The Holiday Beer I brewed at the end of October has been bottled. The final gravity on this one was a solid 1.040, much higher than I was hoping for. I think even the Trappist Ale yeast I used wasn’t quite up to the task of eating all of that sugar. That final gravity puts this beer at around 8.5% ABV. Still not too shabby for a strong winter brew, but not the 11% I was hoping for.
The beer is very thick, and a solid deep brown in color. Not much in the way of hops on the nose or on the tongue, which is fine. There are subtle hop notes though, which is enough. Given all the spices I used, I was going for more of a malty, savory beer anyway, which is undeniably what I got. The vanilla came through beautifully. Angelos added them for me (cracked into about 1″ pieces) upon racking to the secondary fermenter. We were both pleasantly surprised at how well the flavor took to the beer. There’s some sweet orange notes as well, though masked by the vanilla and baking spices. This one lingers on the tongue, with new flavors and aromas creeping in over time.
Angelos‘s holiday ale also came out quite well. His also ended at 1.040, putting his around 8.5% as well. Motor oil is how I best describe the visual characteristic; even the racking tube was jet black, and the hydrometer had a nice dark residue on it after taking the final gravity reading. His has a more prominent roasted grain flavor, which sits nicely on the tongue as the hops begin too let their presence known. A mighty fine beer.
We bottled in 16 oz. Grolsch bottles, adding volume to the already potent brews, due to an odd phenomenon we have noticed with many of our 12 oz. brown bottles. The caps aren’t seating well on this particular variety of bottle (Warsteiner) due to a short lip on the neck. Many will go out for recycling, and we’ll need to start drinking Sam Adams and other standard-bottle brews to make up for the loss of Warsteiner bottles. It’s a grueling job, but someone has to do it.
We aim to have these beers ready in time for Christmas, and hope that the month of bottle-aging will yield some further fermentation.