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X-Mas Ale 2016

Brewed: 10/02/2016   Kegged: 10/23/2016

xmas2016a.jpgEver 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 2016, my wife mentioned that the 2012 peppermint beer was her favorite X-Mas Ale, and I decided to try that again. I modified the base beer a little bit from previous years. I dropped the ABV just a touch. I am continuing to use dark munich malt as I did in 2015 and am in fact increasing it this year. 

I also increased the caramel malt a little. The resulting color should be more in line with previous years than last year was. 

I used Kolsch Yeast in the 2016 recipe simply because I had some harvested that I wanted to use up. 

Despite being lower in alcohol, it is still be perfect for sipping by the fireplace on a cold winter evening with family and friends. In fact, perhaps less alcohol helps. It is like drinking a chocolate candy cane. Tastes a bit like a thin mint cookie.

2016 is the second year of kegging most of my X-Mas Ale, allowing us to pour from the tap as Jesus intended beer to be consumed. I even skipped the bottling this year ... putting an end to the tradition of having old X-Mas Ales for vertical tastings. Jesus wants us to drink fresh beer.

Merry X-Mas.


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

For a list of all the X-Mas Ales on this website, see X-Mas Ales 2009 - 2016


X-Mas Ale 2016 

Style Christmas/Winter Specialty Spice Beer Batch Size 5.50 gal
Type All Grain Boil Size   7.77 gal
Brewhouse Efficiency   75.00   Boil Time   90 minutes

Recipe Characteristics

Recipe Gravity 1.065 SG Estimated FG 1.015 SG
Recipe Bitterness 32.2 IBUs (Rager) Alcohol by Volume 6.6 %
BU : GU   0.492        
Recipe Color 22.7 SRM
Measured OG:   1.062    Measured FG:   1.014 
ADF:   77   Measured ABV:   6.3 


Amt Name Type # %/IBU
3.00 g Chalk (Mash 60.0 mins) Water Agent 1 -
10 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 2 74.1 %
2 lbs Munich Malt - 30L (30.0 SRM) Grain 3 14.8 %
1 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 4 7.4 %
6.0 oz Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 5 2.8 %
2.0 oz Blackprinz (500.0 SRM) Grain 6 0.9 %
0.500 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [15.20 %] - First Wort 90.0 min Hop 7 32.2 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 Kolsch Yeast (Wyeast Labs #2565) [124.21 ml] Yeast 10 -
1.00 tbsp Peppermint Extract (Secondary 5.0 days) Flavor 11 -

Mash Profile

Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 16.88 qt of water at 163.7 F 152.0 F 60 min

Batch sparge with 2 steps (1.28gal, 3.88gal) of 168.0 F water

Recipe Notes
Make starter a couple days in advance of brew day.
3g chalk in the mash water. This should bring Denver water profile (as defined by BeerSmith) to
Mash as instructed.
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. Add half the peppermint
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.
After the initial fermentation is done, rack to secondary fermentor along with other half of peppermint.

Brewing Record

Brew Date:
10/2  Strike Temp:   170
Mash Temps:  152 overnight down to 145ish
Pre-boil OG   (1.053 SG)   Pre-boil Vol   (7.77 gal)
Actual Mash Efficiency   Pitch Temp   62
Day 1: Active before end of day 0. 64
Day ... 
Day ... 

Click here to see previous recipes
Brewing Notes:
09/28/2016 esheppy
apparently it is #NationalDrinkBeerDay. 🍺🍻 and I have not had a beer all day 🍻🍺 #WhatIsWrongWithMe...but I did buy ingredients for X-Mas Ale 2016
10/02/2016 esheppy
Brew day started late last night and continued early morning. Boil was done before 6. OG a bit low at 1.062, but c'est la vie.
10/03/2016 esheppy
Been going strong since yesterday afternoon. 64.
10/04/2016 esheppy
Kolsch Yeast is eating away. Huge kraussen. 63
10/06/2016 esheppy
Still going with lots of kraussen. 66.
10/16/2016 esheppy
Racked to secondary along with another 1/2 tablespoon of peppermint extract. Beer tasted right what I would expect. That Kolsch yeast hasn't totally dropped. 1.014 gravity puts this beer at 6.3% ABV. Yummy.
10/23/2016 esheppy
Kegged. Fair amount of peppermint aroma. Clarity pretty good after a week in secondary. Hope to let this sit until Thanksgiving.
11/19/2016 esheppy
Finally did something with the extra 3/4 gallon beer I had. Combined with a gallon of apple cider in a Mr. Beer lbk. Hoping I didn't let this sit too long for the yeast to start back up. We'll see. It will be interesting to see how the Xmas Graf turns out.
11/25/2016 esheppy
The Beer Model wanted some with her Thanksgiving evening meal. A little too foamy, so I need to bleed off pressure. Flavor is good, though.
11/25/2016 esheppy
Yummy peppermint flavor. The bleeding off of the pressure makes the foam about perfect. Might even be ok at add some more CO2. Nice Holiday treat.
12/05/2016 esheppy
The beer is completely ready to drink. Turned out exactly how I thought it should. Peppermint could be a bit less, but it is fine.
12/23/2016 esheppy
Great beer for the holidays. Beer getting a little bit drunk on this, but that is what Christmas is all about ... right?
01/06/2017 esheppy
Still have plenty. Tastes the same.
01/20/2017 esheppy
Still working on this. Pretty good still.
01/27/2017 esheppy
Keg blew tonight. Delicious.
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