Christmas ales or Winter warmers are nice beers to have around during the cold months of winters… this is basically an Old Ale with spices commonly used with pumpkin ales…

It is a higher gravity beer what leaves enough residual sugars that lingers well after you drink it… the high alcohol balances this out, and it just feels right when you’re sitting next to a fireplace…

The recipe is taken out of Brewing Classic Styles by Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer… (pg. 271)… but I modified it a bit to make it fit my equipment and process…

Here’s what I came up with…

19.5 Lbs British Pale Ale Malt
3/4 Lbs Crystal 80 L This beer
1/4 lbs Black Patent Malt
1/2 oz 9% AA Horizon hops (90 Min)
1/2 oz 9% AA Horizon hops (60 Min)

1/2 tsp Cinnamon (1 min)
1/4 tsp Ginger (1 min)
1/8 tsp Nutmeg (1 min)
1/8 tsp Allspice (1 min)

(2) 2 Liter starters Wyeast 1028 London Ale Yeast

With so much grains I was concerned about hitting and maintaining my mash temperature at 152 F as recommended in the book… though, I ended up mashing at 154 F….

So what I did was to separate my base malt from my specialty grains…

Many brewers don’t think about doing this and believe they must throw in all the grain into the mash which is just not true…

If you were to brew this beer with extract you would only steep the grains for 20-25 minutes, so why can’t you do it with all grain?

Well you can, and that’s what I did…

I held back my specialty grains until I was done with the mash in case I had to add a bunch of water to keep my temperatures… fortunately I didn’t have to, and adding my grains at the end of the mash didn’t hurt… just gave me room to play with…

I also didn’t notice the hops I got were so much lower in AA% than what the recipe in the book called for… so I ended up throwing half of the hops at the beginning of the boil and the rest at 60 min to compensate…

Other than that the beer was brewed according to directions and I believe it’s going to turn out to be a really great beer…

Stay tuned for the tasting… enjoy and happy holidays!

How To Brew Beer

    12 replies to "How To Brew A Christmas Beer"

    • Tom

      please give the same recipe using extract – if possible

      • Jorge

        Substitute the 19.5 lbs of British Pale Ale Malt for 14 Lbs of English Pale Ale Liquid Malt Extract…

    • mick

      At what point/time in the boil did you add your 4 spices?

    • Jorge

      Mick – I didn’t even notice I skipped that… 1 minute left in the boil… thanks for pointing that out!

    • vera

      Great video. Just wondering, what kind of water do you use? I am curious because of all the adjustments you make.

      • Jorge

        @Vera – I use Reverse Osmosis…. basically distilled water with no minerals…

        I used 5.2 pH stabilizer to lower my mash pH and then added calcium chloride during the boil for flavor…

    • Rodney_Perth

      Great Vid mate. Question on equipment. I see you added grain straight into the kettle, but without a false bottom, how do you stop the grain going into the Spigot? and also did you use the same vessel for mashing and then boiling? very interested here as I have just started all-grain with limited equipment.

      • Jorge

        @Rodney – Actually I do have a false bottom… I have the false bottom in while I’m mashing… Notice I transfer my wort into a bucket after mashing. I then dump the grains off my kettle, remove the false bottom and use the same pot as my kettle… here’s more info on the pot

    • Mike

      Nice video I may have to try this next year.

      • Jorge

        @Mike – If you want it to be ready for next Christmas I recommend brewing it no later than early April… trust me, it will be worth it!

    • Shaune

      Was this a heavy gravity 5 gallon batch, or did you make 10 gallons? At about 21 lbs of grain, I am leaning toward a 10 gallon brew.

      • Jorge

        Actually high gravity… and warming 😉


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