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Planning holiday beers

I looked at the brewing calendar and I want to know if my logic is flawed.
it seems that they recommend brewing closer to the dates than I am comfortable with. I plan on doing the “Smashing Pumpkin” as soon as my Pie Pumpkins are ripe, around September 1st. I plan on bottling my Christmas Barley Wine that I brewed New Years Eve no later than Oct 1st. for really nice bottle aging. From experience aging really seems to help larger/spiced beers. Am I wrong? Thanks.

I prefer to have the beers ready a little earlier, too, when gifting. One year I just wasn’t pleased with my spiced pumpkin ale near the holidays, so I gave away other beers that I had on hand (bottled from my kegs to do it). I wish I had left more time for the pumpkin beer to mellow out, since it became more palatable after a few more months. That batch told me to prepare earlier and, if something goes terribly wrong, you can always do a lighter ale (if need be) a month or so out from the holidays for gifting!

This reminds me that I have to get a batch of Denny’s wry smile going in September… I have a partner that has been asking for months about it.

You’re totally right. I’d say 2 months is, if anything, too short. This obviously depends on the beer, but many barleywines improve for many months.

I would agree as well. I would give my pumpkin ale 2 months AT LEAST. My christmas beers are made at least 4 months in advance. It seems like the more spices you use the longer you should age to let them mellow and age, unless you are going for a “specific” taste.

Totally agree my pumpkin was way better 2 months later than expected…planned on Oct 1st but was way better on Dec 1st!

That is why I am doin my pumpkin and Christmas Ale by Labor Day if possible.


I like to get mine started earlier as well. Those pumpkin ales definitely benefit from the further aging. Plus, I won’t even gift a BW that doesn’t have more than a year of age on it.

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