Peach Cobbler Holiday Ale

Over the course of the past 6 months this beer went from disappointing to a fairly fun holiday beer.   Originally it was conceived by my wife as part of a double batch of wheat beer.  Having never brewed a wheat beer we set out with a fairly simple base recipe to brew a double batch which we would then split and each handle differently in secondary.   My half was to become something along the lines of a Sam Adam’s Cherry Wheat (didn’t work out, it’s way over cherry and still in the carboy) and she set out to make a Lavender Peach Ale.   Neither half worked out as expected, I think in part because the base beer wasn’t strong enough to hold up against the aggressive fruit additions we chose.

This along with a recent stout recipe we brewed have proven to be valuable lessons in how blending additional flavors after fermentation can turn a mediocre beer that missed the mark into something truly special.   I’ve personally enjoyed this process a great deal recently since I want work further with creating blended sour beers and this gives me what I feel is a bit of practice exercising a similar skill.

The base beer was a simple 4.2% Wheat beer made up of 55% wheat malt, 40% Pale Malt, with a  bit of Carared and Carafa III for color.   Hopped only for bittering and around 13-15 IBUs with a bit of Centennial.  Here’s the complete recipe. 

Wheat Base Beer


 

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
11 gal 90 min 13.2 IBUs 19.2 EBC 1.043 1.011 4.2 %
Actuals 1.046 1.01 4.7 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
American Wheat or Rye Beer 6 D 1.04 - 1.055 1.008 - 1.013 15 - 30 5.9 - 11.8 2.3 - 2.6 4 - 5.5 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
Wheat Malt, Pale (Weyermann) 10 lbs 55.94
Pale Malt, Maris Otter (Thomas Fawcett) 7 lbs 39.16
Carared (Weyermann) 10 oz 3.5
Carafa Special III (Weyermann) 4 oz 1.4

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Centennial 0.77 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 9

Mash

Step Temperature Time
Saccharification 152.1°F 10 min
Check PH 152°F 60 min
Mash Out 168°F 10 min

After primary fermentation the batch was split into two carboys.  Rachel’s half received around 2lbs of peach extract that was left over from a peach wine kit.  We also treated it with homemade lavender extract made by soaking fresh lavendar in Vodka.   Overall once kegged this beer was overwhelmingly peachy with very little lavender evident in the nose and almost none in the taste.  All you tasted and smelled was pretty much peaches.   It was a little overly sweet and honestly had turned into a light sparkling peach wine.   Wasn’t a big hit and ended up being taken off tap in favor of another beer for a fall party we were planning.

A glass of peach pie

A glass of peach pie

Just before Christmas we started looking around at what we had available for beers to take with us while visiting family in North Carolina.   We were travelling with 3 gallon kegs, so the partial keg of peach wheat beer was a potential option.  But, recalling that neither of us were particularly satisfied with it we decided to try turning it into a spiced holiday beer.  Essentially the goal was to create something reminiscent of peach cobbler in a glass.   We already had a tincture of cinnamon and nutmeg from a pumpkin beer available as well as another tincture of ginger from a ginger sour ale.   I added both to the 3 gallon keg we’d be transferring the remaining wheat beer into along with a fresh vanilla bean (split down the middle).  This was keg transfer was done around 10 days before the beer was tapped.

We tapped this beer on Christmas Day.  It had changed dramatically as a result of our spice additions.  What was previously a one dimensional overly peach beer now had some light spice character and finished with a soft cream flavor reminiscent of a cream soda.   Overall still somewhat more cider/wine-like and less beer like but a very pleasant easy drinking holiday beverage.  It worked out particularly well here were the weather was warm enough that we grilled burgers outside Christmas day.

12/26/2015 – Tapped Christmas Day

  • Aroma – Light peach aroma, no hops or malt character present.
  • Appearance –Deep amber, clear with a solid head that lasts.
  • Flavor – Fresh peaches, light spice character, finishes with a hint of cream soda.  Sweet beer but the finish is clean and not cloying, almost like a semi-sweet cider.
  • Mouthfeel – Creamy mouthfeel.

If I was to remake this beer I’d probably give the base a bit of a boost or tone down the peaches slightly, assuming I was kegging it.  That said if your happy with the idea of a peach pie cider then don’t change too much.    Alternatively bottled to share as a lighter dessert beer or a unique beer to give away as a holiday gift this could be a solid choice.  This recipe is an approximation of what we did.  You can use vodka tinctures for the spices so that you’d be able to add them to taste.

Peach Cobbler Holiday Ale


 

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
5.5 gal 90 min 16.0 IBUs 22.5 EBC 1.054 1.008 6.0 %
Actuals 1.046 1.01 4.7 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
American Wheat or Rye Beer 6 D 1.04 - 1.055 1.008 - 1.013 15 - 30 5.9 - 11.8 2.3 - 2.6 4 - 5.5 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
Wheat Malt, Pale (Weyermann) 5 lbs 45.71
Pale Malt, Maris Otter (Thomas Fawcett) 3.5 lbs 32
Carared (Weyermann) 5 oz 2.86
Carafa Special III (Weyermann) 2 oz 1.14
Peach Concentrate 2 lbs 18.29

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Centennial 0.5 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 9

Miscs

Name Amount Time Use Type
Ginger Root 1.00 oz 12 min Secondary Herb
Vanilla Bean (Whole, Split) 1.00 Items 5 min Secondary Flavor
Cinnamon Stick 1.00 Items 5 min Secondary Spice
Ground Nutmeg 0.25 tsp 5 min Secondary Spice

Mash

Step Temperature Time
Check PH 152°F 60 min
Saccharification 152.1°F 10 min
Mash Out 168°F 10 min

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *