Just before bonfire night, I produced a beer to celebrate the season.
Mixing plenty of rich flavours with some spice and fruit for good measure.
The beer was a Spiced Apple Ale. The brewing itself went really well and worked as a great experiment to try out fresh fruit and more unusual ingredients in the recipe.
Starting with the malts, I used a mixture of four including Maris Otter as my base, then a touch of Caramalt for sweetness, Chocolate malt for for colour as well as a rich sweetness and Munich to further push the richness and sweetness.
Hops are fairly simple and included some British Fuggles to add an element of earthy\grassiness and bitterness to the beer whilst the Hallertauer Hersbrucker will help push the aroma with fragrant and floral notes.
Finally, to help push the seasonal flavour, I added a cinnamon stick for spiciness and two Bramley apples.
Here is the recipe I will be trying out below.
910g Marris Otter
23g Chocolate Malt
23g Munich Malt
Hops – Start – Bittering
1 Cinnamon Stick
Hops – Middle – Flavouring
Hops – End – Aroma
2 Peeled & Chopped Apples
English Ale Yeast
1/4 tsp Irish Moss (Added in the final 15 minutes of boil)
Cleaning & Sanitising:
Prepare your sanitiser by dissolving 2 teaspoons of powder or dissolving one tablet in 5 litres of water.
Sterilize all equipment including the demijohn, Syphon tubing, airlock, bung, funnel, thermometer and sieve by soaking in the liquid for around 20 minutes.
Try to hold onto this sanitiser solution until the brewing process is complete as you never know when you’ll need it.
Heat 2.2 US quarts (2.1 litres) of water to 71 degrees then add the grain mixture. Stir gently and maintain a temperature of between 62 & 67 degrees for the next hour.
Stir the mixture every 10 minutes until you have reached the 1 hour mark.
With 10 minutes left in the mash, bring the temperature up to 77 degrees. At the same time, start heating up another pan with 5.1 US quarts (4.9 litres) of water to around 77 degrees.
Place the sieve over this second pan and start to pour in the grains. Once all the grains have been poured into the sieve, carefully pour the hot grain mash through the grains.
Then move the sieve onto the empty pan. Gently and evenly pour the 5.1 quarts (4.9 litres) over the grains and recirculate a couple of times.
You can pass the wort through the grain a couple of times to capture as much of the sugary liquid as you can.
Place the pan containing the wort onto a high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Set a timer for an hour and allow to boil until the time is up.
With 60 minutes left on the timer, add the starter hops and the cinnamon as listed above. There are no requirements for the middle hops, but when there are 15 minutes left add the Irish moss and finally with 1 minute left on the clock, add the end hops as well as the diced apple.
Take off the boil and allow to sit for about 20 minutes to extract all the apple goodness.
Fish the apple chucks out before moving onto the ice bath.
Remember, the earlier the hops are added the more bitter the wort and the later the hops are added, the more aroma will come from the wort.
Ensure you have an ice bath prepared somewhere to cool the wort down to around 22 degrees. A bath or a sink will do.
Using a funnel, pour the cooled wort into the sanitised demijohn. Allow a little space at the top as fermentation will cause a krausen to form which could overflow.
I use a filtered funnel which catches all the left over hops and debris.
Pour three quarters of the yeast into the demijohn, then half fill the airlock with some of the left over sanitiser. Attach to the bung and push into the top of the demijohn to create a seal.
Store in a cool and dark place at room temperature and monitor.
After up to 14 days or when the fermentation has finished, sanitise bottles, caps, and syphon using the same principles as above.
Prime the bottles by adding 1/2 teaspoon of sugar per 500ml or 1/4 teaspoon of sugar per 330ml to them.
Using the syphon, disperse the liquid equally amongst the bottles trying not to disturb the sediment in the bottom of the demijohn.
You can control the flow with a clamp mechanism or if your quick enough place the end from one bottle to the other quickly.
Leave a space at the top of each bottle to allow for fermentation within bottle, cap or close the lid then store in a cool and dark place at room temperature for around 2 – 3 weeks.
Considering the length of time that the cinnamon and apple spent in the brewing process, their flavours are really subtle over the more savoury biscuit flavour which takes centre stage. The finish is also pretty subtle with a really light bitterness.
Its a pleasant beer which is liked by some and not by others – kind of an acquired taste.
I’d be really interested to hear if anyone else has tried something similar and what they thought of it.