12 Beers of Christmas 2018 Edition

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Yeroc

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I know. I lost one last year, too. The broken bottle was top and center. Thought it was weird that position broke. The bag kept the beer from compromising the box and saved the rest. However, we only received the nine bottles you see in the pics! Was there another box that met a similar, but worse, fate?
Two of the UPS guys that delivered these beer packages to me were spinning them in the hands as they entered my office. I was like, "What the f#$k are you doing?" in my head. Maybe next year I'll get some FRAGILE stickers for my boxes.
 

jerbrew

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Uh oh. Did put the wrong label on the two boxes? Crap I'll get with @biochemedic. He got way too much. might have to pay him to ship. I apologize for that. I feel pretty dumb. I'll get back to you.
 

anotherbeerplease

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I am by no means an expert but in the "instructions for packing" thread from 2012, they are not using nearly enough bubble wrap. Also for 3 beers you need a box at least 12x10x5 or so, because you need some space between the bottles and the box to absorb the shock.

 

BigCrazyAl

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To group 2: I show all of the Quad shipments as delivered. If you didn't receive yours by today, PM me.

My only shipment I'm waiting on is going to be here tomorrow according to the tracking which will complete my collection. Looking good group 2!
 

Yeroc

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To group 2: I show all of the Quad shipments as delivered. If you didn't receive yours by today, PM me.

My only shipment I'm waiting on is going to be here tomorrow according to the tracking which will complete my collection. Looking good group 2!
@BigCrazyAl, I received your quad. Thanks!
Also received the gingerbread beer from @fourfarthing!
 
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@dryboroughbrewing ... Your parcel arrived safe and sound. Looking forward to the cranberry lambic. I would post a picture, but my phone went let me!
Its actually cranberry and crabapple, I didn't love just the crabs so I threw in 10 pounds of cranberries when I chucked in the cab sauv soaked oak. (I made 10 gallons)
 

HopHeavy

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Its actually cranberry and crabapple, I didn't love just the crabs so I threw in 10 pounds of cranberries when I chucked in the cab sauv soaked oak. (I made 10 gallons)
Gotcha... Cranberries seem like a frequent sub on that one, at least on the boards here. I didn't have it last year, so I really have no frame of reference. But I am betting we will enjoy it!
 

mirthfuldragon

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Gotcha... Cranberries seem like a frequent sub on that one, at least on the boards here. I didn't have it last year, so I really have no frame of reference. But I am betting we will enjoy it!
Crabapples are hard to find. The best way is simply to ask around, because there is probably at least one tree on your block and your neighbor will probably let you take whatever you want, since they are pretty much indedible in any real sense. Cranberries you can buy year-round at the grocery store.

I feel like the crabapples did not really add anything. I may see about sending mine to a competition, but I would enter it as straight lambic and not as a fruited sour, since the crabapples disappear in that they have a clean, sour taste to them. Putting it against a framboise or pesche would be a non-starter; there's just not a lot of fruit taste to the crabapples.
 
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Yeroc

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Crabapples are hard to find. The best way is simply to ask around, because there is probably at least one tree on your block and your neighbor will probably let you take whatever you want, since they are pretty much indedible in any real sense. Cranberries you can by year-round at the grocery store.

I feel like the crabapples did not really add anything. I may see about sending mine to a competition, but I would enter it as straight lambic and not as a fruited sour, since the crabapples disappear in that they have a clean, sour taste to them. Putting it against a framboise or pesche would be a non-starter; there's just not a lot of fruit taste to the crabapples.
@mirthfuldragon, I‘m planning to send a post at some point with thoughts on all the beers I’ve tasted so far but here are my thoughts on yours…

Crabapple Lambic
AROMA: First a pleasant lactic sour aroma followed by what I think is a musty/dusty Brett funk (I mean that in the best way).
TASTE: Light sourness at the forefront. I don’t know the taste of crabapples, but I get tart green apple here. Nicely carbonated beer. A very enjoyable, lingering pleasant aftertaste. Well done!
 

mirthfuldragon

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I don’t know the taste of crabapples, but I get tart green apple here.
Crabapples are like if a mealy Red Delicious had the tartness of a Granny Smith; they are very pithy. It is a relatively sharp sourness, not like a blueberry or raspberry at all. The nose came through in a big way, and I feel like it did not develop until I added the crabapples. Thank you for the review!
 

Blackdirt_cowboy

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Got the group 2 abbey weizen today. One dead soldier in the box. The bottle didn’t break, just the cap leaked. That’s the only one I lost out of this whole deal, a homebrew trade, and a local only trade. Not too bad at all.
 

btbnl

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Last of my Group 2s arrived today, and I have them all lined up just like BigCrazyAl - thanks all.

