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Old 11-13-2012, 02:40 AM   #1
kchomebrew
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Default Christmas Cookie Ale (Great Lakes Christmas Ale type Clone)

Currently fermenting this at secondary stage for 14 more days before bottling. Wanted to share because it will be interesting to see what happens. This is based on the Great Lake Xmas Ale. However, I wanted to get the gingerbread cookie flavor and some of the frosting flavors that might be present on a xmas cookie. As such, I decided to add lactose sugar and vanilla beans. We'll see. Here's what I've got:

All-Grain - Christmas Cookie Ale

Recipe Type: All Grain
Batch Size (Gallons): 5
Original Gravity: 1062
Final Gravity:
IBU: 40
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 14
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 14

10.00 lb Maris Otter
1.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 45L
1.00 lb Victory Malt
1.00 lb Red Wheat Malt
0.25 lb Special Roast
0.08 lb Roasted Barley

1oz Hallertauer (60 min) 20 IBU
0.50 oz Cascade (10 min) 7 IBU
0.50 oz Cascade (5 min) 3 IBU

2 Cinnamon Stick (boil 5.0 min)
2 tbsp Ginger (boil 5.0 min) might have been 3 tbsp...not sure
1.00 lb Honey (Flame out)
8 oz. lactose sugar (15min)
London Ale (Wyeast Labs #1028) Yeast-Ale - made a large starter

Mash Profile

60 min 154.0 F

Secondary Fermenter - 2 Vanilla beans (soaked in rum, split), 2 1/2 cinnamon sticks (soaked in rum)

Original Gravity: 1.062
Gravity at secondary transfer: 1.020
Final Gravity: ??
Final Alcohol by Vol: ??

Brewed 10/28/12 notes. Transfer of wort to primary on brew day. Color is gingerbread color looking. Amber/burnt orange color. Tried the wort and very sweet, didn't pick up much cinnamon but could tast the ginger. Will try again before putting in secondary and see if it needs more cinnamon. OG came out much lower than anticipated (was supposed to be 1.075). My current system is not efficient. Think I should have done 12 lbs of Maris Otter instead of 10...maybe I am just being overly worried.

11/12/12 notes. Transferred to secondary and color is a golden orange color. Tried the flavor and it's gingery for sure. Although, when I first smelled the primary fermentation I was worried because the ginger smell was so strong. Seems to be mellowing out and I'll be interested to see what happens in the next 14 days. I added 2 split vanilla beans that were soaked in rum. I also added 2 1/2 cinnamon sticks because I am not getting any cinnamon taste. There is a residual sweetness for sure maybe from the honey and lactose sugar. 14 more weeks and we'll see what happens. Should be ready to be bottled on Thanksgiving weekend. I'll know more then.

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Old 12-06-2012, 01:22 AM   #2
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took final reading and bottled today. 5 gallons from secondary. - 1.016 FG - color is a golden amber, ginger aroma has really faded out but is just enough ...glad now that I added as much as I did...was really worried about this at first since it seemed very strong in the primary and start of secondary. Not getting too much vanilla. Flavor is biscuity with a mild fruity hint to it, faint vanilla an almost graham crackerish finish. good dry finish. We'll see how it finishes in the bottle over conditioning. Hoping the lactose sugar addition with vanilla will give is some sweetness because it is much drier than I originally thought it would be...but who knows what will happen once it conditions for a couple of weeks. Man...I am excited for this one to carb.I can tell this one will be a hell of a good beer ! I'll post more on the final carbed up product. Primed with 0.60 of a cup of corn sugar. Should be serving this up week of Xmas (just in time !).

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Old 01-04-2013, 12:34 AM   #3
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Did a side by side taste test with Great Lakes Xmas ale. A friend from the Chicago area sent me a few bottles (they don't distribute Great Lakes in the KC, MO area). Looking at the photo, the glass on the right hand side of the photo is the xmas ale I brewed. The glass on the left is Great Lakes. Really, they look identical. The one I brewed has a better head. From an aroma standpoint, the one I brewed has a more pronounced ginger aroma. Great Lakes came across more malty/biscuity aroma. From a taste perspective, both had similar traits. The xmas ale I brewed had a more subdued palate feel that was smoother/silkier in body and the Great Lakes was brighter on the palate and more lively in carbonation (if i do this beer again, I am adding more corn sugar for priming or kegging). The taste on the xmas ale I brewed had more of a melon flavor, which I think comes from the honey and larger dose of ginger. Great Lakes was more about the cinnamon coming through (but still mild) and the malt being complimented by the ginger. The finish on the xmas ale I brewed had more of a residual sweetness that lingered and you can pick up the vanilla hints at the end which is interesting and gives it a spiced rum liqour finish feel. I think this is a major + on the one I brewed and makes it very Holiday-esque. Great Lakes had more of a dry ginger finish. Both are good beers and I have to say I'm envious of the bright palate feel and finish the Great Lakes beer has...I really didn't capture that. But, on a favorable note, I really think the honey and ginger shine through on the one I brewed. If I was to do this again, I'd double the amount of cinnamon used in the boil and in the secondary and I'd probably forget the lactose sugar. I'll for sure try this again for xmas 2013...but was thinking maybe rosemary instead of ginger for an odd twist. Who knows. Hope you find this useful.

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