Arminius WinterAle

Over the years I’ve spent as a dungeon master, I have only had a handful of opportunities to play in a campaign on my own. Several years ago, my friend Ben had decided to try life out behind the screen, and asked me to play a character that could babysit a party of newbies. Happy to oblige, I created a prim, proper, and morally inflexible paladin by the name Arminius Wintergale.

While he would never stoop so low as to drink alcohol, his loud, opinionated reputation lives on to this very day. As the main punching bag for the group’s comedy and hijinxs, his misfortunes are lovingly chronicled in that party’s memories: or so I hope. To honor my character of old, and to play yet another prank against his name and honor, I decided to brew something as potent as he was.

Now that it’s rolling into the winter months, it’s the perfect time to work on stouts. It had also been a while since I had designed a recipe without brew-bot’s help, and wanted to keep my skills sharp. A few years ago, I had placed second in a local brewing competition with a frill-less recipe. Seeing that it was a good template beer, and that there would be little competition with respect to extreme flavors to balance against, I made some adjustments to up the wow-factor. This time, I aimed to recreate the scents and flavors of my favorite coffee order: the flat white latte.

  • Grains
    • 2.0 lbs 2-Row
    • 1.0 lbs Crystal 40L
    • 0.5 lbs Flaked Oats
    • 0.5 lbs Chocolate Malt
    • 0.5 lbs Black Malt
  • Extract
    • 9.9 lbs Dark Liquid Malt Extract
  • Yeast
    • Wyeast 1084: Irish Ale
  • Hops
    • 0.5 oz Northern Brewer (60 minutes)
    • 0.25 oz Magnum (30 minutes)
    • 1.00 oz Northern Brewer (10 minutes)
  • Adjuncts (Secondary)
    • 1.0 lb Milk Sugar
    • 3 oz French Vanilla Coffee Grounds (tincture)
    • 1 Vanilla Pod (tincture)

For the adjuncts, I attempted to pull in the three crucial components I would need: coffee, creaminess, and vanilla. I opted to make a tincture with vodka to minimize the risk of contamination, and, to be honest, I had to keep myself from discovering a whole new world of cold brew coffee. However, it was not Dariusz that kept me from making the greatest discovery of a lifetime.

As he was out of town, I was forced to revert back to my solo-brewer roots, as well as my hair roots. Deciding my one-man-mission wasn’t going to be difficult enough, I layered on the additional challenge of dying my hair. My rush for time between everything going on required focus; a focus I knew that would be lost to the wind if I were to explore the merits of coffee extracted via vodka.