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joejkd82

Please critique-pine winter ale

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Hey all,

My pilsner is ready for bottling tomorrow, so it's time for the next batch. I'm going for something more advanced (but not too much so).

I'm looking to make a malty, spicy winter warmer with a crisp pine finish.

I like the belly warmth of a moderate to high ABV.

Here's what I'm picking up tomorrow, with some questions on some potential substitutions, etc.

Real simple, all-extract recipe.

First, I'll be boiling through 6 cups of water with 1 cup and a half of pine needle off eastern white pine. Not sure if anyone's ever had pine needle tea, but it's a surprisingly mild, somewhat sweet flavor.

This yields about 2.5 cups of pine tea, which will be part of the 4 cups of brew water (so essentially, 2.5 cups of the "pine water" and 1.5 cup regular water.)

Birng to a boil

then flameout and add in

1 can American Porter HME
1 can bewitched Amber ale HME
1/2 oz. chinook hops

Pour into LBK as normal, then adding

1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4-1/8 tsp all-spice
Safale S04 English ale yeast

In QBrew this should yield 54 IBU, and an ABV of 8.6%. SRM 30

Now here are the questions:
1.) Should I add a sack of pine needles into the lbk like a dry hop? Eastern white pine is very mild (unlike spruce extracts, etc.) so I don't want all that malt to blow out the pine

2.) I've never had the bewtiched amber ale (I have had the porter), so I'm concerned about the "delicate citrus aroma", citrus is a flavor i'm trying to avoid mostly save for the chinook. Should I sub another can of American Porter and an MB smooth LME in place of the Bewtiched Amber?

3.) Chinook hops can be quite strong, and I don't want it to blow out the natural pine flavor. Would adding a 1/4 or 1/2 oz. of fuggle hops in place of the chinook hops be a good idea? I've never used fuggle hops but I know they are milder and a bit more earthy. Basically I'm not sure if chinook would enhance or override the existing pine flavors.

4.) This is going to be higher ABV than I set out to make initially. Is the one packet of yeast sufficient? Can the s-04 handle that high an ABV? I was thinking of perhaps switching to an american ale liquid yeast.

yeah....so simple :dry:

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I'm still (very) green myself but I would say that's a lot of spice going in there..

Espicially those..

I could be left field although.

Sure the borg will chime in soon

~worm

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The bewitched extract in my experience - I don't notice the citrus. It's really more earthy in flavor on it's own. Someone here thinks it tastes like pine tar, I don't' think so, to me it tastes like an earthy/spicy hop, does have some piney notes. So consider that...

I have never used pine needles, so can't comment there with certainty. I'll just say as far as "dry pining" it would be slightly concerned that alcohol might extract some turpentine like substances that maybe you don't get when you make a tea in water. (I am not saying for sure this will happen, just that it could happen). I say this based on making alcohol based extracts of other things, alcohol will bring out flavors and compounds that water on its own will not.

I think fuggles will play nicely with Bewitched. Styrian Goldings and Bewitched get along really well based on how my dubbel tasted when I bottled it. Chinook would go well with it too, but it would be a lot more in your face. Depends on what your going for. I think I'd save the Chinook for an IPA made with Bewitched. That would be dang good I think. (Idea for next can of Bewitched planted in my head).

I would use 2 packs of the dry yeast for sure. Maybe even 3.

If using American Ale liquid, you will need to make a starter for sure.

edit: Electric worm does have a point about the spice. Less is more in most cases. Especially if you want the piney flavors to stand out and not seem "muddy". I'm not saying that what you have in there is too much, dunno, depends on what you want. Just that one thing will push something else to the background, and spices come through strongly in beer.

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Thanks guys. So i'll go with 1/2oz. fuggle at flameout, stick with bewitched, and avoid dropping those needles in the lbk for now.

As far as the spices are concerned, the cinnamon will be quite potent, but cinnamon and pine are complimentary flavors and one typically won't mask the other. I think I might drop the allspice to 1/8 tsp and forego the ginger all together on your advice, as it sounds like the bewitched is going to bring some other flavors with it that i'll want to come through.

I'm still playing with the tea to get the right flavor out of it, trying different water to material ratios. It's like I'm doing a partial mash over here.....

