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Great Lakes Christmas Ale Clone

236 calories 24 carbs
Beer Stats
Method: BIAB
Style: Winter Seasonal Beer
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 6 gallons (fermentor volume)
Pre Boil Size: 8.11 gallons
Post Boil Size: 6.1 gallons
Pre Boil Gravity: 1.053 (recipe based estimate)
Efficiency: 70% (brew house)
Source: Great Lakes Brewing Company

Calories: 236 calories (Per 12oz)
Carbs: 24 g (Per 12oz)
Created Wednesday September 30th 2015
Amount Fermentable PPG °L Bill %
12.36 lb American - Pale 2-Row12.36 lb Pale 2-Row 37 1.8 76.2%
1.24 lb American - Caramel / Crystal 40L1.24 lb Caramel / Crystal 40L 34 40 7.6%
1.24 lb American - Wheat1.24 lb Wheat 38 1.8 7.6%
0.32 lb American - Special Roast0.32 lb Special Roast 33 50 2%
0.06 lb American - Roasted Barley0.06 lb Roasted Barley 33 300 0.4%
1 lb Honey1 lb Honey 35 2 6.2%
16.22 lb Total      
Amount Variety Type AA Use Time IBU Bill %
1 oz Mount Hood1 oz Mount Hood Hops Pellet 4.8 Boil 60 min 14.86 33.3%
1 oz Mount Hood1 oz Mount Hood Hops Pellet 4.8 Boil 15 min 7.37 33.3%
1 oz Cascade1 oz Cascade Hops Pellet 7 Boil 11 min 8.48 33.3%
Mash Guidelines
Amount Description Type Temp Time
9.2 gal Infusion 154 °F 60 min
Other Ingredients
Amount Name Type Use Time
3 g Calcium Chloride (dihydrate) Water Agt Mash 0 min.
3 g Gypsum Water Agt Mash 0 min.
3 each Cinnamon Sticks (small) Spice Whirlpool 15 min.
1 oz Ginger Spice Whirlpool 15 min.
1 lb Honey Other Boil 15 min.
Wyeast - London Ale 1028
1 Each
Attenuation (avg):
Optimum Temp:
60 - 72 °F
Fermentation Temp:
70 °F
Pitch Rate:
0.35 (M cells / ml / ° P) 137 B cells required
Yeast Pitch Rate and Starter Calculator
CO2 Level: 0 Volumes
Target Water Profile
Balanced Profile
Ca+2 Mg+2 Na+ Cl- SO4-2 HCO3-
80 5 25 75 80 100
3.31 g Gypsum
3.31 g Calcium Chloride
9.20 Gallons of 100% Reverse Osmosis Water
Mash Chemistry and Brewing Water Calculator

I call this one Weihnachtsbier which is Christmas Beer in German. You will be delighted with the results of this recipe. resist temptations to throw in more honey in than the recipe says. Too much honey will make the beer too dry and more alcohol forward than it needs to be. I looked up how to make cinnamon or ginger tea, which is what we are doing in the wort, and it seems that putting them in at 15 minutes left in the boil and leaving them in for 15 minutes after flame out makes the best sense. The video I made on YouTube says 60 minutes but I've changed it since I made that video. Great Holiday beer. Cheers !

Last Updated and Sharing
Recipe QR Code
  • Public: Yup, Shared
  • Last Updated: 2019-11-17 22:37 UTC
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Jdgarner340 11/26/2016 at 09:56pm
This might sound really dumb but I have all the ingredients for this recipe and this is first all grain batch, what is the step by step process for this? I don't want to ruin this batch so looking for some guidance please and thank you!

Cameron 12/01/2016 at 12:38am

Cameron 12/01/2016 at 12:44am

Cameron 12/01/2016 at 01:00am
Hi Jdgarner340. I don't think it's a dumb question at all. I was at the same point that you are now at 2 short years. Unfortunately it's now something I can just write on a forum. If you are utilizing Brew in a Bag method you can copy my recipe to your account and then click "Brew It" and follow the instructions. You can also but a recipe kit and they have instructions. My 1st brew was a all grain recipe. I did a brown ale like this recipe to start with:
Water quality, temp at mash and pitching temp are the most important things to consider. Good Luck !

