Holiday Brown Ale Suggestions

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by lethalsax, Oct 25, 2018.

  1. lethalsax

    lethalsax New Member

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    Making a brown ale this weekend with the wife's grandfather.
    We're going to do a holiday version which we've tried before with some success.

    Base recipe is:
    7lbs Dry Malt Extract – light
    10 oz Special Roast (US)
    8 oz Chocolate (BE)
    6 oz Victory (US)
    6 oz Caramel/Crystal 80L (US)
    American Ale VS-05

    We usually add scotch soaked oak chips as well.

    Was planning to add vanilla bean, clove, maybe orange peel.
    Any suggestions?
    Would like to have this one come out really good.
     
  2. Hogarthe

    Hogarthe Well-Known Member

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    Not sure I'd do spices and scotch soaked oak chips. One or the other sounds good both sounds like it would be too many flavors at once.
     
  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    It could work if you use spices that complement vanilla and coconut. But I'm in the "less is more" camp on this one, too.
     
  4. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Also possible one will overwhelm the other and kind of render it pointless. I find Vanilla with bourbon is a nice pairing.
     
  5. lethalsax

    lethalsax New Member

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    Ok, so here's another question.
    We've done this before and as for the vanilla bean, we just cut it up into smaller pieces with scissors and added it that way. The bean was also a little old and dryish. I didn't really notice the vanilla flavor at all.
    I've got two fresh vanilla beans for this batch.

    Question 1: Should I use 1 or both of the vanilla beans for a 5 gallon batch?
    Question 2: Would you recommend slitting and scraping the vanilla bean pod to get all of the vanilla out of it, or to cut it up into small pieces as we've done before?
     
  6. lethalsax

    lethalsax New Member

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    Also, I was thinking of adding a little cinnamon and nutmeg but it sure seems that you guys are opposed to adding too much.
    Someone suggested coffee beans, which I thought was a good idea too.

    To be sure, I am always very restrained with the ingredients I add. Last thing I want to do is to add too much of something and ruin a perfectly good beer.

    For instance, I made a chili pepper variety of this beer a couple times that included a 1/3 of a tsp of chipotle pepper powder for a 5 gallon batch along with a few small dried chilis and it was really good. I hate it when a chili pepper beer is overpowering, which is pretty much every one I've tasted.
     
  7. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Age bourbon in good Kentucky white oak and you get vanilla notes, as well as coconut. Oh, fresh vanilla beans is a bit of overkill and a processing step I don't see the need in taking, when someone out there has done it for you. I mean vanilla extract, not the cheap, artificial McCormack kind, but a high-quality extract. Add it to taste at bottling, there's really no advantage to using fresh beans. Now coffee or chocolate (cocoa and vanilla) might work with this but as mentioned above, less is more. Use restraint when doing so.
     
  8. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    The few times I used vanilla beans i slit and scraped them. In my mind, there's more in contact with the beer that way.
    I've also put a bean or two into a container of table sugar for a while. Then either use that sugar in the boil or to prime.
    Can't help you with the amount though..
     
  9. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    My last vanilla porter I used 3 beans in and basically snipped them and then steeped(soaked?) them in a bit of vodka before tossing in the primary for a 5 gallon batch. Nosy is probably right about using extract but the people I'm making these batches for kind of buy into the whole ingredients thing so I don't care.
     
  10. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    AS for the more spices, no reason you can't do it even if just for your own satisfaction. You just might not really like the outcome if you throw to much stuff in.
     
  11. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    ;-) Nothing wrong with doing it the hard way, particularly if it plays to your drinkers.... If I were running a commercial establishment where the clientele didn't know better, I'd use the beans, too, just as a marketing ploy. For myself, it doesn't matter who soaks the beans in alcohol.
     
  12. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    Good Vanilla extract is the way to go. The beans are crazy expensive now and there's no guarantee they're good.
    I'm in the court of less is more, but that's my opinion and that being said, brew what you like.
    For you, brew what you want and drink through it. Make notes and worry about it next year when you brew it again.
    In the serving your beer for profit side, your customer will be happy to tell you what they like and or want.
    Have fun!
    Brian
     

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