Batch 10: Belgian Holly Ale/Winter Warmer

Doing a second batch of jmo88’s holly ale from homebrewtalk.com. This time, I’m going to use a belgian yeast (WLP530), and I’m using the original grain bill proposed (instead of doing an extract batch), with slightly different quantities (probably negligible) due to the portions that my LHBS sells in:

13# pale 2-row
0.5# crystal 60
0.5# Special B (c120)
0.25# wheat malt
0.25# chocolate malt (C350)
2# orange blossom honey

half the bill was double-crushed

mashed in at 163* with 4.5 gallons, 14.5 lbs grain, settled out to 154.5* mash temp to start as 11:20a, 153.7* at 11:25a, 149.5* at 11:50a, 149 at 12:15p, 148.75 at 12:30p when I began vorlauf, second batch for sparge was 2 gallons added at 172*

first 1.5 gal weighed in at 1.065 OG at 148* (corrected: 1.082), second 3 gal weighed in at 1.032 OG at 148* (corrected: 1.049)

boiled 1 hour, 1oz centennial at 60min, 0.5oz at 30 min, whirlfloc at 10min, 0.5oz at 5 minutes, 2lb orange blossom honey at flameout, topped off with 2.5 gal spring water, FG 1.085 at 70* (corrected: 1.086)

65% efficiency, calculated by¬†http://www.brewersfriend.com/brewhouse-efficiency/. There was some honey left over in the jar after I poured it (stuck to the sides, and I didn’t wait for it all to fully drain). I’m thinking that my efficiency would be somewhere closer to 70% or 75% than 65% if I had done a full boil and/or gotten all of the honey out.

UPDATE 10/21/12 – bottling day. Tea made using candied ginger, and the vanilla bean was split and scraped. Vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and bitter orange peel were boiled in 1qt water with 5 oz bottling sugar for 10 minutes, then cooled, strained, and added to the bottling bucket. Beer racked to bucked then bottled.

UPDATE 11/18/12 – after I bottled, I placed all of the bottles in my coleman cooler, some on their side, and some top-down. Somehow, unfortunately, some of these bottles leaked through the cap, and this led to an odd funky swamp-monster in the cooler. Some of the caps seem like they’re rusting, and the bottles that are leaking are gone. Real bummer. I tried a bottle that was still good, and at room temp (well … chilly room temp, probably about 60*), it was incredible. Caramel, complex spicy phenolics from the yeast, and the spices from the tea really blended for a layered experience. When I chilled another bottle, it was dull. I’m thinking both this and the first winter warmer need to be a bit warmer than fridge-cold to hit their peak. On to washing and bleach-wiping the cooler (::sadtrombone::)

UPDATE 1/1/13 – the ‘fruity’ plummy-ester stuff has mellowed a little bit, but it is still prominent. A few people tasted it last night and said they really liked it. I think I am going to sit on this beer for a few more months to see how it goes.