Winter Warmer Recipe

903193_4650526856421_2110192470_o

A harsh winter. April 2013 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. (Photo by Joe Colby)

This is a strong, dark, winter warmer recipe with a Scandinavian feel. One difficult thing about spiced ales is getting the level of spicing right. In this recipe, this isn’t a worry since you’re spicing with a spirit (aquavit) whose level of spicing is fairly consistent. If you follow the recipe, the caraway flavor from the aquavit is subtle. Increasing the aquavit to 30 oz. (0.89 L) yields more spice (and alcohol), but is still very drinkable. For homebrew contests, or anytime you’d want a strongly-flavored ale, you can ramp it up to 40 oz. (1.2 L). Extract recipes are given in English and metric units. Scroll down for an all-grain option, serving suggestion, and information about aquavit and caraway.

 

Fimbulvinter Øl 

(Winter Warmer)

by Chris Colby

Malt extract; English units

 

DESCRIPTION

This a dark, holiday ale whose name roughly translates as “ale for a cold winter.” (“Øl” means beer or ale in Norwegian and Swedish and “fimbulvinter” is a long or harsh winter, named after the 3-year winter that precedes Ragnarök in Norse mythology.) This ale is spiked with aquavit, a Scandinavian spirit spiced with caraway. This transforms the 8% ABV dark ale into a 9% ABV spiced ale.

INGREDIENTS (for 5 gallons)

 

Water

water for the partial mash

6 qts. of water with [HCO3] = 250 pmm and [Ca2+] = 100 ppm

(6 qts. of distilled water plus 0.75 tsp calcium carbonate (chalk) and 0.25 tsp sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) will work)

 

the remainder of the water

filtered tap water

 

Malts (for an OG of 1.083 and 25 SRM)

7.0 lb. light dried pale malt extract (English)

1.0 lb. English pale ale malt

20 oz.  Munich malt (10 °L)

5.3 oz. crystal malt (40 °L)

8.0 oz. crystal malt (60 °L)

4.0 oz. crystal malt (80 °L)

11 oz. chocolate malt

 

IMG_1965

Lysholm Linie Aquavit. This caraway-spiced spirit was aged in oak barrels as it traveled from Norway to Australia and back.

Hops and Other Spices (for 37 IBU total)

Northern Brewer hops (37 IBU)

1.25 oz. (at 8.0% alpha acids), boiled for 60 minutes

20 fl. oz. aquavit (at 40% ABV), added at bottling/kegging

(this raises the beer from 5.00 gallons at 8.0% ABV to 5.16 gallons at 9.0% ABV)

 

Yeast (for an FG of 1.021 and 8.0% ABV, before addition of aquavit)

Wyeast 1968 (London ESB) or White Labs WLP002 (English Ale) yeast

2.5-qt. yeast starter

 

Other 

1/4 tsp yeast nutrients, boiled for 15 minutes

4.25 oz. corn sugar (to prime for 2.3 volumes of CO2)

PROCEDURE

Make yeast starter 2–3 days ahead of brew day. In your brewpot, heat 6.0 qts. of brewing liquor to 165 °F and 3.0 qts. of tap water to 170 °F. Place crushed grains in steeping bag and steep (mash) at 154 °F for 60 minutes. Apply short (~1 minute) bursts of heat when temperature dips. Recheck temperature after stirring and waiting two minutes. BIAB procedure: You can simply lift the bag out, let it drip and then rinse the bag with the 3.0 qts. of hot water. Placing the bag in a large colander will make rinsing easier. Countertop partial mash procedure: Lift the bag out of the brewpot and into a 2.0-gallon (or larger) beverage cooler. (The kind with a spigot for dispensing drinks.) Scoop or pour the wort from your brewpot into the grains. (This filters the wort.) Collect 2 cups of wort and pour it on top of the grains. Repeat this step (recirculation) eight to ten times. Then, collect 2 cups of wort and place in brewpot. Add 2 cups of 170 °F  water to top of grain bed. Repeat these two steps until hot water runs out, then simply collect wort until cooler is dry. Begin heating wort once you have collected about 2 qts. Both procedures:  Add water to make at least 3.0 gallons in your brewpot, stir in roughly half of the malt extract and bring to a boil. Boil for 60 minutes, adding boiling water if needed so boil volume doesn’t dip below 3.0 gallons. Add hops and yeast nutrients at times indicated in the ingredient list. Add remaining malt extract with 15 minutes left in boil. Cool wort to 68 °F and transfer to fermenter. Add water to make 5.0 gallons, aerate and pitch yeast from yeast starter. Ferment at 68 °F. In keg or bottling bucket, add aquavit. (Stir to blend thoroughly, if bottling.)

 

905702_4643927971453_530286809_o

Winter. (Sioux Falls, SD, April 2013 — Photo by Joe Colby)

 

Fimbulvinter Øl 

(Winter Warmer)

by Chris Colby

Malt extract; metric units

 

INGREDIENTS (for 19 L)

 

Water

water for the partial mash

5.7 L of water with [HCO3] = 250 pmm and [Ca2+] = 100 ppm

(5.7 L of distilled water plus 0.75 tsp calcium carbonate (chalk) and 0.25 tsp sodium carbonate (baking soda) will work)

 

the remainder of the water

filtered tap water

 

Malts (for an OG of 1.083 and 25 SRM)

3.2 kg light dried pale malt extract (English)

450 g English pale ale malt

570 g Munich malt (10 °L)

150 g crystal malt (40 °L)

230 g crystal malt (60 °L)

110 g crystal malt (80 °L)

310 g chocolate malt

 

