Friday, 10 October 2008

Christmas Beer Update #1

You can tell I am home alone by the increased frequency of posts. That'll end next week, as no sooner was I in the office this morning than I was told I'd be making another trip to Bayern next week. Every cloud though. I'll get to try the rest of the beers at that nice little biohotel.

My reason for posting however is that tonight I split the Christmas beer into three demijohns for secondary fermentation, something I don't generally bother with unless I'm leaving a beer for an extended period. The main reason this time is that I wanted to try maturing some of the beer on oak chips. I got two types, a light toast and a heavy toast which, even based on the smell, will give different characteristics. I hope good ones! In the picture below you'll see, from left to right, 10 litres plain, 5 litres with the lightly toasted oak chips and 5 litres on the heavily toasted chips. I used 20 grams of each, which is a tad more than the recommended maximum dosage of 15g on the packaging. I steamed the chips for 20 minutes to sanitise them, so my kitchen still smells like burnt wood!

The gravity is down to 1.030 from 1.072, so there's a way to go yet. And the taste? The bitter orange dominates actually, and it already has a "Belgiany" taste, probably thanks to the curacao peel and the T-58 yeast, which I have never used before. The ginger peeps its head out after a bit, but it's early days yet. I'll leave it in a 20C zone for a couple more weeks and then transfer it to the cellar for a month or so. Tomorrow is another brew day. Make hay and all that...


Thom said...

I've been a bit preoccupied over the last while and never got round to doing a strong Christmas beer. I reckon I still have time to do a standard strength brew though. I have cinnamon and vanilla pods in the cupboard. Perhaps I can throw something together.

Adeptus said...

I would have liked to throw a vanilla pod in mine. It's still slowly fermenting actually, so I won't be putting it in the celar yet. I must check the temperature down there, and whether the plumber that was here while i was away took any bottles of beer... hmm