Christmas Ale – 2014

Each year, I try to make my signature Christmas ale that I first brewed a few years ago. The original batch was an experiment where I dosed the wort of an American amber with some mulling spices. The result wasn’t bad but had too much clove. I’ve since refined the recipe and have cut back significantly on the clove.

The first ever batch of my Christmas ale was an extract brew – 2 x 3.3lb cans of amber LME and some hops. Pitched some dry yeast and I had beer a few weeks later. The end result didn’t taste bad, but the beer lacked body and depth. I played with the recipe and incorporated steeped specialty grains, which helped the beer a lot.

I now brew all grain and lately I’ve been brewing a lot using the brew in a bag (BIAB) method. I brewed my Christmas ale two weeks ago and it’s happily fermenting away. I’m feeling a bit festive so I’d like to share the recipe with you all for my Christmas ale.


11 lbs Pearl Malt (an English Pale Malt)
1 lb Munich Malt
1 lb Flaked Wheat
12 oz Crystal 45 (English)
8 oz Chocolate Malt
8 oz Crystal 120


1 oz Chinook pellets – 60 minute boil
.5 oz Centennial pellets – 15 minutes whirlpool


Add 42.34 qts of water at 163.1F
Mash at 156F for 60 minutes
Heat to 168F for 7 minutes and mash out

Specialty Ingredients

1 Whirfloc tablet, last 15 minutes of boil
.5 oz of mulling spices with whole cloves removed, last 15 minutes of boil
3-5 whole cloves, last 15 minutes of boil


Bring to a vigorous rolling boil for 90 minutes and add hops and specialty ingredients at their respective times


I normally use either WLP001 California Ale liquid yeast or Nottingham dry yeast, but I’m trying a different yeast for this brew at the recommendation of a my LHBS.

Chill and oxygenate the wort
Pitch 2 packets of rehydrated Mangrove Jack M44 West Coast Ale yeast
Ferment at 65-70F for 15 days

Dry Hop

I dry hop toward the end of fermentation for 5-7 days.

.5 oz of Centennial
.5 oz of Cascade
.5 oz mulling spice (whole cloves removed)


This yeast was a very slow starter. There were no visible signs of fermentation after 24 hours. Finally after about 30 hours, a thin krausen formed on top and grew to about 2 inches thick. Things finally settled after about 10 days.

Here are some pics of the ingredients and brew process. I have a few more days before I measure gravity and decide whether to keg or condition. I’ll post an update then. Again – this is for the BIAB method. If you would like this to be converted to extract or standard all-grain, let me know and I’ll post the converted recipes and process.


14.75 pounds of malty goodness

Mmmmm...hops! Boil!Pre-boil Gravity 1.046CA-ferm


  • Robert Anderson

    Sound’s great. you left at what type of hop’s for the 60 minute addition. I have used the Mangrove Jacks west coast ale yeast, great stuff.

    • Doh! Thanks for pointing that out, Robert. I updated the post. I used Chinook for the 60 minute addition. I love the combo of Chinook, Centennial and Cascade :)