CornDog 07/30/2017 at 11:47pm

CornDog 07/30/2017 at 11:49pm
Cameron, on a scale of 1-10. In the spirit of which it is intended, how close do you think you got on this clone? :-)

Cameron 08/01/2017 at 01:37pm
Hi CornDog. I would say it would be around an 8 or 9. I do this one every Christmas Holiday Season and people really love it. Cheers !

picklemon 09/11/2017 at 03:29am
how do you put the ginger in? is it cut up or whole?

Cameron 09/11/2017 at 01:25pm
Hi picklemon, I go to the grocery and get fresh ginger. I use a peeler and peel of the outside and then cut into small pieces. I use a muslin bag for all of the stuff I put into the boil. Check out my video on it on my very amateurish YouTube Channel: Cheers !!!

picklemon 09/12/2017 at 03:22am
looks good i just brewed and it tastes great for a gravity sample! my effeciency was low though i only came out with a 1.060 ( im still fairly new to ag biab) definetly excited though! thanks for the recipe! cheers!

picklemon 09/12/2017 at 03:27am
looks good i just brewed and it tastes great for a gravity sample! my effeciency was low though i only came out with a 1.060 ( im still fairly new to ag biab) definetly excited though! thanks for the recipe! cheers!

Benman IPA 09/30/2017 at 08:49pm

Benman IPA 09/30/2017 at 08:51pm
hi Cameron, looks like a great recipe, one question i have - you add the honey to the mash or to the boil? thanks

Cameron 10/01/2017 at 01:16am
That's correct you put the honey right in at the boil

Benman IPA 10/01/2017 at 11:54am
Thank you Cameron, i'll make a 2 gallons batch next week

Derpadoo 11/29/2017 at 07:23pm
What sparge method did you use for this recipe? The suggested mash volume of 9.47gal seems huge and is larger than anything I've done before, and I don't think I have the equipment volume to handle that plus a gallon or two for sparging.

Cameron 11/30/2017 at 01:34pm
Hi Derpadoo, I utilize the BIAB (Brew in a bag) method. That requires no sparge at all. Now if your kettle is large enough for the boil volume but not the full volume mash then I would reduce the mash volume by 2-3 gallons and put that to the side and rinse the grains while hoisting the bag over the kettle (assuming you are using BIAB also). Just make sure you sparge with RO water. High PH water will extract tannins. Here is a link to one of my videos when I had a smaller brew kettle and I had to do the same thing: and now I hooked up a gas line in my garage and got a hoist instead of just one pulley. When I used to sparge I took a bucket and drilled a bunch of holes in it to make a giant strainer. I put my grain bag in it, folded the bag over the opening and hoisted it the bucket. I then would get 2-3 gallons of RO water heated up to around 170 f and used a galvanized watering can to sprinkle the water over the bucket thus rinsing out the grains and accumulating enough water for the boil. A 15 gallon kettle is perfect for 5 gallon No sparge BIAB batches. Cheers !

Derpadoo 12/01/2017 at 05:38pm
5 of 5

Thanks for the advice Cameron. I also do BIAB and my kettle is 10gal so i'll be cutting it really close to try and get that 9.47gal mash volume. I had always though sparging was non-optional, but I guess you compensated the grain bill for the efficiency. My sparging method thus far has been to simply rinse the grain-bag with an additional gallon or two of water (depending on how much volume I have to boil) inside my smaller 5gal kettle or a fermentation bucket, then add that rinse to the kettle. I'm relatively new and haven't gotten into water chemistry yet, but it's on my list of things to improve.

I'll be trying out this recipe in a day or two. It looks great and I'm looking forward to the results!

Cameron 12/01/2017 at 06:05pm
I just got done kegging this recipe and it tastes great. Good luck. You can check out some of the other videos on my YouTube channel and it may give you some pointers on sparging with Brew in a bag. I used to use an 8 gallon Kettle and cut it close as well. If you have a 10 gallon kettle then you should only have to keep a couple gallons of water on the side. My efficiency was up to 75% with sparging and it is somewhere around 70% with no sparge. By not doing the sparge it says me about a half hour or so. So a 15 gallon Kettle or even a 20 gallon kettle would be perfect. Good luck and let me know how the recipe comes out. Merry Christmas

dave althouse 08/21/2018 at 12:44pm
Greetings, getting ready to brew this for my next batch. Never used gypsum/calcium chloride, is this additive to adjust the water. I good well water and have never had an issue with off flavors. thanks

