If you have read the continuing saga of my Pale Ale turned Winter Ale, you’ve probably been wondering, “how did it turn out?” I tried it after being bottled for 4 days, and it had a very “hot” alcohol taste. I let it sit for about 3 weeks and tried it again and was pleasantly surprised. The “hot” alcohol taste had faded considerably and it tasted and smelled like my typical pale ale. I could notice something in the background, but the cinnamon and vanilla were not very identifiable. It is definitely strong at 9.7% thanks to the 4 pounds of honey and the champagne yeast that I added later. It is a bit too dry, which is definitely a characteristic of the champagne yeast. I’d much rather have it attenuate down to about 1.012 to 1.015 – the 1.008 is just too low.
I would consider making this beer again, but definitely not this way. If I were to make this again, I’d add the honey after shutting off the burner, rather than after primary fermentation was complete. I’d also leave out the champagne yeast and just use WLP001 with a huge starter. And of course I’d do it all-grain, since that is where I am headed. Live and learn.