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X-Mas Ale 2012

Brewed: 10/28/2012   Kegged: 11/24/2012

xmas2012.jpgThe base of the 2012 version of the SheppyBrew X-Mas Ale is very similar to the 2011 version. It is dark and rich with lots of caramel and chocolate malts. It should be a medium to full bodied comfort beer. A true winter warmer.

Its ABV is around 8% with calculated IBU of around 35, making it lean just a tad toward the malt sweetness of the beer. Still at .467, its GU:BU ratio is pretty balanced.

This year's special ingredient is peppermint. I have used peppermint before (see Leprechaun Stout), and really liked how it turned out. It also made for a nice festive flavor in this beer.

This is certainly not a session beer, but is a nice rich minty dessert beer. I think of chocolate candy canes when I drink this beer. It is a great beer with which to make an ice-cream beer float. It gives plain vanilla a mint chocolate chip character. Yummy indeed.

The body of the beer comes across fuller than I would expect with a 1.012 final gravity. The head retention and lacing is really awesome.


I am happy with the way this beer turned out.

To read about the 2012 vertical tasting, which included this beer and X-Mas ales from 2009, 2010, and 2011, see 2012 X-Mas Ale Verticle Tasting.

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


X-Mas Ale 2012

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

Recipe Characteristics

Recipe Gravity
1.074 SG
Estimated FG
1.017 SG
Recipe Bitterness
34.7 IBUs (Rager)
Alcohol by Volume
7.6 %

Recipe Color
22.3 SRM

Measured OG:

Measured FG:

Measured ABV:


Amt Name Type # %/IBU
13 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 85.2 %
1 lbs 12.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 2 11.5 %
6.0 oz Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 3 2.5 %
2.0 oz Blackprinz (500.0 SRM) Grain 4 0.8 %
0.50 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [17.00 %] - First Wort 90.0 min Hop 5 34.7 IBUs
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 15.0 mins) Other 6 -
0.50 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 7 -
1.0 pkg American Ale II (Harvested) (Wyeast Labs #1272) [125.00 ml] Yeast 8 -
1.00 tbsp Peppermint Extract (Secondary 5.0 days) Flavor 9 -

Mash Profile

Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 19.06 qt of water at 163.7 F 152.0 F 60 min

Batch sparge with 2 steps (0.94gal, 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.
After the initial fermentation is done, rack to secondary fermentor along with peppermint.

Brewing Record

Brew Date:

Strike Temp:
Mash Temps:
154 all the way through
Pre-boil OG
1.060 (1.060 SG)
Pre-boil Vol
7.75 (7.76 gal)
Actual Mash Efficiency

Pitch Temp

Day 1: 66 active
Day 3: 66 active
Day 4: Slowed down 68

Click here to see previous recipes
Brewing Notes:
10/24/2012 esheppy
Bought ingredients today.
10/25/2012 esheppy
Made a starter with 6 cups water and a cup and a half DME.
10/28/2012 esheppy
Brewed today. Started mash before church and finished after, so it was about 2.5 hours. Mash temp was right at 154. Boil went fine. OG hit exactly 1.074. Pitch temp 58. Everything went perfect and the wort was yummy.
10/29/2012 esheppy
First thing this morning, added a blow-off tube. Temperature at 66 and obviously very active.
10/30/2012 esheppy
Active is an understatement. I have emptied the blow-off bucket a couple of times. Still extremely active this morning. Still at 66ish.
11/04/2012 esheppy
Racked to secondary with 1 tbsp peppermint extract. Also added a little table sugar to produce some CO2 to scrub oxygen. Gravity at 1.015. Don't expect it to go much lower. Sample of base beer tasted great.
11/19/2012 esheppy
Took another sample today. Surprisingly, the FG is down to 1.012 making this an 8.3 ABV beer. Getting a lot of the peppermint candy cane flavor. Thinking about using lactose to bring up the body a bit.
11/24/2012 esheppy
Bottled today with 2 cups water and 4.25oz of table sugar. Got 34 12 oz bottles. 5 bombers. 2 liter bottles. Sample seemed to be just the right amounts of chocolate malt and peppermint. I have a feeling this might be another one of those beers that I really like some days and other days will think it has too much peppermint. I guess we will see.
12/08/2012 esheppy
Labeled the 41 bottles. Should be about done carbing so I am putting a few bottles in the fridge.
12/15/2012 esheppy
First taste today. Chocolate candy cane is a good description. Dessert beer. Certainly not sessionable. Peppermint dominates the flavor and aroma. Seems a lot more full-bodied than the 1.012 fg would suggest. Good carbonation. Great head retension and lacing. I like this holiday ale.
12/31/2012 esheppy
I keep expecting to have try this and not like it as much, but so far the peppermint flavor seems awesome with this beer and seems to actually be getting better blended into the beer. I like this beer.
09/12/2013 esheppy
Tried one. Tasting pretty good tonight.
11/15/2013 esheppy
Liking it tonight. Nice mint.
01/11/2015 esheppy
Accidentally grabbed one tonight. Tasted really good.
12/18/2016 esheppy
Did a 2010 2011 2012 2016 Verticle flight today. This beer is holding up well. Ranked it 2nd out of 4.only 2016 beat it.
04/01/2018 esheppy
Easter 2018. Decided to pop open a couple x-mas ales. 2010 and 2012. Both still good. Preferred the 2010.
01/13/2019 esheppy
Had a few x-mas ale years. Peppermint is always a hit.
12/23/2023 esheppy
Had with 2023 beer (wood aged), 2011 (hazelnut and cinnamon), and Breckenridge Christmas. Held up good. Beer Model's favorite. Ranked 4th for me.
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