Mashani, when you say 2 packets of the dry yeast, you're talking about the s-04 right? not the ones that come with the cans? I have concerns s-04 may not be able to ferment up to the ABV required to get through all that malt, but I can't seem to get an ABV tolerance for the s-04. I thought maybe even going for the T-58 high-gravity stuff, but I'm not sure "peppery" is something I want in this ale and thought the english ale yeast would finish with a more nutty, robust flavor.

Also, should i be concerned with an exploding keg here? There's alot for the yeasties to eat here.

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"mashani" post=315680 said:


I have never used pine needles, so can't comment there with certainty. I'll just say as far as "dry pining" it would be slightly concerned that alcohol might extract some turpentine like substances that maybe you don't get when you make a tea in water.

Never use pine, never will, but I will give my 2 cents worth from what I've read over the years. All articles I read say to use the new growth spruce tips only. That is the very tips of the limbs in the early spring. You will see the tips turn a light green, very noticable from the rest of the limb. Like I said, I have not done this, so take it with a grain of salt, do it or not, it's your brew.

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As I wrote this last night I think I had to do a few edits.. I might of had one too many.. Or maybe one to short..

Eitherway, I missed completely that you were going to use pine needles.. ( I know it was clearly stated )

I don't think I'll ever try it but I would recommend coming up over the border into Canada and try some buckley's (From what I understand its not found in 98% of drug stores) medicine for colds...

Im sure it would taste similar..

I'd avoid it, but its your beer/wort.. Experiment as you please..

No guts, no Glory is one thing I've always lived by.
~worm

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I encourage you guys try some pine needle tea, boiled and steeped with ONLY the needles. The flavor should sweet, with a crispness that only comes in very high concentrations.

If your getting pine-sol flavors from a beer, chances are they used twigs or other such resinous parts of the tree in the brew. Perhaps, as it was said, leaving the needles with the primary could cause the alcohol to draw out some of that turpentine pine-sol like flavor that is evident in the twigs/wooded parts.

I hope you guys give it a shot. Sounds like some of these other brews someone went a bit crazy with the extract.

On a side note, I was going to bottle by straight-up MrB Pilsner. FG tested at 1.010-1.011. Qbrew says i should be finishing around 1.008.

I tasted the sample. It was delicous! I was surprised, as this isn't usually my style as i prefer big, moderate to high ABV brews. I'm going to give another day or two in the LBK, so this project will hold just a while longer. Just want to get it a bit closer to the 1.008.

EDIT: I also want to point out that the exact type of tree matters greatly. Eastern White Pine is one of the best for flavoring with the needles. If you want to try this out, make sure you verify the species of tree you're using.

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RE the T-58. You will potentially get a lot of fruit (melon, tropical, green apple) kinds of flavors along with the pepper. More depending on how warm it gets. I think those would probably be kind of "whacked" in this beer. I like T-58 a lot, but I'd not use it in this I think.

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Ok guys, Pilsner is bottled today, cleaning the lbk now!

Heading to lhbs tomorrow for yeast, i have everything else set.

Here's what I ended up with re. supplies:

1 can American Porter HME
2lb. Briess Amber DME
Almond Extract
1/8 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pine needles
1/2 oz northern brewer@15min (going for the mint aromas I hear this hop throws off)

Only thing I need to figure out is the yeast. I've settled on either US-05 or S-04.

Any thoughts on which? S-04 supposedly goes with this style, but I hear it causes blowouts and the like, and can leave "fruity" flavors

us-05 apparantly must have nothing prominent about it except for "dry", as that's the only consistent description I can find out about it.

So which one, us-05 or s-04? I'll be headed to the LHBS tomorrow afternoon

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S-04 is not fruity if you ferment cool (mid 60s or

Both of them can cause blowouts if pitched into well aerated wort with lots of head forming compounds.

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BREW DAY!!!

Here's the final recipe, I'll keep you all updated through the process. Interesting morning whipping this up.....

