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X-Mas Ale 2017

Brewed: 11/19/2017   Kegged: 12/09/2017
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 2017, the recipe reduces the OG and therefore the ABV. 

I reduced the crystal malts a bit as well.

For flavoring, I am adding Blueberry extract to use us the extract that I used for the last Boo Berry Wheat recipe that I made. The blueberry flavor really compliments the rich caramel backbone, and comes through with a subtle enough character that if I didn't know it had blueberry flavoring in it, I wouldn't identify it as a blueberry beer.

It is, however tangibly different than the base beer.

The color come across darker than I intended / expected. If I hold the beer up to the sun, it is a nice ruby red color. However, in any normal lighting, it show up as black in pictures.

I think next year, I'm going to shoot for 15 or 16 SRM.

I used American Ale II yeast in the 2017 recipe because I had some harvested that I wanted to use up. 

Despite being lower in alcohol, the beer is still be perfect for sipping by the fireplace on a cold winter evening with family and friends. In fact, perhaps less alcohol makes it even better IMHO.


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 - 2017

X-Mas Ale 2017 --- Batch 1

Style Winter Seasonal Beer Batch Size 5.50 gal
Type All Grain Boil Size   7.71 gal
Brewhouse Efficiency   70.00   Boil Time   60 minutes

Recipe Characteristics

Recipe Gravity 1.058 SG Estimated FG 1.014 SG
Recipe Bitterness 30.5 IBUs (Rager) Alcohol by Volume 5.8 %
BU : GU   0.525        
Recipe Color 20.0 SRM
Measured OG:   1.058    Measured FG:   1.016 
ADF:   72    Measured ABV:   5.5


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 78.4 %
2 lbs Munich Malt - 30L (30.0 SRM) Grain 3 15.7 %
8.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM) Grain 4 3.9 %
4.0 oz Midnight Wheat Malt (550.0 SRM) Grain 5 2.0 %
0.500 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.20 %] - First Wort 60.0 min Hop 6 30.5 IBUs
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 7 -
1.0 pkg American Ale II (Harvested) (Wyeast Labs #1272) [125.00 ml] Yeast 8 -
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Primary 3.0 days) Other 9 -
3.00 oz Blueberry Extract (Bottling 5.0 mins) Flavor 10 -

Mash Profile

Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 15.94 qt of water at 163.7 F 152.0 F 60 min

Batch sparge with 2 steps (1.40gal, 3.86gal) 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.
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 blueberry extract.

Brewing Record

Brew Date:   Strike Temp:   170
Mash Temps:  160ish down to 154 1 hour
Pre-boil OG   1.050 (1.048 SG)   Pre-boil Vol   (7.71 gal)
Actual Mash Efficiency   Pitch Temp   64 
Day 1: 
Day ... 
Day ... 

Click here to see previous recipes
Brewing Notes:
11/19/2017 esheppy
Brew day today. Everything went to plan. Into the fermentor before 11AM.
11/20/2017 esheppy
Fermentation started up sometime yesterday. Going strong today 64
12/03/2017 esheppy
Went into secondary yesterday with blueberry extract and a couple of scoops of sugar. Gravity was a bit higher than expected at 1.018. Tastes great, but I am hoping the beer will go a touch drier.
12/09/2017 esheppy
Kegged. 1.016 and 5.5 abv. Perfect. Blueberry flavoring comes through with enough of a hint that it is fruity, but not enough that you'd necessarily think blueberry. Again, perfect. Gonna be a merry Christmas for me.
12/09/2017 esheppy
Also bottled up the extra gallon. Didn't take gravity reading on this. 5 bombers.
12/16/2017 esheppy
Tried it tonight. Just enough Blueberry to compliment the winter warmer caramel.
12/17/2017 esheppy
This beer is significantly darker in color than I expected / intended. The flavor is perfect, so the color isn't an issue. Just surprised this didn't come out with a lighter color.
12/23/2017 esheppy
This is delicious. 😋
12/26/2017 esheppy
Had some on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Very tasty. My Christmas guests picked this as the beer to drink with Christmas dinner.
02/04/2018 esheppy
Still have some for the Superbowl game. Happy birthday to me. Still a great beer with blueberry notes.
02/18/2018 esheppy
Keg blew. It was a good Xmas ale this year.
03/05/2023 esheppy
Tried this with a couple other years. No blueberry flavor left, but still a nice old ale flavor.
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