lacto culture got “infected” with yeast (you know you’re not a normal brewer when the yeast is the infection), so I was forced to preare a last-minute lacto starter using 1.040 wort @ pH 4.5, a handful of grain, and a “homebrewed” incubator to keep the cultures at 44C. The last-minute starter worked, so the brewday(s) was/were saved.
|Well There Gose Christmas|
|Type: All Grain||Date: 21-26 Oct 2015|
|Batch Size (fermenter): 20.00 l||Boil Size: 25.49 l|
|End of Boil Volume 21.84||Boil Time: 60 min|
|Boil Time: 60 min||Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %|
|Est Original Gravity: 1.052 SG||Measured Original Gravity: 1.055 SG|
|Est Final Gravity: 1.008 SG||Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.8 %|
|Bitterness: 12.6 IBUs|
|Mash Name: Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge||Total Grain Weight: 4.63 kg|
|Sparge Water: 18.41 l||Grain Temperature: 19.0 C|
|Sparge Temperature: 75.6 C||Tun Temperature: 19.0 C|
|Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE||Mash PH: 5.20|
|Sparge Step: Batch sparge with 2 steps (5.54l, 12.87l) of 75.6 C water|
|Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).|
Carbonation and Storage
|Carbonation Type: Keg||Volumes of CO2: 2.3|
|Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage||Storage Temperature: 18.3 C|
|Lacto: Prepared a 500ml, 1.045 starter with ~1 tbsp baking soda; picthd a handful of base malt @ 44C, incubatd for 4 days, then concentrated by centrifugation & suspended in water.|
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The brewday was split over two evenings. In the first evening the beer was mashed, sparged and brought to a very brief boil to sanitize the wort, as per my usual sour-kettle method. The wort was cooled to 44C (110F), the lacto culture pitched, and the kettle held at 44C. Turns out I did a bad job insulating and so the kettle was only at 30C for the first 1.5 days; a few extra sleeping bags got the kettleto the desired 44C for the last 1.5 days. Three days after souring the pH was roughly 3.4, and the taste was clean and dead-on the desired level of sourness.
At this point the wort was brought back to a boil for an hour, during which time the hops & spices were added. The beer was then cooled, transferred to a fermenter, and the yeast pitched. At this time the beer is bubbling away at ~18C/68F, and in 7-10 days I’ll add 1 kg (~2 lbs) cranberries – frozen and broken up in a blender prior to addition to the wort. 14 days later the beer will be kegged, with about half of that bottled for gifts/later enjoyment, and the other half going direct-to-tap for some late November enjoyment.
Tasting notes will follow in a little over a month.