top left corner

X-Mas Ale 2013

Brewed: 09/15/2013   Kegged: 10/16/2013
The base of the 2013 version of the SheppyBrew X-Mas Ale is very similar to the 2011 and 2012 versions. It is dark and rich with lots of caramel and chocolate malts. It should be a medium to full bodied comfort beer. A true winter warmer.

Its ABV is around 8.3% with calculated IBU of around 40, making it lean just a tad toward the hop bitterness of the beer. Still at .531, its GU:BU ratio is pretty balanced.

This year, I needed to brew a Category 22, Smoke-Flavored and Wood-Aged Beer for my BJCP Category Project (see SheppyBrew Styles), and I decided to make my X-Mas Ale a 22B. Other Smoked Beer to kill two birds with one stone.

For more about my 2013 goal to brew at least one beer in every BJCP beer category, see BJCP Goal on my blog.

This is certainly not a session beer, but is a nice rich smokey dessert beer. It should age wonderfully.


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


X-Mas Ale 2013 --- Batch 1

Other Smoked Beer
Batch Size
5.50 gal
All Grain
Boil Size   7.76 gal
Brewhouse Efficiency   75.00   Boil Time   90 minutes

Recipe Characteristics

Recipe Gravity
1.076 SG
Estimated FG
1.017 SG
Recipe Bitterness
40.4 IBUs (Rager)
Alcohol by Volume
7.9 %
BU : GU   0.531        
Recipe Color
19.9 SRM
Measured OG:    1.074   Measured FG:    1.014
ADF:    79   Measured ABV:    7.8


Amt Name Type # %/IBU
10 lbs 8.0 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 67.7 %
3 lbs Smoked Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 2 19.4 %
1 lbs 8.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 3 9.7 %
6.0 oz Pale Chocolate Malt (200.0 SRM) Grain 4 2.4 %
2.0 oz Blackprinz (500.0 SRM) Grain 5 0.8 %
0.375 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [17.60 %] - First Wort 90.0 min Hop 6 26.8 IBUs
0.250 oz Magnum [14.70 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 7 13.6 IBUs
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 15.0 mins) Other 8 -
0.50 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 9 -
1.0 pkg Dry English Ale (White Labs #WLP007) [35.49 ml] Yeast 10 -

Mash Profile

Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 19.38 qt of water at 163.7 F 152.0 F 60 min

Batch sparge with 2 steps (0.89gal, 3.88gal) of 168.0 F water
Recipe Notes
Make starter a couple days in advance of brew day.
Mash as instructed in 10 gallon cooler.
90 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.
Ferment at 60F for 24 hours or so. Try to keep fermentation between 60 and 65 for a day or two, then let the temperature go where it want to.
Bottle after approximately 3 and a half weeks in the fermentor.

Brewing Record

Brew Date:
Strike Temp:   ?
Mash Temps:
 156 corrected to 148 back up to 154
Pre-boil OG   1.060 (1.062 SG)   Pre-boil Vol   7.75 (7.76 gal)
Actual Mash Efficiency
Pitch Temp    
Day 1: Quick start 66ish
Day 2: Already slowing down 68 
Day 5: Done (1.015) 72ish 

Click here to see previous recipes
Brewing Notes:
09/15/2013 esheppy
Brewed today. Went well. Racked right on the yeast cake of Sloth Man. OG = 1.074. Sample seemed to have the right amount of smoke. Sort of reminds the tongue of bacon. Think I'm really going to like this Xmas ale.
09/16/2013 esheppy
Really active. Put in a blow-off tube. Temp is in the 66 range.
09/17/2013 esheppy
Still bubbling, but slowing down. Took our blow off tube and put on air lock.
09/20/2013 esheppy
Looks to be mostly done. Took a gravity reading of 1.015, which puts this beer at 7.8% ABV. More subtle background smoke flavor than I remember from the wort. Not nearly as reminiscent of bacon. Actually, I think this might be the most pure beer flavored X-Mas Ale I've ever made. It is pretty well balanced. Nice dry smoke taste in the finish.
10/02/2013 esheppy
Another sample. 1.014 brings the abv to 7.9%. Much more clear than the last sample. Nice smoke flavor.
10/15/2013 esheppy
Meant to bottle Sunday, but forgot to buy more bottle caps. Need to buy some and find time to bottle.
10/16/2013 esheppy
Bottled tonight with 4.2oz sugar in 1.5 cups water. Official FG 1.014. Nice smoke. A little more bacon perception tonight. Got 28 12 oz bottles; 5 bombers; 4 liter bottles. Now just need to let them sit until Thanksgiving or so (I'm sure I'll have a QC bottle or two between now and then).
10/30/2013 esheppy
Printing labels today. Getting antsy to try this. The "official" carbonation period ends tomorrow, but I am sure I can put on in the fridge to try on Halloween. Can't I?
11/14/2013 esheppy
Well, I finally tried a bottle tonight. Starts pretty sweet. Finishes smokey. Lots of carbonation. Pretty good.
12/08/2013 esheppy
Snow on the ground gave me an opportunity to take the photo.Nice smokey drink on a cold December Sunday. Makes me drowsy watching football.
12/14/2013 esheppy
Popped open a liter bottle. Starts a bit sweet. I guess that is ok for a holiday beer, but I wish it were not quite so much. I think the smoke tastes about the right amount today.
12/21/2013 esheppy
To be honest, if I ever make another smoke beer, I will reduce the smoke malt by at least half.
05/09/2015 esheppy
It is a bit wintery around the brewery so I thought I would warm up with an XMas ale. Still smokey. Not something I could drink a bunch of. Ok.
12/22/2016 esheppy
Had some as part of 2016 flight. This is my least favorite X-Mas Ale.
01/13/2019 esheppy
Had a few x-mas ales today while watching football. This is my least favorite, but pretty good.
03/05/2023 esheppy
Tried this with a couple other years. This was my least favorite,but the smoke has faded quite a bit from what I remember.
bottom left corner
SheppyBrew Home Page