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X-Mas Ale 2020

Brewed: 11/07/2020   Kegged: 11/21/2020

Every year since I started home-brewing (way back in 2009), I've brewed an X-Mas Ale to have around the holidays.
Over the years, they have been very similar base beers. They range in color from a darker amber ale to a dark brown ale. They range in ABV from around 5.5% to over 8.3%.

Most have had non-traditional beer flavoring. A couple have simply been base beers.

I've added Cherries, Honey, Almond Extract, Vanilla Extract, and Ground Cloves. 

I've added Cinnamon, and Apple Pie Spice.

I've added Hazelnut Extract, Peppermint Extract, Blueberry Extract.

One beer was Peanut Butter flavored. One had white chocolate flavoring.

I even made a smoked X-Mas Ale.

2020, I asked my wife (aka the SheppyBrew Beer Model) what she would like the X-Mas Beer to be. She told me her favorite was the chocolate peppermint flavored X-Mas Ales.

Looking through my LBS website, I saw they had Chocolate flavoring. They also had "Peppermint Leaves". I decided to go with the "Happy Wife. Happy Life" philosophy, and go with the chocolate peppermint flavoring with these ingredients. 

I designed the beer to hit 7.2% abv. A little darker than 2019, but certainly not as dark as some of the X-Mas Ales over the years.

I brewed this later in the year than I probably should have, so it won't be ready by thanksgiving, but should be a great beer to enjoy over the winter holidays.

For more about SheppyBrew X-Mas Ales, check out X-Mas Ales on my Blog

For a list of all the X-Mas Ales on this website, see X-Mas Ales 2009 - 2019

X-Mas Ale 2020 --- Batch 1 (272)

Style Winter Seasonal Beer Batch Size 6.00 gal
Type All Grain Boil Size   7.09 gal
Brewhouse Efficiency   70.00   Boil Time   60 minutes

Recipe Characteristics

Recipe Gravity 1.069 SG Estimated FG 1.017 SG
Recipe Bitterness 33.5 IBUs (Rager) Alcohol by Volume 6.9 %
BU : GU   0.488        
Recipe Color 19.2 SRM
Measured OG:   1.067    Measured FG:   1.014 
ADF:   79    Measured ABV:  


Amt Name Type # %/IBU Volume
8.29 gal Denver, Colorado Water 1 - -
10.00 g Calcium Chloride (Mash) Water Agent 2 - -
6.00 g Salt (Mash) Water Agent 3 - -
3.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash) Water Agent 4 - -
13 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 5 79.4 % 1.02 gal
2 lbs Munich Malt - 30L (30.0 SRM) Grain 6 12.2 % 0.16 gal
8.0 oz Crystal, Dark (Simpsons) (80.0 SRM) Grain 7 3.1 % 0.04 gal
8.0 oz Crystal, Medium (Simpsons) (55.0 SRM) Grain 8 3.1 % 0.04 gal
4.0 oz Crystal, Extra Dark (Simpsons) (160.0 SRM) Grain 9 1.5 % 0.02 gal
2.0 oz Midnight Wheat Malt (550.0 SRM) Grain 10 0.8 % 0.01 gal
0.500 oz Magnum [11.20 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 11 20.6 IBUs -
0.500 oz Magnum [11.20 %] - Boil 35.0 min Hop 12 12.9 IBUs -
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 13 - -
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 10.0 mins) Other 14 - -
1.0 pkg American Ale II (Wyeast Labs #1272) [124.21 ml] Yeast 15 - -
4.00 oz Chocolate Flavoring (Primary 10.0 days) Flavor 16 - -
1.00 oz Peppermint Leaves (Secondary 3.0 days) Flavor 17 - -

Mash Profile

Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Saccharification Add 33.17 qt of water at 160.4 F 152.0 F 45 min
Heat Heat to 160.0 F over 10 min 160.0 F 15 min
Mash Out Heat to 170.0 F over 7 min 170.0 F 10 min

If steeping, remove grains, and prepare to boil wort

Recipe Notes
Make starter a couple days in advance of brew day.
Water salts bring Denver water profile (as defined by BeerSmith) to
Mash as instructed.
60 minute boil making additions as instructed in recipe.
Cool wort to as close to 60F as possible. Add to fermenter. Aerate wort and pitch yeast.
Add chocolate flavoring to primary.
Ferment at 60F for 24 hours or so. Try to keep fermentation between 60 and 65 for a couple days, then let the temperature go where it want to.
After the initial fermentation is done, "dry hop" peppermint leaves for a couple of days in primary fermentor.

Brewing Record

Brew Date:   Strike Temp:  
Mash Temps:  
Pre-boil OG   (1.061 SG)   Pre-boil Vol   (7.09 gal)
Actual Mash Efficiency   Pitch Temp    
Day 1: 
Day ... 
Day ... 

Click here to see previous recipes
Brewing Notes:
11/07/2020 esheppy
Made starter yesterday. Also added water in foundry and set timer to start heating around 5am. Learn to homebrew day today, so I need to wait for the BeerModel to get up.
11/07/2020 esheppy
Brew day went pretty well. OG at 1.067. Started around 8:30 and ended around 12:30. Not bad. Will add chocolate once fermentation starts.
11/08/2020 esheppy
Fermentation is going this morning. Adding 2 oz of chocolate flavoring.
11/09/2020 esheppy
Kraussen really high. Fermentation temperature at 74. Will probably want to put in blow-off tube soon.
11/11/2020 esheppy
Forgot to put in blow off tube, but it ended up not needing it. Still some bubbling, but kraussen almost gone. Temp strip says 68.
11/13/2020 esheppy
Kraussen is gone. Put about 1/3 of an ounce into a tea ball and popped it into the fermentor. Will see how this tastes when I keg (scheduled for a week and a half). Depending on taste test, I might add some to keg as well.
11/21/2020 esheppy
Kegged. 1.014 FG puts this beer at 7% ABV. Didn't get a whole lot of peppermint or chocolate. Added the rest of the chocolate flavoring and most of the rest of the peppermint leaves.
11/22/2020 esheppy
Beer in the Pancho Keg Cooler. Tried a pour. Doesn't need any more peppermint. Pretty cloudy right now.
11/24/2020 esheppy
Poured one for a picture. Clarity better. Carbonation is actually pretty good. I'm liking the peppermint a little better too. Nice beer.
12/04/2020 esheppy
Perfect combination of chocolate and peppermint. Thin mint.
12/16/2020 esheppy
Been awhile since I had any. Beer lines froze outside overnight and during cold days, so I moved to garage. Took a little sample. Peppermint to chocolate ratio perfect. Hoping to refrain from drinking until Christmas Eve.
12/25/2020 esheppy
Yummy on Christmas.
12/31/2020 esheppy
The keg blew on new years Eve. Yummy while it lasted.
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