My favorite time of year is here! Fall – Halloween, Thanksgiving, and then Christmas. And with the season comes my favorite beer as well – holiday ales. Back home I was always looking forward to the Juleøl (Christmas Beer) releases, and here in the Northwest to my delight there are many delicious holiday releases as well. One of my favorites over the past many years is Deschutes Jubelale. So now that I have the ability to make quality beer at home, I had to try to create one on my own. As a beginner I am not quite yet comfortable with coming up with my own recipes from scratch, so I went to my trusted local home brew supply store and asked for help – and they provided me with nothing less than a recipe for a genuine Jubelale clone.
The recipe calls for 5 kinds of malt and barley:
- 10lbs 8oz of 2-row Pale malt
- 1 lb 8oz Crystal 150L malt (substituted with Extra Dark British Crystal)
- 12 oz Crystal 10-80L malt
- 2 oz Cara-pils
- 1 oz Roasted Barley
I programmed the Braumeister to start mashing at 50C for 10 minutes, then step up to 63C and stay there for 60 minutes, then the final step at 73C for 40 minutes. I chose this schedule to get full fermentable sugar extractions, as well as some extractions of unfermentables to add to sweetness and mouthfeel. I am still experimenting with the mash techniques to learn how the beer is impacted so this could of course be completely wrong. I came up with these temps after reading a great article at the BeerSmith blog. After the mash, I pulled up the grain pipe and let it drain for a while before sparging with 4.5 L of 78C water.
The hop schedule is as following (all pellets):
- 3/4 oz Chinook (Bittering)
- 1 oz Cascade (Bittering, dry-hop)
- 1/2 oz Willamette (Bittering)
- 1oz Tettnanger (Aroma)
- 1 1/2 oz Golding (Aroma, dry-hop)
After the hop boil I chilled the wort using my copper immersion chiller. After reaching about 23C I let it sit for about 20 minutes to settle. NOT doing this was one of my fails in Brew#1. I also only used pellets – and this combination allowed my drain spicket to function as planned – it did NOT clog up this time so I was able to neatly drain the wort into my fermenter without issues. I pitched with Imperial Organic A07 Flagship yeast. It worked well and fermentation started and completed without issues in my basement at about 65F temperature. After 8 days I racked into my conical fermenter that I picked up used from a neighbor and let it sit for another week to settle out and clarify in my garage at about 12C. I then transferred to keg, and let it sit for another week or so at about 25 psi. I rolled it a bit do get the CO2 in there so I could try it right away. I am not totally happy with the carbonation of my beers so far but I hope it will help to get a fridge at some point. For now it is sitting in my garage at whatever temperature it happens to be. Currently 9C. The beers seem to get a good head but the CO2 is not immersed properly into the beer as you get in bottles or at a pub.
The picture above is taken a week after kegging and shows the original Jubelale on the left (from bottle), and my clone on the right. The color is surprisingly dark – perhaps from my on-the-whim substitution of Extra Dark British Crystal malt instead of the Crystal 150L malt, as well as going with the Crystal 80L instead of 70L. I am surprised at how little of dark malts it takes to get this dark color. When I looked at the colors of the grains (see picture above) I thought for sure this would come out too light. Another learning experience! As far as the beer, I must say that I am very pleased with the outcome. This is a solid holiday release that I am proud to have under my belt. In comparison to the bottled Jubelale I will say that the original has more complex and enjoyable flavors upfront, and it is a bit cleaner and crisper. My flavors come more on the back-end and is more malt-focused. As far as my favorite holiday ale of the season so far, it is the Pfriem Winter Ale. This is an absolutely stunning beer. I emailed the brewery located in Hood River, Oregon and asked for the ingredients but it seems that is a secret they are not willing to share at this point. From their website I picked up the following: Gambrinus Canadian Pilsner malt, German Perle hops, Belgian Dark Candi Sugar, and Corander spices. Not sure if the spices were an actual ingredient or a tasting note. If I don’t hear back, I will try to hunt down these ingredients and try to tweak my Jubelale recipe to match that somehow for another holiday brew for Christmas.