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X-Mas Ale 2015

Brewed: 11/22/2015   Kegged: 12/12/2015

Ever since I started brewing (way back in 2009), I've always brewed a seasonal X-Mas Ale Winter warmer. It is always a pretty big beer with lots of caramel and usually has a little extra spice or other flavor to add to the festivity.

In 2015, I modified the base beer a little bit. I cut back some on the caramel and chocolate malts, and dropped the ABV just a touch. I am replaced the caramel with dark munich malt to provide some breadiness .

Since I was playing with the base recipe, I left any extra spices out .. just as I did for the 2014 version of the X-Mas Ale.

Because it has less dark malts it was a bit lighter in color, but not nearly as much as I figured it would be. It was still a darkish amber.

Despite being lower in alcohol, it will still be perfect for sipping by the fireplace on a cold winter evening with family and friends. In fact, perhaps less alcohol helps.

2015 was the first year I kegged most of my X-Mas Ale allowing us to pour from the tap as Jesus intended beer to be consumed. I only filled 6 bottles of the 2015 X-Mas Ale.

Merry X-Mas.

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


X-Mas Ale 2015 

Style Christmas/Winter Specialty Spice Beer Batch Size 5.50 gal
Type All Grain Boil Size   7.76 gal
Brewhouse Efficiency   75.00   Boil Time   90 minutes

Recipe Characteristics

Recipe Gravity 1.069 SG Estimated FG 1.017 SG
Recipe Bitterness 31.7 IBUs (Rager) Alcohol by Volume 6.9 %
BU : GU   0.460        
Recipe Color 18.6 SRM
Measured OG:   1.066    Measured FG:   1.013 
ADF:   80%    Measured ABV:  


Amt Name Type # %/IBU
12 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 85.0 %
1 lbs Munich Malt - 30L (30.0 SRM) Grain 2 7.1 %
12.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 3 5.3 %
4.0 oz Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 4 1.8 %
2.0 oz Blackprinz (500.0 SRM) Grain 5 0.9 %
0.500 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [15.20 %] - First Wort 90.0 min Hop 6 31.7 IBUs
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 15.0 mins) Other 7 -
0.50 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 8 -
1.0 pkg American Ale II (Wyeast Labs #1272) [125.00 ml] Yeast 9 -

Mash Profile

Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 17.66 qt of water at 163.7 F 152.0 F 60 min

Batch sparge with 2 steps (1.16gal, 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 couple days, then let the temperature go where it want to.

Brewing Record

Brew Date: 11/22/2015  Strike Temp:   170
Mash Temps: 150 raised to 154ish 
Pre-boil OG   1.055 (1.056 SG)   Pre-boil Vol   (7.76 gal)
Actual Mash Efficiency   Pitch Temp   58 
Day 1: Kraussen started 60
Day 2: Blew the airlock put in blow off tube 66  
Day ... 

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Brewing Notes:
11/25/2015 esheppy
Brewed Sunday. Fermentation got crazy, and even blew the airlock sometime yesterday or the day before. Biggest mess I've ever had. Put in blow-off tube. Still very strong fermentation and lots of Kraussen coming out. Only 66F.
11/28/2015 esheppy
Racked into secondary to make room in the main fermentor. Sample was very nice. Lots of chocolate caramel. Maybe a bit sweet, but it may dry up some still. 1.015.
12/12/2015 esheppy
Kegged today. 1.013 FG makes this a 7% abv beer. Great clarity. Flavor is very much malt driven, but I think it has nice balance so that it isn't too sweet. Nice winter warmer.
12/12/2015 esheppy
Just filled 6 12oz bottles. Using 4 carb tabs in each.
12/15/2015 esheppy
Keg is under pressure in the beer fridge.
12/18/2015 esheppy
First pour from the keg. I am a fan. I actually think the carbonation for it is pretty good. I do wish we had more conditioning time before Christmas, but it will do.
12/25/2015 esheppy
Nice drinking this on Christmas Eve. Even the Beer Model asked for a pint. I had some older X-Mas Ales last night too. This one is the best.
12/28/2015 esheppy
Brought a growler to my cousin-in-laws. It was a hit.
01/16/2016 esheppy
Killed the keg. Still have 6 bottles. Wonderful beer.
12/22/2016 esheppy
Had some as part of 2016 flight. This is my favorite X-Mas Ale. No spice.
03/05/2023 esheppy
Tried this with a couple other years. Surprisingly, this one tasted pretty fresh.
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