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Recipe Review Requested! Christmas Ale

Hi there,

On another post, someone made the great suggestion of posting a recipe idea for review and comment. Here is mine that I plan to brew this Saturday. The goal is for a mid to higher abv with lots and lots spice! Comments, suggestions, warnings! I will gladly accept all.

9.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L
5.0 oz Chocolate Malt

4.00 oz Malto-Dextrine
10 lbs Amber Liquid Extract
1.00 oz Northern Brewer Hops - Boil 60.0 min
0.50 oz Vanilla Extract Powder (Boil 15.0 mins)
1.00 tbsp Ginger (Boil 15.0 mins)
0.02 oz Yeast Nutrient (Boil 15.0 mins)
2.00 tsp Cinnamon (Boil 15.0 mins)
2.00 tsp Cloves (Boil 15.0 mins)
0.50 tsp Nutmeg (Boil 15.0 mins)
0.25 tsp Anise, Star (Boil 15.0 mins)
14.1 oz Corn Sugar (Dextrose) [Boil for 15 min]
0.50 oz Vanilla Extract Powder (Boil 5.0 mins)
0.25 tsp Anise, Star (Boil 5.0 mins)

2.0 pkg California Ale V (White Labs #WLP051) with Starter

You should get a lot of spice flavor from it. To much for my palate.

Same here…but then again I’m a traditionalist and have a prejudice against spices in Christmas Ales (the very best commercial ones I’ve had were unspiced).

But my own prejudices aside, you may want to dial back the spices a bit…they do seem a bit much. But if that’s what you’re going for, the spice quantities you indicate should pack a pretty good punch. Only your own palate has the answer though…Id’ say go ahead and brew it and assess the results for any needed adjustments for next time. Really, experimentation is the only way to find out.

I may heed your warnings. These amounts of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove were the slighty over-the-top measurements I was thinking about. perhaps I will dial it back to 3/4 of those measurements.

I would cut the spices by half. Better yet, soak all of them in vodka and add to taste after the base beer is done.

Great Lakes, probably my favorite christmas ale, I think only uses a touch of cinnamon, ginger and clover honey once fermentation is going. Great, great beer (though it supposedly has gone downhill over the years…)

I have made the Brewer’s Best Christmas ale and Pumpkin spiced porter a few times. Both are a little overspiced. I don’t notice it as much with the Christmas ale. With dessert, it hits the spot.

These are all great, great comments! Please keep them coming! One thing I failed to mention is that I am hoping to brew in the direction of a Jul Øl, which is Christmas Ale in Scandinavian. In my native country ( i live in the US now for over half my life) we drink this beer at Christmas evevning (and X-mas parties) with Aquavit. Aquavit is a schnapps that is exceptionally strong, and very difficult to swallow. The goal of the Jul Øl is a chaser to the Aquavit; the beer is something to sweeten and lighten your taste buds after you just down a sip (or shot) of Aquavit.

To give you an idea of a shandy I used to serve along side of Aquavit: 2 parts Carlsberg Lager, 1 Part Guinness, a quarter part sprite (or sugar water) and an eight-part Madeira. After that blast of Aquavit, you need something to calm your taste buds.


wow, very cool. Have you had any luck in finding recipes of Jul 0l (sorry don’t know how to make the right character)? I have to imagine there are some floating around on the web…Does yours compare to anything you have found?

The easiest way to control flavor of spices/adjuncts is to add them to vodka, soak for a week, and dose the finished beer with different amounts.

“Aquavit”…Caraway liquor, yes?

I’ve tried it before…Was touted to be “smooth”, but I beg to differ!

The story behind it was , it got it’s “smoothness” from the “gentle rocking motion of the Viking ship hulls”, on the long voyages the took…

AHHH! I remember discovering AASS Juleøl sometime in the late '70s and used to buy it every year for a long time until it disappeared (at least in NJ).
That was a really fine brew!
Not a spiced beer, but one with really rich character. Wish I could find it again to refresh my memory regarding it’s profile.

Off hand though, my admittedly failing memory suggests that perhaps a recipe for an English ESB or even an Old Ale but fermented with a lager yeast may come pretty close to the AASS Juleøl I remember enjoying 35+ years ago.

I may just have to test that theory this weekend!

AAS jul Ol is fantastic! I havent seen it in many years either, here in the states. Sigh…

Yes, Aquavit is a caraway and anise based flavoring, and yes, they beleive it is very smooth. I also beg to differ! There is only one brand that retains the tradition of shipping the aquavit to get “smoothness” and that is a brand named Linnie. Every cask has to cross the equator twice before it is bottled. Every bottle has a ship name, dates and a map of the route the ship took. Pretty cool!

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