Over the years, they have been very similar base beers. They range in color from a darker amber ale to a dark brown ale. They range in ABV from around 5.5% to over 8.3%.
Most have had non-traditional beer flavoring. A couple have simply been base beers.
The very first one (2009) was an extract Brown Ale at about 5.7% ABV. Along with the extracts, the beer had Cherries, Honey, Almond Extract, Vanilla Extract, and Ground Cloves.
2010 was an all - grain batch, slightly darker than 2009. With an ABV closer to 8%. It contained Cinnamon, Cherries, and Apple Pie Spice.
2011 was a 7.3% ABV brown ale with Hazelnut Extract flavoring.
2012 was 8.3% with Peppermint Extract.
2013 was a 7.8% Smoked Beer.
2014 was the base beer without flavoring. 7.4% ABV.
2015 was also the base beer without flavoring. 7% ABV.
2016 was another peppermint beer. A little lower ABV at 6.3%.
2017 was even lower ABV at 5.5% and flavored with Blueberry Extract.
Now here we are in 2019.
I want to brew this weekend. I don't know what I want to brew.
Generally, the beer-flavored beers are my favorite ones (2014 and 2015). But, X-Mas Ales are somewhat special. They should have something different about them.
The Beer Model says that she always likes the peppermint beers the best (2012 and 2016). But, I've done that twice, and think maybe I should do something different.
Maybe I should compromise and simply do a peppermint beer with less peppermint flavor than 2012 and 2016.
I don't know.
I do have some beer flavoring extracts accumulated from beers I've brewed over the past year or so. i could just throw one of those in the beer.
The good news is ... I don't really have to decide by this weekend. Generally, I add my flavoring either in secondary or right as I keg.
Let me know if you have suggestions.