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X-Mas Ale 2022

Brewed: 12/04/2022   Kegged: 12/18/2022

XMas2022.jpgEvery year since I started homebrewing (way back in 2009), I've brewed an X-Mas Ale to have around the holidays.

In 2022, I started thinking about the recipe around the end of November.

For some reason, I thought a vanilla beer would be good this year, so that is what I went with.

The rich caramel / chocolate malt notes seemed like they would go well with vanilla flavoring.

I decided to go a little lighter in alcohol this year, targeting around 6.2% instead of the usual 7% abv's.

I ended up brewing the beer in my Anvil Foundry on the 4th of December and kegged it a couple weeks later on the 18th. It hung out on my back patio a couple of days while it waited for a kegerator slot to open.

It was in the kegerator on the 20th, chilled and somewhat carbonated.

I enjoyed the beer quite a bit during the week of Christmas.

As it turned out, the vanilla was a great choice for the X-Mas Ale. Between the vanilla beans and the flavoring, I thought the amount of vanilla was perfect.

Merry Christmas to me!

Read about my brew day on Sheppy's Blog: 2022 X-Mas Ale (Batch 325)

For more about X-Mas Ales, see Sheppy's Blog: X-Mas Ales.

To see all the X-Mas Ales I've made over the years, see X-Mas Ales 2009 - 2022.

X-Mas Ale 2022 --- Batch 1 (325)

Style Winter Seasonal Beer Batch Size 5.50 gal
Type All Grain Boil Size   6.60 gal
Brewhouse Efficiency   65.00   Boil Time   60 minutes

Recipe Characteristics

Recipe Gravity 1.061 SG Estimated FG 1.014 SG
Recipe Bitterness 32.2 IBUs (Rager) Alcohol by Volume 6.2 %
BU : GU   0.527        
Recipe Color 20.7 SRM
Measured OG:   1.061    Measured FG:   1.012 
ADF:   79    Measured ABV:   6.5 


Amt Name Type # %/IBU Volume
8.15 gal Denver, Colorado Water 1 - -
4.00 g Calcium Chloride (Mash) Water Agent 2 - -
3.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash) Water Agent 3 - -
1.00 g Chalk (Mash) Water Agent 4 - -
1.00 tsp Lactic Acid (Mash) Water Agent 5 - -
11 lbs 8.0 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 6 80.0 % 0.90 gal
1 lbs 8.0 oz Munich Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM) Grain 7 10.4 % 0.12 gal
8.0 oz Crystal, Medium (Simpsons) (55.0 SRM) Grain 8 3.5 % 0.04 gal
6.0 oz Crystal, Dark (Simpsons) (80.0 SRM) Grain 9 2.6 % 0.03 gal
4.0 oz Crystal Extra Dark - 120L (Crisp) (120.0 SRM) Grain 10 1.7 % 0.02 gal
4.0 oz Midnight Wheat Malt (550.0 SRM) Grain 11 1.7 % 0.02 gal
1.000 oz Magnum [15.80 %] - Boil 30.0 min Hop 12 32.2 IBUs -
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 13 - -
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 10.0 mins) Other 14 - -
1.0 pkg Nottingham (Danstar #-) [23.66 ml] Yeast 15 - -
3.00 Items Vanilla Beans (Secondary 10.0 days) Flavor 16 - -
3.00 oz Vanilla Extract (Bottling) Spice 17 - -

Mash Profile

Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Saccharification Add 32.61 qt of water at 159.7 F 152.0 F 45 min
Heat Heat to 158.0 F over 10 min 158.0 F 15 min
Mash Out Heat to 170.0 F over 7 min 170.0 F 10 min

If steeping, remove grains, and prepare to boil wort

Recipe Notes
Water salts bring Denver water profile (as defined by BeerSmith) to
Acid addition to bring expected mash pH to 5.4
Mash as instructed.
60 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 1 week of fermentation, transfer beer to secondary on top of vanilla beans.
Keg after a week on the beans with Vanilla extract to taste.

Brewing Record

Brew Date:   Strike Temp:  
Mash Temps:  
Pre-boil OG   (1.056 SG)   Pre-boil Vol   (6.60 gal)
Actual Mash Efficiency   Pitch Temp    
Day 1: 
Day ... 
Day ... 

Click here to see previous recipes
Brewing Notes:
12/02/2022 esheppy
Bought ingredients early in the week. Will probably brew this weekend.
12/04/2022 esheppy
Up a bit before 5am. Brew day went ok, although I did have some issues. I misplaced the clamp that I use to control the flow of the recirculation. Because of this, I overflowed the basket and ended up with grains in the pump. Eventually, I used a crescent wrench to get circulation working ok. By the time I had to rack to the fermentor, though, I was not able to use the pump and ended up using gravity (old school). Anyway, the OG turned out right on plan and I got a little more than the 5.5 gallons. Brew day was done by 9:30.
12/06/2022 esheppy
Fermentation took off sometime overnight after brew day. Going really strong now with lots of kraussen. At this point not planning on blowoff tube.
12/11/2022 esheppy
Went into secondary today with the cut up Vanilla beans. Not sure how much flavor these are going to give the beer. The sample tasted perfect. Harvested the yeast to re-use in my Grumkins Stout. Gravity at 1.012 making this a 6.5% Beer right now. Also got about 3/4 gallon of the base beer in my gallon growler.
12/18/2022 esheppy
Kegged today with 3 oz of vanilla flavoring. Sample before flavoring had just a touch of vanilla flavor. Chilling. Will wait a bit to taste to see if I want that 4th oz in the beer.
12/20/2022 esheppy
Killed the keg of Will-o-Wisp so I was able to move this keg into the kegerator. It had been chilling on the back patio and it is already fairly cold and a little carbonated. Love the amount of Vanilla flavoring. Will probably drink a fair amount of this over the next couple of weeks.
12/22/2022 esheppy
Really like this X-Mas Ale. Still can stand a bit more carbonation, but the clarity is really good and the flavor is awesome. Might be my best X-Mas Ale ever? Certainly in the top 10%
12/25/2022 esheppy
Seems to be a hit. The wife and mother-in-law really like it. Over already had a bunch of it the past few days.
12/31/2022 esheppy
Yummy New Years Eve beer. Vanilla and chocolate caramel malts pair well with Christmas cookies ... And hockey. 😋 🎄 🏒
01/01/2023 esheppy
Killed the keg already. Probably not real healthy to finish off 5 gallons of beer this quickly ... But ... Oh well.
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