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X-Mas Ale 2014

Brewed: 09/07/2014   Kegged: 09/26/2014

xmas2014.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 until now has always had a little extra spice or other flavor to add to the festivity.

The 2014 version of the SheppyBrew X-Mas Ale is exactly the base beer of 2012 without any extra spices or flavoring. It is pretty close to the base beer of other years as well.

It seems like every year, the extra stuff in the beer makes it somewhat schizophrenic. In other words, I will really like it some of the times I drink it and really not like it others. I mean, who wants to drink 2 cases of peppermint beer? You eventually get somewhat sick of it.

And, I've been telling myself for quite some time that I should brew an X-Mas ale that simply uses the base. In fact 2013 was originally going to be that, but I had the whole BJCP Category Project going on (see SheppyBrew Styles), and I decided to make my X-Mas Ale a 22B. Other Smoked Beer to kill two birds with one stone.

So, this year the X-Mas Ale is just a beer. It is somewhat dark and malty with significant caramel flavor. It is pretty big. It is very appropriate for a winter warmer. It just doesn't have extra non-beer flavoring.

I think that it may actually be based somewhat on a Breckenridge Brewery's Christmas ale recipe that I saw somewhere. I'm not sure, though.

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


X-Mas Ale 2014 --- Batch 1

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

Recipe Characteristics

Recipe Gravity
1.074 SG
Estimated FG
1.018 SG
Recipe Bitterness
31.6 IBUs (Rager)
Alcohol by Volume
7.5 %
BU : GU   0.425        
Recipe Color
22.3 SRM
Measured OG:   1.070
  Measured FG:    1.014
ADF:    80%   Measured ABV:    7.4


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 %
0.500 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [17.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 5 31.6 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 (Wyeast Labs #1272) [125.00 ml] Yeast 8 -

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.

Brewing Record

Brew Date:
Strike Temp:   170
Mash Temps:
 160 down to 150
Pre-boil OG   1.058 (1.060 SG)   Pre-boil Vol   7.75 (7.76 gal)
Actual Mash Efficiency
Pitch Temp    
Day 1: 
Day ... 
Day ... 

Click here to see previous recipes
Brewing Notes:
09/05/2014 esheppy
Bought ingredients to brew this weekend.
09/06/2014 esheppy
Made a 7 cup starter today.
09/07/2014 esheppy
Brew day went great today. Was done except the ice bath and yeast pitch by 9. OG a bit low at 1.070, but that is fine.
09/07/2014 esheppy
Kraussen before bedtime. Put in blow-off tube.
09/09/2014 esheppy
Didn't need the blow-off yesterday, but there is kraussen going through it today. Fermentation at 68 degrees.
09/11/2014 esheppy
Lots of blow-off over the past couple days, but I took the tube today. Still fermentation going on. 70 degrees.
09/18/2014 esheppy
Went into secondary tonight. 1.018 puts this at 6.9%abv. Really full secondary. Yummy chocolate and caramel, but not overly sweet. A bit of a nutty ester. I think this will be a great winter warmer.
09/27/2014 esheppy
Bottled yesterday. Like the flavor. Dried out some to 1.014. See Bottling 2014 XMas Ale for more.
10/17/2014 esheppy
All the bottles are labeled. Also, put a couple bottles in the fridge. Should try Sunday?
10/30/2014 esheppy
Finally got around to trying a bottle. Great winter warmer. Think that the lack of spices was agreat choice.
11/27/2014 esheppy
Thanksgiving. Tried one of these along with a Breckenridge Christmas Ale. This is darker in color, sweeter, more full-bodied. Also has much better head retention and more carbonation. They are close, though. Both good. Think of I do this again, I will go drier and a bit more balanced. Great winter warmer, though.
12/27/2014 esheppy
Still have a bunch of bottles. Shared a few last night. Good stuff. There seems to be carbonation and sweetness inconsistecies between bottles.
12/31/2014 esheppy
New Year's Eve. Still have a bunch of these. Some will be finished off tonight.
01/25/2015 esheppy
Had another bottle. Tasting really good.
12/22/2016 esheppy
Had some as part of 2016 flight. This is my 2nd favorite X-Mas Ale. No spice.
01/13/2019 esheppy
Had 2011, 2012, 2013, and this one so far today. This one is showing its age the most. Still yummy.
03/05/2023 esheppy
Tried this with a couple other years. This does have oxidized flavor, but pretty good.
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