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Friday, April 20, 2012

Christmas Spiced Beer

This is a write up of an old beer I made way back when I was a novice brewer. The kit, like most of my kits, came from Northern Brewer. I actually brewed this way back in 2010, so the bottles I still have are well aged. The brewing instructions can be found here.

1 lb English Dark Crystal
6.3 lbs Gold LME
1 oz US Goldings Hops
0.5 oz Mulling spices

Wyest 1728 Scottish Ale

As you can see, the beer pours a deep amber color. The beer is a decent 6.5% ABV. An off-white head forms, but it dissipates quickly.  Initially the flavor of the beer was heavily skewed towards clove. The kit came with a pre-mixed spice package that was basically a tbsp or so of mulling spices. I have always found the clove to be overpowering, and sampling the beer after almost 2 years of resting in bottles it still has a very strong clove aroma and taste. Amy loves it, but it is not one of my favorite brews. In the future I'd make my own spice mixture, and skew towards cinnamon, some nutmeg, allspice berries, orange peel, dried cranberries, and maybe a clove or two. I also think testing the spice mixture out by making a batch of mulled cider with it beforehand would be beneficial. I've never done it, but basically you can just make a tincture using a tea infuser and a base beer, then use that to scale up to the full 5 gallon batch of beer.

In short, the beer is good as made directly from the kit if you like clove. If not, I would order a basic Scotch Ale kit and add in your own spice mixture at the end of the boil. Definitely a good base for playing around and trying out your own spice mixtures.


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