Brew Day – Spiced Winter Ale – 10/28/18

It’s football sunday. My Eagles are playing across the pond (London), and the NFL Network has the exclusive rights to broadcast the game. Since I’m a cord cutter, and chose a streaming service (Hulu) that DOES NOT offer NFL Network, I’m resigned to watching the game via the app on my Samsung phone. I tried streaming to my TV using the Miracast app, but (and even though it worked), when I activated the NFL app, the screen went black and said, “ does not allow sharing with other screens.”


I’d like to know how they can even do this. Its like some type of wizardry. I really thought I beat the system for a second there.

I spent a portion of yesterday balancing my kegerator system. Getting the pressure and resistance just right really is a balancing act and takes patience. It comes down to knowing the desired pressure for your style of beer, and then going through the process of setting the pressure, drawing beer, resetting pressure, releasing pressure, drawing beer, and doing this until you get homeostasis in the system. I think I finally got it. My beer is pouring pretty well.

I also spent a portion of the AM prepping a batch of local apple cider for fermenting into hard cider (post coming soon). Within a couple hours, that bad boy was fermenting nicely.

Today’s beer recipe is a nod to the cold weather coming our way. A nice dark and heavy spiced beer is great for winter. I do enjoy stouts, but a nice spiced ale with some alcohol bite is perfect for cold nights in front of the fireplace. Since this one projects out in the 9%-10% range, I don’t want to do a 5 gallon batch and keg it, rather it’s perfect for a small 1.5 gallon batch and bottle. This recipe is kind of a clone/knock off of a guy’s recipe from my BYO magazine, but my grains are slightly different (I’m keeping his ratios though).

The Recipe: (note – see below about subbing Carafa 488 for Chocolate 350)

old winter ale

Not pictured in the recipe is the spice extract. This will be my first time making this type of spice extract. Basically, I’m steeping cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and ginger in 4 oz of Vodka for a week. Once primary fermentation is done, I’ll add the extract a teaspoon at a time to taste.

Brew notes (I’m not going to regurgitate all of the steps – just the ones that are important):

  • Made a yeast starter with my S-04
  • 90 minute mash
  • 90 minute boil
  • Hops @ 60 min
  • Add extract after primary is done

Target numbers:

  • Pre boil SG: 1.065
  • 1.5 gallons
  • OG – 1.087 , FG – 1.020

This will be bottled once it reaches its final gravity.

Bought ingredients at my local homebrew store (Bacchus & Barleycorn).

Brew day notes:

  • Date: 10/28/18
  • Stovetop BIAB setup (decided to get an actual brew bag for $10 and see how long it lasts)
  • Total time (including cleaning): 4 hours
  • Brew day beer of choice:
    • Homebrew – Chicory Dry Irish Stout
  • Brew day A/V stylings of choice:
  • Actual OG: 1.091
    • Exceeded expectations – NICE!
  • Final OG: 1.022
  • Final ABV: 9.2%
  • What went well: pretty much everything
  • What went bad: Had to change a grain due to B&B not having chocolate. Since the SRM on the chocolate was 350, I subbed in a dark grain to provide the color. Ended up with a carafa with an SRM of 488. Little darker than anticipated, but what can you do!
  • Fermentation notes:
    • 11/2 – good activity in fermenter
    • 11/10 – gravity at 1.024 (target was 1.020, so pretty good)
      • added 2 oz of spice extract to the batch
        • did a taste sampling at 1 tsp per 6 oz, and it was too strong, so I cut it in half – reserved remaining 2 oz of extract for future beer
      • sample tasted nice even before the spice extract
    • 11/17 – bottling with 1.09 oz cane sugar – hoping a bottle is semi-carbed for Thanksgiving! The sample tastes pretty darn good. The aroma is amazing.


Have you ever brewed this style beer before? Please let us know about your brewing experiences. If you enjoyed this post, please like and share. Thanks!


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