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Winter Seasonal Beer Great Lakes Christmas Ale Clone

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Shinglejohn

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Location
Cleveland
Recipe Type
All Grain
Yeast
Wyeast 1028
Yeast Starter
Basic
Batch Size (Gallons)
5
Original Gravity
1.075
Final Gravity
1.018
Boiling Time (Minutes)
60
IBU
40
Color
11.6
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp)
14
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp)
14
Tasting Notes
Very close!
**Update - Great Lakes changed the IBU's for this beer from 40 to 30**



10.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US 73.64 %
1.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L 7.36 % (they use 45L, but i could only find 40L)
1.00 lb Wheat Malt 7.36 %
0.25 lb Special Roast 1.84 %
0.08 lb Roasted Barley 0.59 %

Cascade (60 min) 27 IBU
Hallertauer (10 min) 3 IBU


2 Cinnamon Stick (boil 60.0 min) Misc
1. oz Ginger Root (boil 60.0 min) Misc
1.25 lb Honey (Flame out) Sugar 9.20 %
1 Pkgs London Ale (Wyeast Labs #1028) Yeast-Ale



Beer Profile

Original Gravity: 1.075
Final Gravity: 1.018
Alcohol by Vol: 7.53 %
30.0 IBU
11.6 SRM C


Mash Profile

60 min 154.0 F

All great lakes beers are carbed at 2.5Volumes.

A letter from a brewer at the GL

"Chris,



I’m sorry, I was going through some old emails and it looks like I neglected to answer this one. The recipe looks perfect. Did you brew it yet? I was just wondering how it turned out. Sorry again for not getting back to you. Let me know if I can help you with any other questions.



Cheers!



Luke Purcell

Great Lakes Brewing Company

Brewer/Field Quality Specialist"

Thanks to MMJfan for this killer nugget below!

"I mentioned this before, but I emailed Great Lakes about this recipe and their response was that they put the cinnamon and ginger in for the entire 60 minute boil and then remove them. I peel and cube my ginger and put it along with the cinnamon sticks in a hop sack and just throw it in my kettle for the entire boil fwiw..."
 
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I was at the brewery a year or so ago and the head brewer and I talked about this beer specifically. I don't remember him mentioning any ginger in it. I do remember something to the tune of 600 lbs of cinnamon and 400 lbs of honey for an 80 bbl batch.
 
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Shinglejohn

Shinglejohn

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I use their trub in my compost pile, believe me there is plenty of ginger in there!
 

MichaelsBrewing

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The original Christmas Ale creator is now at thirsty dog in Akron.... This is why the GL Christmas Ale is always different... they cannot figure it out...

-Anyhoo-

I am glad to see you post this! Thanks for all the hard work; this may be my first all grain.

Cheers
 
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Shinglejohn

Shinglejohn

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I would disagree somewhat. The original Christmas Ale, as brewed now by Thirsty dog is a completely different beer from the one Great lakes does.

The great lakes one changes year to year as many seasonals do.

I personally think they are both fantastic, though now that the GL one is so popular, all the beer nerds shun it. The thirsty dog beer is much lower in IBU's, higher in alcohol, and way spicier! Its a more outrageous beer but GL's is much more balanced.

mmmmm.... I think ill go to my beer vault and do a side by side comparison....
 

mainemike68

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Thanks for the hard work. I am going to try this out soon. I am originally from Ohio and all my buddies rave about this beer but I can not get it where I live. This looks like a winner.

Mike B
 

Julohan

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I never liked christmas ale before the new brewer. I think the current christmas ale is much better. Still not a big fan of it, unlike most people.

Side Note: Anyone think Dortmunder is terrible now? Every time I get it by the bottle it tastes awful.
 

mainemike68

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I never liked christmas ale before the new brewer. I think the current christmas ale is much better. Still not a big fan of it, unlike most people.

Side Note: Anyone think Dortmunder is terrible now? Every time I get it by the bottle it tastes awful.
I have never had the Christmas Ale so I am not sure. I had the Dortmunder last summer in the bottle and it was OK, not great. I had it on tap and it was good.
 

SmallBrewzz

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Christmas Ale is one if my favorites. Maybe I'm partial to it because I grew up there but haven't lived there 12 years. I'm looking for a good clone to get started!
 

BrewMoreBeers

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how are you doing the spices... it looks like they are going in the secondary only. is that correct?
 

mainemike68

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how are you doing the spices... it looks like they are going in the secondary only. is that correct?
The only time I made a version of this beer, (not this version) I added the spices with 5 minutes left in the boil. That is, 2.5 TSP of fresh ground ginger, 1.5 TSP of ground cinnamon, and about 20 oz of Orange blossom honey.
 

buckeye2011

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How long are you aging this beer? I'm thinking it might need to age for a month or two and I'd like to make a small test batch this summer to dial in the recipe before brewing 15 gallons in preparation for winter. Just need to figure out when I need to get started.
 

