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Bramstoker17 10-12-2012 05:49 AM

Christmas Ale recipe, would love feedback
Hi everyone,

This weekend I plan on taking my first crack at a Christmas beer. I'm hoping it will be ready by then, but regardless, I'm hoping for a nice winter ale. I have to give credit to the Great Lakes clones I've seen around as they were the inspiration here, but I made some changes. Here goes nothing!

6 lbs 3oz of Munton's Light LME
1 lb Munton's Wheat DME
1 lb of Honey
8 oz cara-pils
8 oz Crystal 40L
8 oz Crystal 60L
4 oz Roasted Barley

1.5oz Hallertau for 60 min
1 oz Hallertau for 30 min
.5 oz Hallertau for 15 min
1 oz Cascade for 5 min

2 tsp of ground cinnamon at 5 min
1 tsp of ground ginder at 5 min
.5 tsp of allspice at 5 min
.5 tsp of nutmeg at 5 min
1 oz dried sweet orange peel at 10 min

1 Packet of Safale US 04 dry ale yeast.

Any thoughts? Thanks in advance for any ideas to improve this thing!

Here's a link to my recipe at hopville:

NordeastBrewer77 10-12-2012 05:53 AM

Looks great. The LME has carapils in it, and you have a pound of cara-type malts already, so no need. Other than that, YUM!

Bramstoker17 10-16-2012 07:39 PM

So I brewed this yesterday, but I had to make a couple hop changes based on what my homebrew store had. I used German hallertau, but dropped a half oz of the bitterness boil as the alpha acid on those was a bit higher than originally calculated. They were out of cascade, but had falconers flight. I used a half oz at five minutes in place of the oz of cascade. After the spice additions the whole thing smelled amazing! Im gonna let it sit in the primary for three weeks then bottle. Im hoping it should be good by Christmas!

Bramstoker17 10-17-2012 04:56 PM

Ok, so I just tried the pumpkin ale that I brewed in the bginning of September. It was pretty heavy on the spice, and I added 1tbsn of spice in that one. I was still good, but a little heavier on the spice then I'd prefer. I know some more time will mellow the spice, but I'm concerned that I may have overdone the spice in this Christmas Ale since I used a similar amount. Can anyone with experience using these spices tell me if the amounts I used will mellow enough by the time Christmas rolls around?

drainbamage 10-18-2012 09:55 PM

Those spice amounts seem ok. I made a beer similar to this a couple years ago with the following spice additions:

4 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ginger
4 sweet orange peels

I was somewhat pleased with the results, but I felt like the cinnamon came through a little too strong. The crazy thing was that the recipe I found online (not here) called for 3 TABLESPOONS of cinnamon! I can't imagine what that would have tasted like...probably like a bottle of Atomic Fireball candies.

I remember thinking at the time the recipe might have worked better if tweaked to be a pumpkin ale. If I were to do it again as a Christmas beer, I probably would have gone down to 2 tsp. cinnamon and increased the ginger to 1/2-1 tsp, so I think you're probably in the right ballpark. Plus, your recipe tends a little more towards darker malts than mine did, so it might hold up better to more spice.

Bramstoker17 10-19-2012 01:46 AM

Yea 3 tablespoons would be insane! I can't even imagine what that would do to the beer. Thanks for the info, I wish I would have gone with 1.5 teaspoons, but like you said, hopefully I'm in the ball park.

Bramstoker17 10-19-2012 07:35 PM

I know I'm probably being paranoid about this, and I should just RDWHAHB, but I'm still nervous that the spice here will be overpowering after looking at some other recipies. Would it be worth it to brew about two more gallons of this minus the spices and mix the two at bottling? This is my first Christmas ale, and one of the few times I've used any spices so I'm just not sure what to expect here.

LTownLiquorPig 10-19-2012 10:46 PM

I'm going to brew one up from a Cooper's dark ale kit and 1.3KG light LME. I'm using my Mom's Christmas ginger cookie recipe for the spice list.

1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
Pinch of Cayenne pepper
Run those in a boil with some of the LME in 3 L of water for 20 mins or so. Thinking I might just leave the spice bag in the bucket while it ferments. Any thoughts? I'm afraid of the cinnamon too, but like the idea of some bite from the ginger and pepper.

Bramstoker17 10-20-2012 12:18 AM

I'm sure someone with more experience with spiced brew will chime in with a better opinion on spice amounts, but that sounds tasty! I've seen some other gingerbread cookie recipes that have added brown sugar and/or molasses, just something to consider. We have similar amounts of spice in the brew, and my only concern would be having enough time for the spices to mellow by the holidays. I'd be interested to know how that turns out as I had thought of doing something similar.

Glynn 10-20-2012 12:48 AM

impo you should use whole spice and not ground. its very easy to over do it with ground spice and end up with way to much spice. with whole spices you can still fish them out during the boil if you think you have over done it. with ground spices once its in there its in there. i always do constant tasting of my boil as i go along and add ingredient so i can see how its progressing. i personally would rather have an under spiced beer and add more the next time i make it than an over spiced beer i cant drink

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