X-Mas Ale

Of course I knew I wanted a special holiday ale.  It would be a high-alcohol, flavorful beer to help keep me warm on cold winter nights.   I came across Ol' St. Nick's Midnight Ale on the Mr. Beer website, and decided to use it as a base for my own recipe.

This highly malty flavor with so many spices should blend together nicely after about 2 months conditioning.  My original thought was that I needed to mix it up towards the beginning of August for it to be ready by the holiday season, but after a couple of QA tastes, I realize that mixing this up in October would have been fine.  Next time, I will know that I do not have to make it so early.  But, wow is this a good holiday ale.  It is going to be a Happy Holiday season for me!

X-Mas Ale

Recipe   X-Mas Ale   Style   American Brown Ale
Brewer   Sheppy Brew   Batch   2.13 gal
Extract

Recipe Characteristics

Recipe Gravity   1.059 OG   Estimated FG   1.015 FG
Recipe Bitterness   32 IBU   Alcohol by Volume   5.7%
Recipe Color   24 SRM   Alcohol by Weight   4.5%

Ingredients

Quantity   Grain   Type   Use
0.94 lb   Can of Cherries   Adjunct   Other
0.25 lb   Honey   Sugar   Other
0.25 lb   Crystal 40L   Grain   Steeped
0.4375   Dark DME   Extract   Extract
1.21 lb   MrB. Creamy Brown UME   Extract   Extract
1.21 lb   MrB. Englishman's Nut-Brown Ale   Extract   Extract
Quantity   Hop   Type   Time
0.50 oz   Perle   Pellet   15 minutes
1.00 oz   MrB. Englishman's Nut-Brown Ale   Pellet   5 minutes
Quantity   Misc   Notes
1.00 unit   1/2 Teaspoon Pure Almond Extract   Flavor    
1.00 unit   1/2 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract   Flavor    
1.00 unit   1/8 Teaspoon Cinnamon   Spice    
1.00 unit   1/8 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Cloves   Spice    

Recipe Notes

3 days before brewing, prepare starter with harvested yeast.

Steep grain in 150 - 168 degree water for 30 minutes

Boil DME with Hops in wort for 15 minutes

Puree Fruit and Boil it with the Honey, Almond and Vanilla Extracts, and Spices in wort for last 5 minutes.

Ferment for 3 - 4 weeks

Batch Prime with 1.75 oz table sugar.

Condition for 2 Months.

Date Note
08/06/2009 Thur Made yeast starter with 1/2 cup light DME and 2 cups water.  Forgot the yeast nutrient.  Boiled over.  Yeast does seem to be working, though.
08/10/2009 Mon Probably should have made Sunday, but had guests that interfered with that plan.  Mixed everything up.  Added spices to the cherries in the blender.  Used yeast nutrient and Irish Moss.  Fermenting in Rutt.
08/26/2009 Wed Racked from Rutt into Tuke to get the beer off the gunky trub which might reduce the tart WY1272 taste I've gotten with the Red and Octoberfest.  Hopefully it will also reduce the cherry "floaties" in the final beer.  Tastes good.  Can barely taste the Cherries, and everything blends into a pretty festive tasting malty brew.  Should be very good when I taste in December.
08/30/2009 Sun I had a leak.  Tasted the beer and I decided I would just go ahead and bottle.  Even with the leak, I still got 3 liters and 15 12oz bottles, so I guess the leak was not too bad.  Used the "bottling bucket" again.  Can detect the cloves and cinnamon more as an aroma than a taste.
10/09/2009 Fri Curiosity is getting me once again.  Placed a bottle in the beer fridge so that I can taste it soon.  I have to make sure things are going ok.  I just have to find out.
10/20/2009 Tues Well, I held out 11 days before trying the one in the fridge.  I am pleased with this interesting blend of flavor.  The cherries and spices are real subtle.  Seems to be really well balanced between malty sweetness and hop bitterness.  It will be wonderful to be able to drink this around the holidays.  Even the carbonation seems about perfect.  Need to be really careful pouring to not get any of the bottom of the bottle in the glass.  This was the LB, so maybe the rest do not have as much, but there is quite a bit of the cherry etc... gunk in the bottom. 
10/29/2009 Thur Got an update on Mr.B ingredients.  This beer went from BU/GU of .375 to .542 and from color of 17 to 24.  Both are much more respectable values.
11/05/2009 Thur Placed most of them in the beer fridge.  Plan to taste one this weekend.  Will probably put the rest in soon.
11/15/2009 Sun Had another "QA" taste.  Very flavorful.  I am very pleased with this as a holiday beer.  The spices come through perfectly.
12/01/2009 Tues Finally December.  Not sure when I can start drinking these.  To be able to have the most ready for right around Christmas I should hold off as long as possible.  Might let myself try another "QA" taste soon.
12/17/2009 Thur Had a couple.  I like the balance on the hops / spices  and malt.  Great head.  Maybe a bit low on the carbonation, but not bad.  Really a good holiday brew.
12/18/2009 Fri Had the liter that froze back in November.  Let my wife taste as well.  She said she liked it with the spices.  We are going to call this a great success.  I think next year I am going to leave out the extracts, and maybe increase the cinnamon.  The clove taste is perfect.  I am probably going to try the fruit in a secondary fermentation to maybe help that taste come through.  Might go with cherry flavoring instead of the canned fruit.  We'll see how the mood strikes me next September.  I will probably also carb up a bit more.  I am really happy with this beer.
12/31/2009 Thur Had a few since mid-December.  Not sure why I did not log any.  Sort of thought I did, but apparently not.  Anyway, tonight I had 2 liter bottles.  Enjoyed all these so far.  Right now I have 6 12 oz left and think maybe I'll save a couple to taste next fall.  Yummy beer.  Very nice for the holidays.
01/07/2010 Thur Had a couple more which were great.  Have four left.  Want to save these to try next year I think.  Might have one more, but want to save at least 3.
 
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