Racked the beer yesterday after 10 days primary ferment at about 65-67 degrees. Gravity was down to 1.016, and I don't think it will drop more than another point or two. Which is fine, it was 1.073 to start after all. Which makes it 7.5% ABV, a proper Winter Warmer. But in my attempts to make it more of an English beer it lost a bit of Northwestyness. So we're going to spice it!
For good inspiration check out The 12 Beers of Christmas in Randy Mosher's Radical Brewing. My first thought was: ginger-bread. On top of that, a few years back we were privileged to sit in on a 10 year vertical tasting of Anchor Christmas Ale. The recipe is a secret, and changes every year, but I remember 2001 had a serious black pepper thing going on that worked very, very well. So I also wanted to add black pepper.
I admit and apologize, in that the spice recipe for Punk! this lacked amounts. Yes, "add some spice to some bourbon" was a bit vague. So here goes. Into a mason jar:
- 250 ml of Creme de Cacao
- 100 ml of brandy
- 4 Balinese Long Peppers, ground
- 1/2 tsp Grains of Paradise, ground
- 1 t freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp cloves
The second phase of this master plan was this: Spruce Beer.
*Ahhh! Nooooo! Run away!*
Ok ok come back, perhaps an explanation is in order. The 2006(?) Sled Crash was a Spruce Beer. At kegging I added 1/4 of the amount recommended on the bottle of Spruce Extract. The whole keg instantly became Pine Sol Beer. It was hideous. It was undrinkable. It got dumped. Utter failure.
So it is with no small amount of trepidation that I spruce this beer.
But this time I'm adding this. It's a bottle of spruce tea. It was $2 at the Bottleworks. It's almost totally unlabelled, of unknown provenance, and of dubious legality. There's no alcohol, but initial taste tests show that it has a marked but not overpowering Spruce thing going on. (And goes very well with gin.) So I'll add this to taste at bottling. I figure I'll keg half with the spruce tea, and bottle the other half with the spices.
It's good, but it's an Old Ale and it needs time. I've taken the keg off tap and will cold condition it for a couple months before it goes back on.
Back on tap. Mellowed out a bit. Still crazy with a raisiny note. Maybe drop the Special B and certainly back off on the Crystal 80 next time. Still, drinkable.