Last night I woke up sweaty, anxious, and my heart was racing. I wasn’t sure what I was forgetting, but I was given some productive night thought time. It wasn’t until tonight that I realized that last night I had tapped my robust espresso porter and consumed a pint and a half. It contains a fair amount of cold press coffee, and I’m susceptible to caffeine at night. So to those who get sweaty and nervous at night from caffeine, you might want to skip this one. It’s good though.
This year’s holiday ale is based on a Robust Porter recipe, but one the two halves of the 10 gallons were halved, each faces a different fate. The first half was inoculated with my regular Fermentis dry ale yeast. It will be infused with cold-press espresso roast coffee during secondary, and will likely get quite a kick from it. The second half was pitched with Wyeast British Ale yeast, and will be put in to secondary with bourbon soaked oak chips. Both will have some pretty strong constituents, so I hope that this base recipe will be robust enough to support such big flavors.
- 18 lbs 2-row
- 1.5 lbs chocolate malt
- 1 lbs Crystal 60L
- 1 lbs Munich
- 0.5 lbs roast barley
- 1.5 oz Glacier @ 60min (4.6% alpha)
- 2 (ish) oz Glacier @ 10min
- Irish moss @ 50min
- Safale S05 in one
- Wyeast British Ale Yeast in the other
- lightly toasted oak chips soaked in Maker’s Mark
- TBD amount of Portland Roasting’s Espresso roast
I’m still working out the details on how much coffee to add. Talked to a brewer and have been reading about other home brewers’ experiences. Plus, there’s a lovely step-by-step to cold-press coffee on America’s Test Kitchen.
As an FYI, the O.G was 1.062, and no less than 10 people stopped by to comment how good the the wort smelled.
I kegged the spruce ale tonight and was very pleased with the results. I crash-cooled one of the carboys to see if that helped with the abundance of yeast still in solution when I racked to secondary. Just from a visual check, there wasn’t any noticable difference, but the flavor of the warm carboy was much more interesting. No surprise there, but both had a really nice, unique citrus sweetness. The warmer beer had much more of it, and as luck would have it, that’s the keg that I’ll be bottling from for gifts.
Now, we just need to find a name. “Just the tip” won’t work since I obviously used more than just spruce tips, and, well, it’s a little crass for something that we’ll pour at Christmas dinner. Michelle is looking for alliteration, so we’ll see soon what the name is. Current favorite? Santa’s Sprucey Sauce.
I like my space, so the Holiday Ale Fest each year means that I need to simply get used to bumping in to people and spilling some beer for a little while. Like most festivals, I’ve made a habit of taking some work time off to visit before the crowds get too massive. This year was a quick affair; Michelle and I were only able to attend for about an hour before taking MAX home to pick up kids. We were fortunate to meet up with Curtis, Liz, Kevin, Ryan, and Michelle’s coworker Tim for several samples. Nothing we had was bad, and thanks to the early-ish arrival, no beer was bumped and spilled.
My favorites were Cascade Brewing’s Sang Noir, HotD’s Jim 2009, and possibly Oakshire’s Very Ill Tempered Gnome or New Belgium’s La Folie. Each was very different, and surprisingly good out of a plastic cup. The last beer I sampled was Upright’s Holy Herb, and it was unlike anything I’ve had before and I’m still not exactly sure what happened in my mouth. I meant to get over to Saraveza and try it again, but I think I may have missed it. I’m not going to try and describe it until I get a second opinion that doesn’t come at the end of 6 big-beer samples.
We meant to get back and burn up our last tickets over the weekend, but alas, the furnace broke and thesis work needed doing.