2014 version of my X-Mas Ale was based originally on a clone recipe I found (years ago) for Breckenridge Brewery's Christmas Ale. I don't know where the recipe would have come from, and it may be that I imagined this memory. Of course, even if it started as a clone, I would have made significant changes to it. That is just the way I do things. I never copy recipes completely.
Even so, I knew that I would be trying a side-by-side tasting of the two beers, just to see how they compared. I've done it a few times this year, and if you follow the SheppyBrew Facebook page, you may have seen pictures.
Until today, though, I have not gotten around to blogging about the comparison. Here we go ....
They are certainly not the same. They are both winter warmers, but I don't think anyone who tried them both would confuse the two.
My beer is significantly darker in color. It also is fuller bodied and has more caramel sweetness. My bottles were a little inconsistent on carbonation, but on average they are much more carbonated than Breckenridge's.
The Breckenridge beer has more of a roast character and comes across much drier. It also has more hop character. The malt base has more of a"grainy" flavor.
According to the Breckenridge website, my measured ABV is exactly the same as theirs.
They are both great winter warmers. If I'm honest, I think I prefer the Breckenridge Beer. I think that next year I will cut down on the caramel malt in my X-Mas ale and perhaps add a touch of roasted malt. I think I'll try to make it a bit happier as well.
So they you go. Now you have my comparison.
Happy New Year. Go Blackhawks!