Cameron 08/21/2018 at 03:58pm
Hi dave althouse. Yes the gypsum and calcium chloride are added because I use Reverse Osmosis Water for my brewing water. I am a Culligan Water guy in Ohio and I am cursed with knowing too much about water :) I have learned a lot about how the mash pH is so important to the mash process and consistency in my recipes. If you don't see any problem with your well water that's great. Most waters have a high amount of alkalinity which makes the pH too high during mash. Reverse Osmosis water is absent of almost all minerals so I add them back using a free spreadsheet tool called Brun Water. This tool lets you dial in your target water profile. Using Reverse Osmosis water for your brewing water is the #1 way to get make a superior beer in my humble opinion. Cheers !

dave althouse 09/03/2018 at 11:17pm
Hey Culligan man, so I got a water test and this is the results. I wasn't sure how to read them. If you don't mind can you indicate if I have good water? Ca 0, Mg 0, Na 204, CL 2, So 84, Alk. 356(CaCO3) Ph 7.6 This is water out of the tap going through the softener. BTW, I to live in Ohio
I am getting to pick up my grain at Buckeye Brew this week

Cameron 09/04/2018 at 03:01am
Hi dave althouse That's great you know the "HEY CULLIGAN MAN!" What a classic ! If you get a chance give me a call at Culligan Quality Water of North Central Ohio (google us) and ask for Cameron. I can help you with understanding your water profile and understand why soft water is not good brewing water for Ale's.

CornDog 10/15/2018 at 11:59pm
I see you are in Mansfield. I’m a tad south of Toledo. Been thinking about a Christmas ale for this year and I remembered I bookmarked this recipe. Need to scale back a bit as I feel comfortable with about 12 lbs of grain in my 7 gal Megapot with water (BIAB) for 5 gal batch. Different topic...just picked up this year’s Nosferatu GLB and is very good this year. One of my annual favorites.

Cameron 10/16/2018 at 01:10am
Hey Corndog. You gotta try the recipe and tell me how you like it. Next pot you get, get a 15 gal for BIAB It's perfect for 5 gallon batches. That's cool you are in Ohio too. I'll try to pick up some of the Nosferatu GLB. Thanks for the tip. I have the grain coming my way for a couple batches of this recipe. Prost !

CornDog 10/17/2018 at 11:39pm
Yes I will. Probably just half it first time out. Tonight I kegged 2.5 gal of an Autumn Hard Cider ... I racked cider 6.3% onto some berries I harvest from my Korean Dogwood tree (taste like pumpkin and mango) and the some whole berry cranberry sauce, fresh ginger and some cinnamon. Tastes real nice with spice and snap of ginger but still apple enough. Taking some to my neighbors 50th B-day on Friday. Proud to serve it๐Ÿ˜€!

Chasjs 10/26/2018 at 08:31pm

On the Youtube video you show putting the ginger and the cinnamon in for a full 60 min. boil. In the recipe it shows 5 Min. Which is correct?

Have you tried the spices in the second stage - like dry hopping. I have seen some recommending in outer recipes to soak the cinnamon in vodka for an hour then adding the vodka to the secondary. Thanks for sharing you recipe. I plan on doing this one for the holidays.

Cameron 10/28/2018 at 03:40pm
Hi Chasjs - Sorry about that. It is confusing that I would put the ginger chunks and cinnamon sticks in for the full boil in the video but that's not how the recipe reads. I've done it both ways with success. Your question got me thinking about what would be the best time for them to go in. I did some quick research on how to make cinnamon or ginger tea, which is really what you are doing in the wort. I can't really remember a difference when I've done it at 60 or 5 but when you read how to make cinnamon tea or ginger tea it sounds like throwing it in at the 15 makes better sense and leaving them in for 15 minutes after flame out. I am going to change the recipe to adding them at 15 minutes left in the boil.

Here are two links about making cinnamon and ginger tea:

MarkT 11/10/2018 at 11:20pm
Hi Cameron, looking foward to brew that one! I would be my first time with cinnamon (as well as ginger). I have a question for you. Do you leave the cinnamon after the boiling or you boil it in a tea bag so you can retrieve it?

Cameron 11/12/2018 at 03:39am
Hi MarkT. I peel some ginger root and cut up into pieces. I take the ginger root and cinnamon sticks and put them in a muslin bag and tie it up.
Here's the muslin bags:

I tie a piece of cloth rope on the muslin bag and put it in the boiling wort. I used to put it in at 60 min but I tried something different this the last batch I did a week ago. I put it in with 15 min left and at flame out I just left them in for another 15 or so minutes before I started chilling the wort. I came up with that routine because you are basically making a tea in the wort. I occasionally dunk it in and out of the wort like a tea bag.