Incidentally, the background image behind the Spacey Hummingbird is an as-yet unpublished picture of the Big Bang from the Planck satellite.
 

fourfarthing

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Last of my Group 2s arrived today, and I have them all lined up just like BigCrazyAl - thanks all.

Incidentally, the background image behind the Spacey Hummingbird is an as-yet unpublished picture of the Big Bang from the Planck satellite.
Ok. That is f cking cool.
 

Yeroc

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Since I'm leaving town for a few days, I wanted to get in some "12 beer" tasting since I can't take it with me. Below are some thoughts on the first bottles opened.

Group 2
@btbnl
Spiced Cherry Dubbel
Aroma: Malty with caramel notes.
Taste: Nice dubble. There’s this taste I often get in dubbels that I don’t really find in other beers; I identify it as a pleasant tobacco type flavor. I get that here along with the malt and dried dark fruit. Sorry, I’m not sure I perceive the cherries and spice. I take that back -- I get some spice in the lingering aftertaste.

@Blackdirt_cowboy
Spiced dunkel weizenbock
Aroma: Holiday spices and dark dry fruit.
Taste: Ginger snap cookie! Malty, and again, the holiday spice. I feel like I also get a bit of an herbal cola thing. Anyone else? Wonder if that’s an effect from the combination of malt and spice - interesting.
This just gets better and better as it warms toward room temp.

@fourfarthing
Gingerbread
I forgot I was supposed to let this carb when I got it and accidentally opened one early.
Aroma : Ginger, obviously.
Taste: Easy drinking brown ale with light ginger flavor. Nice and I get why the recipe called it liquid cake.

@Auger
Fruitcake ale
Aroma: roasty, graham cracker, chocolate, earthy... dark fruit
Taste: First sip was spice and clove forward. Then that leads to what I can only describe as a coca-cola, sasparilla perception. I really get a herbal cola vibe. Raisin and dark fruit. There’s a good amount of residual sweetness but well balanced by the hop bitterness.

@November
Christmas Gruit
Aroma: Fruity, lightly herbal gin quality. I don’t know if this makes sense but the nose has a similar quality to the aroma of some sours I’ve had (just in the aroma). I also get some menthol as it warms.
Taste: sweet on the front. honey and spices meld together well and even more so as it warms up. Nice tannins. I have no experience at all with gruits so didn't know what to expect. Fun to drink. A little too sweet for my taste buds. I don’t know what yeast was used, but I wonder how it would be with some brett or bugs to dry it out a bit more.

@Zimm9
Abbey Weizen - Shipped but I’ll have to try when I’m back in town after Xmas.

@BigCrazyAl
Caramel Quadrupel
Aroma: Rich caramel/toffee. Earthy. I got some slight spice on the nose which might be yeast derived since I don’t think there is spice in the recipe.
Taste: Wow, big and boozy! Nice bitter finish balances out the malt. I was expecting this to lean toward malty sweetness but happily, no. I need to have the next bottle with a hearty meal.

@mirthfuldragon
Crabapple Lambic
Aroma: First a pleasant lactic sour aroma followed by what I think is a musty/dusty Brett funk (I mean that in the best way).
Taste: Light sourness at the forefront. I don’t know the taste of crabapples, but I get tart green apple here. Nicely carbonated beer. A very enjoyable with a lingering pleasant aftertaste. I really like sour beers and this is one of my favorite 12 Christmas beers.

@anotherbeerplease
Spiced Bourbon Stout
Aroma:
Woo! Complex. Roast at first, then chocolate, coffee, and bourbon. Vanilla and lastly… coconut? Yeah, I think I get coconut. S’more and graham cracker, too. Maybe I’m imagining the juniper in the nose but I think I get some.
Taste: Chocolate and coffee again. Bourbon with a lighter roast quality than expected. Well balanced! Creamy mouth feel. Gentle lingering bitterness. Warming alcohol. I’m not that much of a stout fan because often they are too big or unbalanced for me, but this one really works for me. Nicely done!

Group 1
@TBC
Saffron Tripel
Aroma: It’s all about the saffron. Not much room for anything else with this strong spice. I think it’s more restrained than my triple.
Taste: Still sort of all about the saffron but a pretty nice balance between the soft malt and the saffron. Good job!
I’ll have to try saffron in food sometime. Actually, I bet a saffron tripel would be a nice match with the right meal. I wonder what food would be a good pairing.

Looking forward to seeing other brewers' thoughts on these beers.
Thank you all for sharing your beers!
 
