Smoked Winter Warmer

2013

Well it’s that time of year again.  For the past 2 years I’ve brewed a english strong/old ale with a nice smoke malt base.  This beer originally started out as a smokey and stronger version of Deschutes Jubelale, however its kind of evolved to be something much different now.  The past two years I’ve used the same yeast strain (Wyeast British Ale II 1335) however, this year I wanted to have a little drier of a beer, so I elected to go with Wyeast 1028, London Ale.   This is also the first year I’ve put dextrose in the recipe, a further attempt to dry the beer out a little bit.  Last year, I really enjoyed how the beer was hopped.  At first it was borderline too bitter, but as time went on that bitterness was perfect to balance some of the sweeter malt notes.  This year I envisioned this as really two separate beers.  The bottles that will be consumed fresh will drink hoppier and ones allowed to age will drink more like it has been in the past with the smoke and malt sweetness being the dominate flavors.

OG: 1.074
FG: 1.015
ABV: 7.8%
Mash: 151 (60 min)
Boil: 90 min.

Added: 2.5 g Gypsum, 2.2 g CaCl, 1.1 g Baking Soda & 1.7 g Chalk to Mash, 2.8g Gypsum & 2.6g CaCl to Sparge

Water Profile:

Ca: 90.7
Mg: 0.6
Na: 22.8
So4: 69.4
Cl: 60.0
BiCarbonate: 144.7
Mash pH: 5.3

42% NW Pale Ale Malt
25.2% Rauch Malt
16.8% Cherrywood Smoked Malt
5.6% C60
2.8% Crystal Rye (75l)
2.1% Special B
2.1% Extra Dark Crystal
2.1% Dextrose
1.4% Roasted Barley

1.00 oz Perle (7%) 60 min.
0.50 oz Chinook (10%) 20 min.
1.50 oz Goldings (4%) 15 min.
1.50 oz Cascade (7.4%) 10 min.
1.50 oz Perle (7%) 5 min.
1.50 oz Chinook (10%) 0 min.
1.50 oz Cascade (7.4%) 0 min.
1.00 oz Perle (7%) 0 min.

Wyeast 1028 – London Ale Yeast

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Pitched a 1.5l starter (decanted about half) in 65 deg. wort. Started fermentation within 4 hours. Let it free rise to about 70 and its been holding there for the last couple of days. I wanted to ferment this one a little on the warmer end to get a little ester production, as this yeast can be fairly clean for an english strain.

Bottled on 12.20.13.  Finished right at 1.015 as anticipated.  Gravity sample was really smokey.

Tasting Notes #1 – 2.19.14

Appearance: Deep chestnut with beige head that stays around and hangs out with you.

Aroma: Meaty smoke up front followed by a sweet smoke aroma. Little bit of plums as well.

Taste: Rich malt flavors are first to greet the palate. The smoke makes itself know but doesn’t dominate. Hops balance out mid-taste and fade quickly and leave a little bit of sweetness on the end. Notes of plums or raisins on the finish mix with sweeter smoke notes, like barbecue chips.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus mouthfeel with medium-low carbonation.

Overall: This years vintage is a little less balanced than in years past, leaning more to the malt side. The first few of these I tried I didn’t really care for, but I think 2 months in the bottle have helped settle out some of the flavors a bit. It drinks a little closer to a barleywine in the respect of it having bigger mouthfeel, a little stronger and a little sweeter than the other versions. The smoke is present and really goes well with all the flavors. Definitely different, but I like that it drinks a little drier and crisper. All and all I’m pretty pleased with how this is drinking.

Tasting Notes #2 – 10.5.14

Appearance: Same as above.

Aroma: Sweet fruitiness, namely plums in the aroma. Little bit of BBQ chip aroma in the background (very faint).

Taste: Rich with sweet plum flavors and a solid amount of smoke. Some smokiness stays on the tongue. Finishes a tad sweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium – plus mouthfeel with medium carbonation.

Overall: This one has really smoothed out nicely. It’s the sweetest version of this beer, but the smoke and highly roasted caramel malts are meshing pretty well. This is more of a slow sipper, but a nice drink w/ dessert or to end the night with. The carbonation level has increased, but no real signs of oxidation in the beer yet.

Update – 6.19.15

I was curious to see how this beer was aging and opened one but sadly it was too oxidized to enjoy.  I opened an second bottle and there was no oxidation and tasted in great shape.  The smoke has faded and mostly a plumy, malty sweet aroma. Beer tastes similar to the above notes, however even more smoke has dropped out. You can still pick up some smokiness, but at a little lower level.  There is just a hint of oxidation in this beer, really holding up quite well given thats its approaching two years old.

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