Mattie’s TKO Winter Warmer – The Beer

Mattie’s TKO Winter Warmer

If you antagonize this beer, it won’t hesitate to cold-cock you.  Big, malty, with a strong boozy backbone, you may only last a few rounds with this brew.

The Beer
Given the back story of this beer, it had a lot to live up to.  With winter right around the corner, I knew I wanted to do something in-season.  I just had to decide what style I wanted to do.  I’m not a big fan of overly spiced beers, so I wanted to avoid those styles.  I wasn’t set up to do a lager yet, so that was out.

While doing some searching, I found a Winter Warmer recipe on NorthernBrewer.com, and I knew I had my recipe.  I’ve only drank a few brews in this style, most notable Lancaster Brewing Company’s, and I always really enjoyed them.  It was exactly what I was looking for – a big, complex malt flavor complimented by a nice hop profile and ending with a boozy alcohol note.

And I have to say – this beer falls right in line with the style.  I’m really pleased with how it came out.  It hits you with the malt up front, but there’s some nice layers to it.  The hops kick in about mid-taste, and the boozy not takes over at the end.

The Recipe and Process
The recipe for this beer is interesting. It’s got a few ingredients I’ve never used before, and combinations I wouldn’t have thought to put together. Unfortunately, since it isn’t my recipe, I can’t post the exact specs here, but I’ll refer to the ingredients without the measurements.

The specialty grains in this beer are unique combo.  I was expecting to use Simpson Crystal and Simpson Chocolate grains for this beer.  I can definitely see Crystal, since this brew has a high OG, but the Chocolate threw me.  It added a good amount of color and complexity to this beer.

To achieve the OG mentioned above, which is 1.069, this beer has a beefy malt backbone of liquid Gold Malt Syrup.  We’re talking almost double digit poundage of the stuff.  It definitely gave the beer the rich booziness I was looking for.

And believe it or not, this recipe had the most amount of hops I’ve used.  This calls for a good amount of Willamette hops, which have a modest bittering value, but are great for aroma filled with earthy spice notes.  While it’s a lot in quantity, it’s not a lot in terms of bitterness, and the hops add a nice richness to this brew.

Although the process was pretty by the books, I was introduced to a new procedure – late malt extract additions.  This is used to combat the carmelization that can occur with liquid malt extract during a 60 minute boil.  Basically, if you put the liquid sugars in the boil for too long, they can burn to an undesirable level.  Adding the liquid malt extract later in the boil helps keep the flavors and color where they should be.

I did make my first ever yeast starter for this beer.  I probably made it a bit small with a 500ml starter for a 1.069 OG beer.  I have to say, this made a HUGE difference in the quality of the beer.  The increased number of yeast cells did their job, and I got a really clean beer in return.

Then came the real tough part with this beer – aging it.  Because of the amount of malt and the deep flavors with this beer, the recipe recommend aging the beer for a month in the secondary.  This way, all the flavors would get to know each other and blend together.  As tough as it was to leave it alone, the finish product benefited from it’s aging.

So there you have it – how a drunken knock out between friends inspired a big, boozy winter brew.  I’ll be enjoying this one until the summer months and hoping it doesn’t put my lights out.

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