Newbeerguy

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I never liked christmas ale before the new brewer. I think the current christmas ale is much better. Still not a big fan of it, unlike most people.

Side Note: Anyone think Dortmunder is terrible now? Every time I get it by the bottle it tastes awful.
Weird you said that about Dortmunder. I agree every bottle I seem to get just tastes plain bad. Everything else has been good, but the Dortmunder is hard to choke down.
 
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Shinglejohn

Shinglejohn

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BUckeye, i dont really age it it. Its usually about 6 weeks from brew day to serve.
 

aceinthehole

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Hey Guys

I am very new to homebrewing, I only have 2 batches under my belt, but was hoping that someone could help me convert a Great Lakes Christmas Ale recipe to an 5 gallon extract version. I understand that it probably wont be an exact match, but something to get me close would be awesome. I dont even know where to start.
 

Q2XL

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Here is my converted version. It does vary a little from the original to account for my system.


Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Batch Size: 5.50 gal
Boil Size: 6.74 gal
Estimated OG: 1.075 SG
Estimated Color: 13.8 SRM
Estimated IBU: 29.4 IBU
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amount Item Type % or IBU
9 lbs 3 oz Pale Liquid Extract (8.0 SRM) Extract
14 oz Wheat Liquid Extract (8.0 SRM) Extract
11 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain
3 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain
1 oz Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain
1.50 oz Hallertau-Bulk 2011 New [4.30 %] (60 min)Hops 19.5 IBU
1.20 oz Cascade-Bulk 2011 New [5.00 %] (10 min) Hops 6.6 IBU
0.55 oz Cascade-Bulk 2011 New [5.00 %] (7 min) Hops 2.2 IBU
0.35 oz Cascade-Bulk 2011 New [5.00 %] (5 min) Hops 1.1 IBU
1.25 oz Ginger Root (Secondary 14.0 days) Misc
3.00 items Cinnamon Stick (Secondary 14.0 days) Misc
1 lbs 7.1 oz Honey(1.0 SRM) Sugar
2 Pkgs SafAle English Ale (DCL Yeast #S-04) Yeast-Ale
 

aceinthehole

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Here is my converted version. It does vary a little from the original to account for my system.


Style: Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer
TYPE: Extract
Taste: (35.0)

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Batch Size: 5.50 gal
Boil Size: 6.74 gal
Estimated OG: 1.075 SG
Estimated Color: 13.8 SRM
Estimated IBU: 29.4 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: - %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amount Item Type % or IBU
9 lbs 2.9 oz Pale Liquid Extract (8.0 SRM) Extract 74.07 %
13.7 oz Wheat Liquid Extract (8.0 SRM) Extract 6.89 %
10.8 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain 5.44 %
2.7 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 1.38 %
1.2 oz Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 0.59 %
1.50 oz Hallertau-Bulk 2011 New [4.30 %] (60 min)Hops 19.5 IBU
1.20 oz Cascade-Bulk 2011 New [5.00 %] (10 min) Hops 6.6 IBU
0.55 oz Cascade-Bulk 2011 New [5.00 %] (7 min) Hops 2.2 IBU
0.35 oz Cascade-Bulk 2011 New [5.00 %] (5 min) Hops 1.1 IBU
1.25 oz Ginger Root (Secondary 14.0 days) Misc
3.00 items Cinnamon Stick (Secondary 14.0 days) Misc
1 lbs 7.1 oz [email protected] Flameout (1.0 SRM) Sugar 11.62 %
2 Pkgs SafAle English Ale (DCL Yeast #S-04) Yeast-Ale
Wow, thanks!

For a noob this looks a little intimidating, I will have to get a good kitchen scale, and figure out how I will be measuring everything out.

Thanks Q2XL
 

Q2XL

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Wow, thanks!

For a noob this looks a little intimidating, I will have to get a good kitchen scale, and figure out how I will be measuring everything out.

Thanks Q2XL

Here it is a bit more simplified......

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Batch Size: 5.50 gal
Boil Size: 6.74 gal
Estimated OG: 1.075 SG
Estimated Color: 13.8 SRM
Estimated IBU: 29.4 IBU
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amount Item Type % or IBU

9 lbs 3 oz Pale Liquid Extract (8.0 SRM) Extract

14 oz Wheat Liquid Extract (8.0 SRM) Extract

11 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain

3 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain

1 oz Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain

1.50 oz Hallertau[4.30 %] (60 min)Hops 19.5 IBU

1.20 oz Cascade [5.00 %] (10 min) Hops 6.6 IBU

0.55 oz Cascade[5.00 %] (7 min) Hops 2.2 IBU

0.35 oz Cascade [5.00 %] (5 min) Hops 1.1 IBU


1.25 oz Ginger Root (Secondary 14.0 days)


3.00 items Cinnamon Stick (Secondary 14.0 days)


1 lbs 7.1 oz Honey(1.0 SRM)


