Author Topic: Designing Christmas beers  (Read 1192 times)

Offline tmaurer

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Designing Christmas beers
« on: August 18, 2010, 01:29:05 PM »
I really want to start brewing for the holidays and seasons.  I've been wanting to do a Christmas beer for awhile.  I'm not sure what to do.  Add fruit?  Add spice?

I have a Belgian strong dark recipe as a base:

15  lbs  Pilsener
3.0 lbs  Munich
0.5 lbs  Wheat
1.0 lbs  Cane sugar
1.0 lbs  Aromatic
1.0 lbs  CaraMunich
1.0 lbs  Special B
0.5 lbs Melanoidin

2.42 oz Hallertau @ 60

As far as yeast goes, I would like something that adds a lot of spice and fruit.  I was thinking maybe WLP 500, but I have no idea.  What else can I do to this to make is more special.  I've seen recipes that add cherries.  What other sorts of things are "Christmas" like?

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Designing Christmas beers
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2010, 02:08:43 PM »
Several Belgian breweries seem to put orange in their Christmas beers. N'ice Chouffe for instance uses orange and thyme. I like the sound of cherries in a Belgian Dark Strong (plums too), since those echo malt flavors.  Increasing the CaraMunich might give you more of those flavors. If you can get your hands on some dark Munich, I think you might like that too.

I'd be careful about adding too much spice, since Belgian yeast tend to create plenty on their own. If you do use something, go traditional with coriander.  I'd avoid clove.  So don't neglect herbs as a possible special note.

Take a look at the Wyeast Ardennes and Antwerp strains.
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Offline The Professor

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Re: Designing Christmas beers
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2010, 02:44:13 PM »
All depends on what you like...seems like you already have a very nice Christmas beer there already without adding anything else. 
It's probably just me, but  I'd rather have a well balanced, strong brew for the winter season than anything with spices or fruit added. 
I'd save those things for making mulled ale.   

I usually brew mine in April or May, though...with 8 or more months on it, a strong ale becomes something very special.
AL
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Homebrewer since July 1971

Offline majorvices

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Re: Designing Christmas beers
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2010, 02:53:26 PM »
Whatever you do, design the beer so that after you've had one - by golly - you simply have to have another one! Too many Christmas beers are a half a pint - thanks that's enough - affairs. I like dark, belgian inspired beers for christmas. Oh, and dark, strong doppelbocks, too.
Keith Y.
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Offline tmaurer

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Re: Designing Christmas beers
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2010, 04:19:48 PM »
Wyeast Ardennes and Antwerp strains.

Yea I was definitely checking those out!  I was also checking the Bastogne strain out as well, but it looks like I have missed that one.  It would have been cool to do a WWII inspired "Christmas in Bastone" beer.  Maybe next year.

Whatever you do, design the beer so that after you've had one - by golly - you simply have to have another one!

I really like Mad Elf which is why I think I have cherries specifically on my mind.

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Designing Christmas beers
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2010, 05:30:06 PM »
Mad Elf uses honey too.  Interesting idea, although I'm not sure I'd cram the Belgian Dark Strong idea into the Mad Elf concept -- I'd rather make them separately.  Otherwise your Christmas in Bastogne is likely to become Trainwreck in Altoona.
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Offline majorvices

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Re: Designing Christmas beers
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2010, 07:09:19 PM »
Otherwise your Christmas in Bastogne is likely to become Trainwreck in Altoona.

OK - that's just too damn funny. I just about spit my beer through my nose.
Keith Y.
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Offline dhacker

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Re: Designing Christmas beers
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2010, 07:58:10 PM »
I'll have to put a word in for Avery's Old Jubilation. I just made a clone of it and am blown away by the perceived spiciness . .with no spices added . . It'll definitely be warming my hearts cockles this winter!
Just brew it...

Offline tmaurer

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Re: Designing Christmas beers
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2010, 08:20:15 PM »
What yeast did you use?

Offline dhacker

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Re: Designing Christmas beers
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2010, 04:48:04 AM »
WY1028 London ale
Just brew it...

Offline kgs

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Re: Designing Christmas beers
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2010, 04:19:46 PM »
I'll have to put a word in for Avery's Old Jubilation. I just made a clone of it and am blown away by the perceived spiciness . .with no spices added . . It'll definitely be warming my hearts cockles this winter!

Recipe pleeze? I've been looking for just the right thing to brew. It is getting late to be doing this.. I was going to brew a holiday beer in May...
K.G. Schneider
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Offline dhacker

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Re: Designing Christmas beers
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2010, 05:23:29 AM »
Old Jubilation Seasonal Ale

A ProMash Recipe Report

BJCP Style and Style Guidelines
-------------------------------

21-B  Spice/Herb/Vegetable, Christmas/Winter Specialty

Min OG:  1.030   Max OG:  1.100
Min IBU:     2   Max IBU:   100
Min Clr:     2   Max Clr:    25  Color in SRM, Lovibond

Recipe Specifics
----------------

Batch Size (Gal):         9.00    Wort Size (Gal):    9.00
Total Grain (Lbs):       27.25
Anticipated OG:          1.084    Plato:             20.32
Anticipated SRM:         21.8
Anticipated IBU:           35.8
Brewhouse Efficiency:     75 %
Wort Boil Time:               90    Minutes

Pre-Boil Amounts
----------------

Evaporation Rate:      10.00    Percent Per Hour
Pre-Boil Wort Size:   10.59    Gal
Pre-Boil Gravity:       1.072    SG          17.46  Plato


Grain/Extract/Sugar

   %     Amount     Name                          Origin        Potential SRM
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 80.7    22.00 lbs. Maris Otter Pale Malt(2-row)  Great Britain  1.038      3
  5.5      1.50 lbs. Special Roast Malt                America        1.033     40
  5.5      1.50 lbs. Victory Malt                          America        1.034     25
  1.8      0.50 lbs. Pale Chocolate                     Great Britain  1.030    215
  0.9      0.25 lbs. Carafa II Dehusked Malt        Germany        1.030    410
  5.5      1.50 lbs. Muscovado Sugar                                      1.048     50


Hops

   Amount     Name                              Form    Alpha  IBU  Boil Time
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1.25 oz.    Bullion                           Pellet   7.00  20.4  60 min.
  1.50 oz.    Bullion                           Pellet   7.00  15.4  35 min.
  1.25 oz.    Bullion                           Pellet   7.00   0.0    0 min.


Extras

  Amount      Name                           Type      Time
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1.00 Unit(s)Whirlfloc                      Fining    15 Min.(boil)


Yeast
-----

WYeast 1028 London Ale


Mash Schedule
-------------

Mash Type: Single Step

Grain Lbs:    25.75
Water Qts:   36.00 - Before Additional Infusions
Water Gal:     9.00 - Before Additional Infusions

Qts Water Per Lbs Grain: 1.40 - Before Additional Infusions

Saccharification Rest Temp : 153  Time:  90
Mash-out Rest Temp :              0  Time:   0
Sparge Temp :                      168  Time:  15
Just brew it...

Offline kgs

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Re: Designing Christmas beers
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2010, 09:16:45 AM »
Thanks--looks great. Divided by 3 it would make a great small batch!
K.G. Schneider
AHA Member