I love brewing in small batches, mainly for experimental purposes. If I've never brewed with an ingredient, or if I want to test the differences between various ingredients, I'll brew a small batch. It beats buying ingredients for a full batch, spending all day, then finding out the results are less than what I expected.
When I began the day, I didn't know what my recipe was going to be. I did know that I wanted to have a fairly high gravity beer - hopefully a barleywine. So, I started with four pounds of two-row barley and a couple of ounces of 90L crystal malt. The grain went into my little two-gallon drinking water cooler/mash tun to rest for an hour at 152˚F.
I had my base to build upon. Next, with thoughts of the fruitcake that Steve Wilkes baked this past year for our holiday editions of Basic Brewing Video, I chopped 2.5 ounces of raisins. These went into the boil after I collected the wort from the mash. Joining the raisins for 60 minutes was .7 ounces of Fuggles hop pellets.
I wanted a bit of spice to fit the holiday theme, so I dug out a little jar of pumpkin pie spice and added a teaspoon to the boil five minutes before the end with another .4 ounces of Fuggles. At first, I was afraid the spice would clash with the hops, but those fears were dispelled by the aroma coming from the brewpot. The two mingled very well.
After chilling, I poured the wort into the jug and pitched around three grams of Safale US05 yeast. My starting gravity for the three quarts was 1.078 - a bit less than I expected. However, I'm sure there will be plenty of alcohol to warm the holiday table.
Now, a frothy head of kreusen tops the swirling beer as the yeast is going about its business of turning sugars to alcohol and carbon dioxide. The scents coming out of the airlock offer a tantalizing hint of good things to come.