Every year, the beer is a similar base with some "Christmasy" flavoring added.
2009 was an extract kit with Cherries, Almond Extract, Vanilla Extract, Cinnamon, and Cloves.
Over the years, I 've done a Hazelnut X-Mas Ale, Peppermint X-Mas Ales, Cherry Pomegranate ... all kinds of things.
I've even brewed just the base beer a couple of times.
I got started a bit late this year (much like last year). Generally, it is ideal to have this beer ready for Thanksgiving.
However, this year, I didn't even decide on what I would make until a few days ago. I brewed the beer this past Sunday.
This year's version is a little lower in alcohol than usual, designed to weigh in at around 6.2% ABV as opposed to the usual 7ish ABV.
The flavoring I decided to go with is Vanilla. I'll use both vanilla beans in a secondary and vanilla flavoring at kegging.
Brew day went pretty well, although I did have issues.
I misplaced the little clamp I use to control the recirculation flow, and as a result I ended up with an overflow in the mash which resulted in grains in the wort.
This, in turn caused issues with the pump. Eventually, I got the flow control jerry-rigged, and everything turned out fine. I did end up having to use gravity to transfer to the fermentor, but that's ok.
Everything else turned out great, and I ended up with an OG right on plan and a little more wort in the fermentor than I had planned for.
I was basically done with the brew day by 9:30 am.
I'll let the beer ferment for about a week, and then transfer to secondary with the vanilla beans. My plan is to leave the beer on the beans for about a week and then keg.
We should be drinking this early in the week leading up to Christmas.
And .. then I'll have a bunch into the New Year.
Should be yummy. I'm sure everyone who tries it will like it.
I'll be sure to report how it turns out.
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