2 Pkgs SafAle English Ale (DCL Yeast #S-04) Yeast-Ale
 

slykwilli

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Hey Shinglejohn, just a quick question: are you adding 3 sticks of cinnamon to the secondary? You're not making a "cinnamon tea" and adding that to the secondary ... correct? I'm going to be brewing this weekend and just wanted to make sure that I have everything lined up. Thanks for posting this btw :mug:
 

BarleyOH

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Newbeerguy said:
Weird you said that about Dortmunder. I agree every bottle I seem to get just tastes plain bad. Everything else has been good, but the Dortmunder is hard to choke down.
Serving temperature is extremely important with Great Lakes Dortmunder - 48 degrees is recommended. They actually used this beer on their tour to demonstrate how serving a beer too cold can destroy the flavor.
 

scottatdrake

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Looks good. Planning on trying this out on Saturday.

Seems like there is conflicting information about where/when you add the cinnamon and ginger. Do you add at the last 5 min of the boil? Transfer to primary? Or just add to secondary?
 

Hop_machine

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Just made this last weekend...the London ale yeast blew off my stopper three times. Crazy fermentation. I'm gonna just add the dry stuff to the secondary.
 

slykwilli

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I ended up throwing the ginger in the boil and making a "tea" with the cinnamon sticks that I added to the secondary. Not sure how it will turn out, but I'm sure it will be ok.
 

FBSmith2000

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I don't have all-grain equipment so I used 2 lbs of the 2-Row and 8 lbs of extra light LME from the Brew Kettle. Kept all the same specialty grains, except used torrified wheat, and added an extra cinnamon stick (which I also transferred to the primary). I actually forgot to add the honey at flameout so I pasteurized while the wort cooled and added it to the primary with an OG of 1.083. I just bottled it at 1.016 and it tasted fantastic. This was by far the closest clone I remember brewing. Can't wait to compare it when Great Lakes releases the Christmas Ale.
 

slothorentropy

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Looking to make a Christmas Ale for gifts to the family this year, and this looks great. Been doing AG for about a year, but never did a spiced ale before. Any tips? Do the ginger and cinnamon go right into secondary for the whole 14 days? Are they put in whole, or do they need prepared?

Also, any thoughts on doing this with Danstar Nottingham? Seems like you'd want a clean, unobtrusive yeast.
 

FBSmith2000

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I never added the ginger or cinnamon to the secondary. They went in for the last few minutes of the boil then were transferred to the primary. I left the spices behind when I transferred it to the secondary.
 

dannerdave

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How do you keep the cinnamon sticks and ginger seperate from the hops?

I have always used a bag to strain out the hops once it cools and transfer from the boil to the fermenter. With my process, the spices would get caught in the bag.
 

Blackhawkbrew

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So you just keep the cinnamon and ginger in there for both primary and secondary fermentation, correct?

dannerdave, I use hop bags for my hop additions. You can pull the bags out when the wort is cooled and just transfer the spices to the primary.
 

Q2XL

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I did what the recipe states...added the spices to the secondary. I added the spices last Thursday(13th), and will leave them on there for 10-14 days. I never secondary unless for dry-hopping or adding spices.
 

Blackhawkbrew

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Q2XL the OP recipe states that the spices are in secondary and 5 min. I'm taking that to mean that they are put in the boil at 5 min left and remain in the wort through secondary. I'm curious to hear how yours turns out. Will the spices lose character bing in the brew that long?
 

two_hearted

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Q2XL the OP recipe states that the spices are in secondary and 5 min. I'm taking that to mean that they are put in the boil at 5 min left and remain in the wort through secondary. I'm curious to hear how yours turns out. Will the spices lose character bing in the brew that long?
I put my spices in at flameout, then add more in "secondary." Taste it, see how the spices are mingling. You might prefer more or less. The only way to know is to taste it.

As for the honey. I add at flameout. You can also add after primary ferm is complete.

Originally Posted by John Palmer
"Honey contains wild yeasts and bacteria, but it's low water content keeps these microorganisms dormant. Honey also contains amylase enzymes, which can break down larger sugars and starches into fermentable sugars like maltose and sucrose. For these reasons, honey should be pasteurized before adding it to the fermenter. The National Honey Board recommends that honey be pasteurized for 30 minutes at 176 F, then cooled and diluted to wort gravity. To retain the most honey flavor and ensure best fermentation performance, the honey should be added to the fermenter after primary fermentation."
 

Blackhawkbrew

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Mash tun is temperature conditioning and I'm ready to try this out. BrewSmith is calling for a mash temp of 148* for 75 mins. I'll try for between 148 and 152.
 

Blackhawkbrew

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Good brewday! All my temps and measurements came out perfect according to Brewsmith. A question I had though is that why is the OG from Brewsmith so much lower than the OP's? The OG from Brewsmith is 1.063 but the OP's gravity is 1.075! That's a big difference, not that I'm complaining. Sample smells and tastes great though.
 
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