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First Christmas Beer - Got questions!

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skepace:
So I am brewing my first Christmas/Strong Ale Beer.   Really feel challenged to do well with this.  I was thinking of placing cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and cloves in secondary.  Any challenges with this?  Here is my first draft of my beer.

12 lbs Amber Extract
2.25 lbs of Crystal 80
1/2lbs of Black Patent Malt
1/2 lbs of Chocolate Malt
1 lb of Flaked Wheat

1lb Dark Belgium Candi Sugar

1 oz Cascade Hops
1oz Northern Brewer Hops

Belgium Strong Ale Yeast

Thoughts????

Thanks!

bigchicken:
Find out the breakdown of your extract. It may contain crystal. If so, you may want to dramatically reduce your 2.25lb of additional crystal.

skepace:

--- Quote from: bigchicken on September 11, 2012, 04:18:30 PM ---Find out the breakdown of your extract. It may contain crystal. If so, you may want to dramatically reduce your 2.25lb of additional crystal.

--- End quote ---

Good idea but I want to get the ABV up to 10% so if I reduce the Crystal wouldn't I have to increase the extract?

The Professor:
Seems like a lot of crystal to me too, although if you're looking for a sweeter finish, you're ok.
In truth, it's probably a bit late to be doing a big ale for this Xmas season since usually beers like this are better with at least 8 months aging...but then again, any beer is ready whenever your tastebuds say it is.

Do next year's Xmas brew in January or February...to consume no earlier than November and you will probably experience an epiphany of some sort. 

Other than my editorializing, let me say that you probably have a pretty tasty brew about to happen there.  Don't give in to any temptation to add more hops, either!

bigchicken:

--- Quote from: skepace on September 11, 2012, 04:21:52 PM ---
--- Quote from: bigchicken on September 11, 2012, 04:18:30 PM ---Find out the breakdown of your extract. It may contain crystal. If so, you may want to dramatically reduce your 2.25lb of additional crystal.

--- End quote ---

Good idea but I want to get the ABV up to 10% so if I reduce the Crystal wouldn't I have to increase the extract?

--- End quote ---

If the extract has too much crystal + the amount of additional crystal you're planning to add, you may not get your final gravity as low as you'd like. Therefore, the ABV will be lower than planned and the beer will finish with a sweeter taste, as The Professor points out. Not a bad thing with this style of beer, but not sure if you're going for that.
Also, make sure to use lots of healthy yeast for this big of a beer. I did a large winter warmer a couple years back and used lots of amber and dark extract. The beer finished over 7% ABV, but was awful wine like. Not good in a beer. Too much crystal and unfermentables in the extract and poor yeast management. I now keep my extract batches fairly simple and low ABV and do all grain batches for anything creative.

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