With the new year underway, it is only natural that introspection upon our last year may lead to regrets — Ah, the beers I should have brewed! Wouldn’t it be nice to be sipping a delicious imperial stout right now, cuddled up next to a space heater while listening to the cold wind blow outside? What might have been!
But with several groundhog-dependent weeks of winter still upon us, it is not too late to brew a few more beers perfect for the cold weather. Now is the time for winter warmers and brown ales. Now is the time for malty and nutty beers, for crisp winter ales, for higher octane American Ambers. Now is the time for the type of beer you’d love served from a rescue St. Bernard’s collar keg. It’s winter: go big and stay home.
Personally, given the timeline of fermentation and aging necessary for some of the bigger beers out there, I’m sticking with beers on a 2-3 week fermentation schedule, and a minimum of 5.5% abv.
Nothing says winter quite like a delicious, nutty English Brown Ale — not too sweet, with just enough body to make this a cellar-temperature sipping beer. Two weeks of fermentation, then bottle/keg and serve once carbonation is ready.
For the hops lover, there is nothing better than the spicy flavors of a Rye IPA, built on a base of bitterness and aromatic hop flavor, but with enough body to round out the 7.0% abv. Two weeks’ fermentation, move into a secondary to dry hop for seven days, then bottle or keg.
A bitter American Amber, rounded out with late hop additions and served cold and crisp is the perfect example of something icy cold making your face flush with warmth. This simple beer again takes about two weeks to ferment out, followed by proper bottling or kegging.
And of course, for those in love with wheat (guilty here), an off-season Dunkelweizen with an added bit of malt body can serve to please the palette of almost any beer drinker. A darker, heavier version of the traditional hefeweizen, the dunkelweizen adds a bit more malt and caramel flavor to the traditionally light, crispy, estery wheat style. Typically in a lower abv range, think of the dunkelweizen as a winter session beer.
For help with these recipes, or help converting to extract from all-grain, please feel free to contact me at (maybe I should make up an email address here?)
Want your beer-brewing questions answered?
Contact Brewmaster Jon.