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-   -   Day after Christmas Eve old ale (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f76/day-after-christmas-eve-old-ale-128531/)

mithion 07-18-2009 12:17 AM

Day after Christmas Eve old ale
Grain Bill

Type Color Potential Amount

Pale Ale malt 3L 1.038 4.5lbs
Munich Malt 6L 1.037 4.5lbs
Amber Malt 20L 1.037 3.0lbs
Special B 147L 1.030 1.0lbs
Carafa I 320L 1.032 0.25lbs
Light DME 4L 1.043 5lbs

I did a standard infusion mash at 154deg for 1 hour. I had 4 gallons of strike water and 4 gallons of sparge for a total volume of about 7 gallons going into the brewpot after the grain soaked up a gallon.


Type Amount Time Alpha

Liberty pellet 1oz 60min 4.5%
Fuggle whole 1oz 60min 4.75%
Liberty pellet 0.5oz 30min 4.5%
Fuggle whole 0.5oz 30min 4.75
Libert pellet 0.5oz 15min 4.5%
Fuggle whole 0.5oz 15min 4.75

Additional ingredients to add at flame out: 1g nutmeg, 1g allspice, 8g ground cinnamon, 4g powdered ginger, 4g of vanilla extract.


Pitch yeast at 75F and ferment for 3 weeks. Afterward, obtain 3lbs of dried fruit that you like. I chose 1lb of plums, 1lb of apricots, 1lb of raisins. Put fruit in a bowl and add enough boiling water to cover. Let rehydrate for 1 to 2 hours. Then chill to 70-75 degrees. Transfer fruit with sweet liquid into secondary vessel. Rack beer from primary on top of fruit. Let age for 2 months. Prime with 1/2 cup priming sugar and then bottle. Let carbonate for another 2 months. Enjoy.


Due to the fact that it may be difficult to clean a glass carboy after having the beer sit on fruit for a couple of months, I recommend this following change to the beer. I recommend three weeks in the primary fermentation, but with a proper yeast starter and fermentation conditions, the bulk of the fermentation will be done in the first week. At this point, you can open your fermentor (I used a plastic bucket) and dump in the fruit. Subsequently, the fermentation should pick up and continue for a few more days. This is a good way to get more out of the yeast in case you get a stuck fermentation. The simple sugars from fruit are easily processed by the yeast and they may finish off any maltose left from the grains and extract. This way, after two more weeks, you can rack off the fruit into a carboy and let age for a good 2 months. Afterwards, you shouldn't have more than just regular sediment in your secondary as opposed to fruit which may be difficult to clean.

TheInfinitySaga 08-03-2009 05:35 PM

Have you brewed this up before? How did it turn out? I've been thinking about doing my first "Holiday Ale" this year and this looks like a nice recipie to try.

mithion 08-03-2009 06:10 PM

It's actually in the secondary fermentor right now. I will bottle it in September and crack one open on Christmas. So unfortunately, I don't have any notes on the flavors. But it's based off of a recipe from a book which I've tried several recipes from, and they all turned out really good. The only major difference between my recipe and the one from the book is that I added DME to kick the alcohol in the 9-10% range. My only piece of advice I can give you if you want to try this recipe is to start now. This beer takes a long time to mature. It's an old ale so the extra aging is crucial to give it some sherry like oxydation notes. The other thing is get a steam cleaner. Once you start fermenting this beer, it will blow up in your face. Mine exploded after 24 hours. When I woke the next morning, there was beer everywhere. I tried cleaning up the airlock and sealing it back up, but as soon as I did that, the airlock would immediately clog up from them foam, and the top would blow off. So I had to remove the airlock entirely and let it burp foam through the hole for a good 12 hours before it was calm enough to put it back on. Beyond that, the beer smelled really really good when I transferred to secondary so I'm sure it's gonna be a winner.

Hope this helps...


TheInfinitySaga 08-03-2009 06:51 PM

Thanks for the info. I'll just hook up a blow-off valve. I also find that when I brew really big beers with a chance of blow back that it helps to keep the fermentor in a large plastic tub like a rubbermaid container or a cement bucket. Haven't had to pull the steam cleaner out yet!

I've got my rig full at the moment with a nice Scotch Ale and a hefty Weizenbock. Once the hit the kegs I think I might try to sneak this in before the holidays. Thanks for the intriguing post.

VTBrewer 08-23-2009 06:59 PM

I'll be brewing this up next weekend. Looks like it will only be in bottle for 4 weeks at xmas, unless I cut down on the 2 months on the fruit. Thanks for the recipe, should be fun to compare notes.

edit** When did you add the DME?

mithion 08-24-2009 03:49 PM

In answer to you're question, I added the DME at the beginning of the boil. I'm about a couple of weeks from bottling. It's just torturing me having to wait several more months before I can try it. But I'm sure it's going to turn out good. Also, I will probably get a packet of dry yeast to add to the secondary fermentor a day or two before I bottle. Considering the high level of alchohol of this beer and the long aging period, I'm affraid the beer wouldn't have enough yeast left to carbonate otherwise. I'll talk to my LHBS and see if he think's it's necessary.

mithion 09-08-2009 12:06 AM

Bottled this baby yesterday. It was the most scary bottling session I've ever gone through. I had the hardest time starting a siphon so I lost quite a bit of beer in the process. I realized my racking cane had a bunch a mini cracks along the entire length of it so I had to trash it. Then my tubing was too short to reach the bottom of my bottling vessel so the beer splashed like crazy in the transfer. But I finally got it bottled and boy is it gonna be worth in the end. This thing smelled so fruity with tons of phenolic character. It's gonna be a rich and complex beer by December worthy of a Christmas Ale.

mithion 09-22-2009 12:31 AM

So TheInfinitySaga and VTBrewer, how were your experiences with the fermentation? Was violent or calm?

VTBrewer 09-22-2009 01:59 PM

stupid crazy violent

mithion 09-22-2009 03:28 PM

I'm thinking there has to be a better way to do this then have it blow every time. Next time, I will try something different. I will mash the grains and start fermenting that on its own. After the fermentation start showing signs that its slowing down, I will make DME addition directly in the fermentor 1lbs at a time every 2 days. In order to help sanitation, I will also boil the DME in a couple cups of water to make sure I'm not going to infect the rest of the beer. But anyhow, I'm sorry your experience with fermention wasn't pleasant.

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