Christmas Ale

Discussion in 'Recipes for Feedback' started by Josh Hughes, Oct 26, 2020.

  1. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    It’s time for me to get started on a Christmas Ale. I do not typically like spices and stuff so I’m thinking a Wee Heavy or strong ale of some sort. Dark and malty. Nothing fancy ingredient wise. This may or may not fit a style of a Christmas ale but oh well :)
    Maris Otter 88%
    Caramel 60 10%
    Roasted or chocolate 2% (which is better)?

    Hops I have Challenger, EKG, and Target I also have other not British hops; Magnum, Hallertau, and Northern brewer. I figured around 25-30 IBU which may be a touch for the style but should be too far off.

    I’ll use S-04 fermented in the low to mid 60s.
     
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  2. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    Have you ever had an Old Ale? Your ingredient list would lend itself to that style. I make this as a Christmas beer fairly often. Just made one on Friday. A key ingredient that many people swear by is Lyle's Black Treacle. However, I have used both molasses and unrefined cane syrup in this style with excellent results.
     
  3. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    I have not had an old ale.
     
  4. Sunfire96

    Sunfire96 Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking something very similar, a british strong ale reminiscent of Full Sail's Wassail winter warmer
    upload_2020-10-26_10-35-31.png
     
  5. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Are you referring to the commercial "olde speckled hen", or an "Abbott's Ale?
     
  6. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    No, these really fit more into the pale ale or ESB categories. I've not seen a lot of commercial versions of this. Here's the link to the BJCP style guideline:

    https://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/style19.php

    It's somewhat in the category of a winter warmer.
     
  7. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    An Oatmeal Stout is nice on a cold winter night, I believe @Yooper has a great recipe for this style.
    It would get a decent amount of flaked oats which will soften the mouth feel, and maybe reduce priming sugar so as to add to that mouthfeel with a bit less carbonation.

    I have a Christmas Ale that I make, that gets a subtle amount of ginger and cinnamon.
    It is a great beer, and is likely a really good ale without these additions, IBU's are lower than your goal though.
    https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/718882/o-tannenbaum-christmas-ale
     
  8. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    Old ales can be wonderful, but a lot end up as a sweet flabby mess to my palate. I think I need something interesting in the beer to enjoy it. Spices, barrel flavours, etc. There's one with vanilla and the barest hint of chilli that's wonderful which should be reappearing soon.

    I have the same thoughts on the big Scottish ales as well, so it might just be a 'me' problem.
     
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  9. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    That’s looks good @Craigerrr but I do not have any Special Roast. What is a sub for that? I’m not married to the IBUs. I also though about adding some oats or flaked barely with what I had.
     
  10. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. Just as IPA's can become undrinkable due to being out of balance with excessive hops, old ales can be too heavy and sweet. I rely (maybe over-rely!) on the BU/GU ratio to try and hit the balance of each style. This seems to keep the beers within style.
     
  11. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm, good question, maybe brown malt, or some biscuit, or a bit of each?
    At 2% of the bill, I don't think it brings all that much to the beer. It isn't my recipe, I poached from I forget where now.
     
  12. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    I do have both so that is doable. It is pretty fun to talk through and get ideas on recipes. I probably won’t brew until Saturday at the earliest.
     
  13. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    What about this? Still wondering if chocolate or roasted is better for this. I have english roasted as well it is much darker than the Briess I have listed. I also have brown malt and victory if that helps. Trying for around 8-9% abv
    50EEB114-8DE2-4C59-9B3A-AE77B34C1F7C.png
     
  14. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I would defer to others more experienced than myself on this, and to also comment on my suggestion. We know one thing for sure, either way it will be beer, but what the different flavor contributions of these different malts will bring, I am not experienced enough to say with absolute certainty.
     
  15. Megary

    Megary Well-Known Member

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    At bigger amounts I have noticed more dry coffee from Roasted Barley and more ash/roast from Chocolate.

    But at 1oz and 1.8% I don't think you will notice any difference. YMMV.
     
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  16. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    #16 Josh Hughes, Oct 31, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2020
    Here are my final thoughts. Still may switch roasted for chocolate or go 1/2 each.the brown malt should give me some of the coffee flavor I like. Also for hops I have EKG, hallertau, magnum, and target. Would any of those be better?

    7DFE1930-ADB2-4125-81A0-048553283F51.png
     
  17. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I have had a few of the commercial examples, but it has been too long for me to recall them.
    Fuller’s Vintage Ale
    Young's Winter Warmer
    Founders Curmudgeon
    Hopefully we get some examples at our State run Craft Beer outlet this winter, I could use some inspiration for something different for the coming cold nights!
     
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  18. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    Bottled it today. This should have a nice taste! Roasty, mouthfeel should be nice with carbonation and it has a smidge of “warming” This is a bottling bucket sample
    BFE5C084-3B8B-4BCF-A6DF-893800957FE4.jpeg
     

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