-Made 2 1/2 cups of "pine needle tea"
-added another 2 1/2 cups to give me 5 cups of water
-added 1lb munton's light DME, stirred in got it all nice and dissolved
-BOIL OVER :ohmy: , didn't lose too much wort though i got it under control just as it went over the lip of the pot
-added 1/2 oz. northern brewer pellet hops
boiled 15 min.
-added another 1lb. munton's light DME and another 1/2 oz. Northern Brewer (both hop additions were commando)
-boiled 5 min.
-Flameout, added 1 can American Porter MrB HME, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp allspice, 1/2 tsp almond extract, and about 6-7 pine needles
-Added 4qt spring water to LBK, then the worth, then topped off with spring water to 8.5qt mark
-stirred the CRAP out of it :shoot:
-pitched whole packet of us-05 yeast
-OG reading (pulled the sample from the spigot) was about 1.071-1.072. Was shooting for 1.074 so this is decent.

Drank my sample. Here's my thoughts on that:
-Big hop and spice aroma to the nose, smells like beer french toast. I kind of like it
-Sweet and spicy up front, definitely alot of cinnamon in there. Will tone down for the next batch as of now. Hop bitterness is perfectly balanced and the NB hops definitely compliment the spices surprisingly well. I thought the flavors would clash.
-I CAN'T TASTE PINE!!! I can't find it at all. Am thinking maybe next time either throw in a muslin sack of pine needles and do a steep similar to specialty grains, or adding it in to the LBK. I thought for sure the flavor would be too strong. Do you think it'll show itself again as the hop aromas mild out? I was thinking of adding some needles in a sack as kind of a dry hop in about a week, but my good sense is telling me to just wait this sucker out and see what I get in 3 weeks. could also be that cinnamon. Am thinking definitely take it down to 1/4 or maybe even an 1/8 tsp, but we'll see after the final product.

That's it for now. I'll let you all know how it evolves.

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or maybe you can boil up a "pine tea" again and pour it in before bottling? This may mess with your ABV though.

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"joejkd82" post=316249 said:

I encourage you guys try some pine needle tea, boiled and steeped with ONLY the needles. The flavor should sweet, with a crispness that only comes in very high concentrations.

If your getting pine-sol flavors from a beer, chances are they used twigs or other such resinous parts of the tree in the brew. Perhaps, as it was said, leaving the needles with the primary could cause the alcohol to draw out some of that turpentine pine-sol like flavor that is evident in the twigs/wooded parts.

I hope you guys give it a shot. Sounds like some of these other brews someone went a bit crazy with the extract.

On a side note, I was going to bottle by straight-up MrB Pilsner. FG tested at 1.010-1.011. Qbrew says i should be finishing around 1.008.

I tasted the sample. It was delicous! I was surprised, as this isn't usually my style as i prefer big, moderate to high ABV brews. I'm going to give another day or two in the LBK, so this project will hold just a while longer. Just want to get it a bit closer to the 1.008.

EDIT: I also want to point out that the exact type of tree matters greatly. Eastern White Pine is one of the best for flavoring with the needles. If you want to try this out, make sure you verify the species of tree you're using.

When I was a lad, many years ago, I was very into learning outdoor survival techniques. Pine needle tea is often mentioned as an excellent source of vitamin C, and is quite good with some wild berries in it, although it does leave a dry sensation in your throat. That said, I have to echo Frozen In Time. Everything I've read about the use of pine needles in negative; that it will lend your beer a very unpleasant tarry, turpentine flavor, even when using the fresh candles as you do with spruce tips. Please let us know how your beer turns out once it has conditioned.

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I think I'm going to try to stay away from putting any more liquid into the fermenter. I'll have to pull off a sample in a week and give it a taste.

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Will be very interested to see how your experiment turns out.

One other way I was thinking you could get some pine into it would be to soak the needles in some vodka. This MAY end up pulling out the turpentine flavors that others referenced - or it could pull out the pine flavors that may or may not show up after a bit more fermenting or conditioning.

If nothing else - go with a very PINEY hop to get the flavor and nose next time out. That said - you are boldly going where not many have gone before and doing a service to all of us. Hope it turns out how you want but if not, it is a learning experience and hopefully you still have a drinkable beer :)

cheers
jeff

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First Hyrdro test 1 week into fermentation. US-05 did a fast number in the LBK. Still have some stuff floating about, but krausen fell about 2 days ago and it's settling down.

Pulled a sample, gravity is down to 1.018-1.016 (let's call it 1.017), so we're at about 7% ABV

It is not sweet anymore, and the hops have definitely mellowed out. Tastes rich with a crisp hop finish. Still can't find the pine, but I am starting to smell it faintly.