Here are two links about making cinnamon and ginger tea:

What's funny is last week when I made it I was a little low with my OG and I see that I forgot to grind and add 1.24 lbs of Wheat. I'm interested in seeing what affect that has on the finished product. Happy Brewing !


Craigerrr 11/19/2018 at 10:00pm
Hey Cameron
I have been eyeing this recipe for a while.
I was in "The Land" last weekend and enjoyed the GLBC Christmas Ale at City Tap.
Decision made, must try this!
Going to brew your recipe up this coming weekend. Couple of questions:

Cameron 11/19/2018 at 10:21pm
Hi Craigerrr Awesome. Let me know how it went or if you would change anything. Prost !

Craigerrr 11/20/2018 at 03:00pm
I am thinking of subbing either fuggles, or east kent hops as I have some on hand. I have been told either is a good substitution to style. What do you think (it is your recipe after all). I can afford to buy the mount hood if you think the subs I mention don't fit. Let me know what you think.

Cameron 11/20/2018 at 03:48pm
Craigerrr, using Fuggles as a replacement to Mt Hood seems like a reasonable substitution. The Alpha Acids are really close. I just kegged 5 gallons of this recipe last night. I might add a little more cinnamon and ginger next time. It tastes great just not a perfect clone, but really close. Let me know how it goes.

J4N 08/25/2019 at 02:03pm
You have 2x the honey(in fermentable and in misc), do you use it twice, or is it an error?

Cameron 08/25/2019 at 02:56pm
Hi J4N. It's only 1 lb per 5 gallon batch. You really can add it anywhere during the boil. The reason it's there in 2 different places is its a part of the fermentables so it's included with the grains but I have it with the "other ingredients" because it will remind me to add it to the boil as part of the brew day check list at 15 minutes left. Good luck if you decide to brew it. Let me know how it goes. Prost!

Bobh213 11/10/2019 at 07:33pm

Bobh213 11/10/2019 at 07:38pm
Brew pot is boiling away. I'm planning on adding tart cherry juice at the second fermentation. Found this great concentrated version from Singer Farms Naturals while at a garlic festival in Saugerties. NY. Figured I don't have time for the recipe to sit on whole fruit and have it for the holidays, so this seems like a good idea. Not sure if waiting for the second fermentation is the right spot to add it. Any thoughts?

Cameron 11/11/2019 at 03:00am
Hi Bobh213. That is really interesting that you are going to add tart cherry juice. It sounds yummy. Juice is something I haven't played with before. But because it is fermentable I wouldn't add it during fermentaion. Now I do know that when you add another fermentable like juice it will ferment out and make the beer really dry thus not getting the flavor you are looking for. You really need to look into how to brew a "shandy". A shandy is a beer mixed with another non-alcoholic drink. LIke Summer Shandy is Beer mixed with Lemonade. It's added to the keg while carbonating. Also you don't need to rack to a secondary fermenter. Lots of experiments done on this subject. Check out the Brulospher. Here is one of their exBEERiments about that subject. Let know how it goes. Prost !

perlenbach 11/17/2019 at 04:39pm
4 of 5

finally tasted the result - it is so far the best beer I have brewed. 4/5

Cameron 11/17/2019 at 10:40pm
Hi perlenbach. That's awesome ! I just kegged 10 gallons of it today. Tasted great. Thank you for the feedback. Enjoy !

inviart 12/04/2019 at 02:13pm
5 of 5

Jtac616 12/05/2019 at 12:41am
Just finished kegging this and it tasted a bit dry on the sample. Added 2lbs of honey to a 10gal batch. FG was about 1.019. Will try again after carbed and ready. Maybe I’ll add more honey?

Cameron 12/05/2019 at 02:00am
Hi Jtac616. Actually if you had more honey it may continue fermenting and dry out more. It does change as it conditions in the keg. It may just be a bit young. What was your mash temp ? You want the mash to be 154-155. Take notes on that brew session and then next time you brew it, reduce the the amount of honey and/or mash at a higher temp. I just did a 10 gallon batch as well with 2 lbs of honey and it came out great. Sometimes just letting it age a little will change it's character. Prost !

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