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I got my last one tonight. I have them all resting comfortably in the keezer. I'm heading out of town for Christmas, but I'm looking forward to starting on them when I get back!
 

btbnl

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@btbnl
Spiced Cherry Dubbel
Aroma: Malty with caramel notes.
Taste: Nice dubble. There’s this taste I often get in dubbels that I don’t really find in other beers; I identify it as a pleasant tobacco type flavor. I get that here along with the malt and dried dark fruit. Sorry, I’m not sure I perceive the cherries and spice. I take that back -- I get some spice in the lingering aftertaste.
Agreed - if I'd had the time I would have re-brewed with twice the cherries.
 

btbnl

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Can you send me your recipe? I am brewing for 19 and haven’t made a dubbel before.
It was my first dubbel too. For 5.5G in the fermentor:
  • 6lb Belgian Pale
  • 3lb Belgian Munich
  • 1lb Special B
  • 8oz Belgian Aromatic
  • 8oz Flaked Wheat
Mash at 148F

Boil for 60 minutes
  • 1.5oz East Kent Goldings at 60 minutes
  • 2lb Turbinado, 1tsp Ceylon Cinnamon, Whirlfloc at 10 minutes
  • 1 drop Almond Extract at flameout
Ferment at 66F
  • White Labs Trappist Ale (WLP500)
Rack onto cherries in secondary
  • 1 can (49oz) Vitners Harvest sweet cherry puree
  • 1 can (49oz) Vitners Harvest sour cherry puree
Cold crash

OG 1.074, FG 1.012

In hindsight I'd bump up the cherries and cinnamon.
 

biochemedic

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Uh oh. Did put the wrong label on the two boxes? Crap I'll get with @biochemedic. He got way too much. might have to pay him to ship. I apologize for that. I feel pretty dumb. I'll get back to you.
I just got home from the road yesterday, and I unpacked @jerbrew's box...it did indeed contain the shipment that was supposed to go to @HopHeavy. I have repacked the extra 9 beers and I am making every attempt to forward them to @HopHeavy & his bro today...
 

anotherbeerplease

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@anotherbeerplease, would you mind sharing your stout recipe?
Sure thing! It's a kitchen sink beer but it's a fun process if you are into that sort of thing.

My notes aren't perfect... but this will get you damn close:

5oz carapils
8oz black malt
8oz crystal 40L
8oz Caramunich
11oz crystal 120L
12oz chocolate
12oz roasted barley
1lb Flaked oats
1lb dark candi sugar (added with 10min left in boil)
2lb 11oz Munich 20L
4lbs Vienna
12lbs 11oz 2 row

Mash at 148 for 90min.
Boil for 60min, 3oz bittering charge of Nugget at 60min for 90IBUs.
post boil OG 1.97

I had already made a 1gal starter in the carboy with WLP 500 yeast. I decanted the starter and poured the cooled wort on top of it. Make sure you use a blowoff tube during fermentation. I lost nearly a gallon. Fermented right around 75F degrees or so.

Now doing just the above makes a damn good stout, but this what I did for Krampus:
After fermentation (measured FG at this point was 1.021) I racked into my 5gal Balcones barrel. This was I believe the 4th time I had used the barrel.

I "sanitized" the barrel by pouring boiling water into it and let it sit for an hour. Then I rinsed with whiskey and bourbon. In this case I rinsed with some aged Segrams (sorry) which had itself been sitting on flavored oak chips for about 3-4yrs and was tasting surprisingly good. I also used some Buffalo Trace bourbon for the rinse.

I racked into the barrel and let it sit for 4 months. Ambient temps ranged from 60-85+.

Then I racked to a keg in July and put it in my kegerator for 3 months of cold conditioning at 39F until October. Towards the end of this I added the spices which were not exactly what Mosher recommended but fairly close. Mosher recommends:
0.5 tsp vanilla extract; 0.25 tsp allspice; 0.5 tsp cinnamon;
0.25 oz crushed coriander; 1 whole star anise (or 0.25 tsp ground); 0.5 oz crushed juniper; pinch of black
pepper. Gravity: 1.050 (12*P). Color: India ink.
I used more vanilla (3-4 real vanilla beans), I used real anise (2 stars I believe, but this was too much and next time I would only use 1), I skipped the juniper because I didn't have any on hand, instead I used a bit of pumpkin spice 0.5tsb or so, the rest more or less per the recipe, and I sanitized it all on Eagle Rare whisky. Let that mixture sit for 2 weeks and dumped it into the keg. Cold stored again for a while and finally bottled in late Oct. Stored at 75F for 1.5 more months then I shipped it.
 

jerbrew

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That’s interesting was the cap taped. I’ll make it up to you the next time I ship to you, maybe next FOTD round.
Yes, it was taped. Good thing you packaged them well. Couldn’t even smell beer until I got in there.
 
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