It's funny because everything I heard was that pine is too overpowering in beer, but I'm having trouble getting the flavor at all!

Hopefully after some conidtioning those notes will come through

Oddly, I can smell the spices, but their tastes kind of melded with the fresh "snap" of the hop finish. Up front is a semi-sweet malt, nowhere near as malty as I thought.

It's progressing nicely and is definitely quite tasting, but I think next time I will not do any hop additions, and may up the amount of pine in the boil, and do 2 additions at 30 and 5 minutes. I will also steep some choclate malt and crystal 80L for some sweet and nutty notes, maybe 1/4 to 1/8 lb. before the boil. Will also likely try english ale yeast s-04.

This is all, of course, premature, just putting my day-to-day thoughts out there.

Seems like I'm going to end up with good beer, so I'm happy :gulp:

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Thought I'd update you all on this.

I've had the batch bottled for just over 1 week now. I used screwy's calculator for bottle priming and only put 1.75 tsp of table sugar into each 1L bottle, and then brought the bottles in the room with my wood stove. I left 3 in the kitchen where it is much cooler (and where I ferment, it's about 65-67 in there).

The bottles in the living room (wood stove) carbed quick and are rock hard. Since I've got another batch on the way and I need the bottles, I decided I'd knock off one early just to see how it's developing.

Here's the deal:
Aroma-Smells sweet and malty, the powerful punch of northern brewer hops is an ever-so-faint mint. Cinnamon catches you mid-way to the mint. Not as complex of an aroma as I would have liked. The pine is undedectable.

Flavor-Sweet on the tongue with full carbonation, caramel and toffee with a slight mint that's trying to break through but can't quite do it. Finishes sweet but dry with cinnamon notes. The allspice that dominated before has faded to background and melded quite well. There is a component to the sweet finish that I recognize may be the pine needle flavor, but it doen't define itself well and would be unrecognizable to most drinkers.

There's a great "belly feel" with this one, nice warming alcohol sensation but not overpowering and burning (not fusel compounds).

Overall, it's a very tasty brew. It's very unique, I've never had anything quite like it, but it is not what I was going for. It tastes like a Woodstock in Maple Porter, but with a cinnamon finish in place of the maple and perhaps a tad dryer (likely US-05).

I'm surprised it tastes this good this early, as it has another 3 weeks or so to go. There is a slight acetaldehyde flavor as you get towards the end of the bottle, so the yeasties aren't done yet, but it's nowhere near as bad as my pilsner batch.

I'd like this to hit a bit more with some crispness and resin notes, the pine needs to be sharper and more well defined. I may need to add some needles and twigs into some sort of secondary on my next one which is brewing now.

Willl update this weekend, I'll knock another one down and we'll see how it's developing.

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Keep us informed on the play by play taste tests - this is an interesting concept and I am very interested to see how it turns out and evolves.

Cheers
jeff

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Rough week (blizzard didn't help) so I needed to RDWHAHB. I pulled another bottle of this batch yesterday, chilled it in the freezer super cold then rested it in the fridge.

It was EXCELLENT. Nice hiss when I cracked it open (1L PET), smoke in the bottle, poured about 1-1.25in head in the glass. Carbonation was just about perfect after 2 weeks, so hats off to screwy and his calculator, it was spot on.

Aroma:
Pretty much the same as a couple days ago.

Taste:
BIG difference. Tremendous mouthfeel, nips of carbonation on the tongue. There is a caramel undertone and general malty goodness carried throughout. The mint flavor has mellowed and I now recognize it as the norther brewer hops and allspice flavors having melded. The finish is VERY similar to Anchor's Christmas ale, which is what I was going for to begin with.

Ironically, this finish I used to think was their evergreen of choice is actually more spice and minty hop characters, I just interpreted "crisp" to mean "pine"

I have a second one going now that is uber pined up, and is starting to taste like alba Scot's with a bit more bitterness, but that's a whole other story.

The green apple flavors are reserved to the very bottom of the bottle, which I now recognize to be incompletely fermented sugar. It's funny because the longer you wait, the further down in the bottle that flavor exists. It will likely be gone by next week.

This is going to be a phonomenal beer after3 weeks. I'll probably crack the next bottle Saturday. :chug:

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