Hops and Other Spices (for 37 IBU total)

Northern Brewer hops (37 IBU)

35 g (at 8.0% alpha acids), boiled for 60 minutes

590 mL aquavit (at 40% ABV), added at bottling/kegging

(this raises the beer from 18.9 L at 8.0% ABV to 19.5 L at 9.0% ABV)

 

Yeast (for an FG of 1.021 and 8.0% ABV, before addition of aquavit)

Wyeast 1968 (London ESB) or White Labs WLP002 (English Ale) yeast

2.4-L yeast starter

 

Other

1/4 tsp yeast nutrients, boiled for 15 minutes

120 g corn sugar (to prime for 2.3 volumes of CO2)

PROCEDURE

Make yeast starter 2–3 days ahead of brew day. In your brewpot, heat 5.7 L of brewing liquor to 75 °C and 2.8 L of tap water to 77 °C. Place crushed grains in steeping bag and steep (mash) at 68 °C for 60 minutes. Apply short (~1 minute) bursts of heat when temperature dips. Recheck temperature after stirring and waiting two minutes. BIAB procedure: You can simply lift the bag out, let it drip and then rinse the bag with the 2.8 L of hot water. Placing the bag in a large colander will make rinsing easier. Countertop partial mash procedure: Lift the bag out of the brewpot and into a ~2-L (or larger) beverage cooler. (The kind with a spigot for dispensing drinks.) Scoop or pour the wort from your brewpot into the grains. (This filters the wort.) Collect 2 cups of wort and pour it on top of the grains. Repeat this step (recirculation) eight to ten times. Then, collect 2 cups of wort and place in brewpot. Add 2 cups of 77 °C water to top of grain bed. Repeat these two steps until hot water runs out, then simply collect wort until cooler is dry. Begin heating wort once you have collected about 2 L. Both procedures:  Add water to make at least 11 L in your brewpot, add roughly half of the malt extract and bring to a boil. Boil for 60 minutes, adding boiling water if needed so boil volume doesn’t dip below 11 L. Add hops and yeast nutrients at times indicated in the ingredient list. Add remaining malt extract with 15 minutes left in the boil. Cool wort to 20 °C and transfer to fermenter. Add water to make 19 L, aerate and pitch yeast from yeast starter. Ferment at 20 °C. In keg or bottling bucket, add aquavit. (Stir to blend thoroughly, if bottling.)

 

ALL-GRAIN OPTION

Omit malt extract. Add 12 lbs. (5.4 kg) of pale ale malt to grist, for a total of 13 lbs. (5.9 kg). Mash at 154 °F (68 °C). Boil for 60 minutes. Ferment at 68 °F (20 °C). Add aquavit at bottling or kegging.

 

SERVING SUGGESTION

Keep the rest of the bottle of aquavit in your freezer. When you’re going to enjoy a Fimbulvinter Øl, slice some cheese, pour a shot of aquavit and your beer.  Enjoy periodic small sips of the aquavit with the beer and cheese.

 

ABOUT AQUAVIT

Aquavit (also spelled akvavit) is a spiced spirit that is popular in Scandinavia. It has been produced there since the 15th Century. Like vodka, it is traditionally made from a potato mash and contains around 40% alcohol by volume. It is spiced, generally with blend of spices dominated by caraway. Other spices may include dill, anise, fennel, cardamom, coriander or cumin. It is traditionally served as “snaps” (small shots) at holiday gatherings and is often paired with smoked fish, cheese and beer. Norwegian aquavit is usually the most strongly spiced, and hence recommended for this recipe. Additionally, some Norwegian aquavit is called linie aquavit because it is matured in oak casks that have passed the equator — the “linie” — twice on ships making a loop from Norway to australia and back. This type of aquavit is always yellow, as opposed to most other aquavits which are clear. In Norway, aquavit is usually not served chilled.

 

ABOUT CARAWAY 

Caraway “seeds” are really the dried fruit of the caraway plant (Carum carvi). Caraway has an anise-like flavor (reminiscent of licorice) and is often used in spiced breads, especially rye bread. The essential oil of caraway contains the terpenoid carvone (which is also the most abundant flavorant in dill) and the cyclic terpene limonene (which smells like oranges or the rind of citrus fruits). Both of these molecules contain a central, six-carbon ring with residues at the first and fourth carbons. Carvone additionally has a double bonded oxygen in the second position. (Hmmm . . . what does that remind me of?)

892773_4643928691471_643100188_o

Time for a beer. (Photo by Joe Colby.)

 

Comments

  1. Wherestheyeast says:

    This sounds intriguing! Thanks for including BIAB instructions. Is Aquavit readily available in liquor stores across the U.S.?

    • Chris Colby says:

      My liquor store in Bastrop (a fairly small town) had two kinds of aquavit, one from Denmark (Aalborg) and the Norwegian Linie Aquavit by Lysholm. I would guess that bigger liquor stores would carry it, especially around the holidays.

  2. I wonder how this would work with other Scandinavian schnappses. Like Brennivín (Black Death vodka, also spiced with caraway), or Gammel Dansk (spiced with everything). Hmmm… A split batch might be in order.

    • Chris Colby says:

      Sure, you could make several different spiced variants. And the nice thing about using an alcohol extract of spices is that you can do small scale blending trials first to get the spice level right.

  3. This recipe sounds excellent. I might still try to squeeze this one in this winter. If not, then definitely next year. How long do you recommend letting it bottle condition? Does it need extended aging/cellaring in the bottles or would you say it’s ready after about 4 weeks of conditioning?

Speak Your Mind

*