Secret Xmas 2012

My wife likes Christmas beers. My kids and I are making this for her as a Christmas present.


Batch size: 2 gallons

Grain bill:

  • 1400 g pale malt (yeah, I'm using metric for this one)
  • 100 g Cara 8 (I'm out of Crystal!)
  • 50 g pale chocolate malt


  • 1 oz Willamette (5.8%) @ 60 mins


  • Safale S-04


  • Vanilla bean and pepper soaked in cinnamon whiskey

Brew Day

November 11, 2012: The recipe is based on one I was going to do last year, only back then I had crystal malt. I have none now (!), so I had to go for Cara 8 instead. This isn't going to be a very sweet beer...

Ground the barley with the kids and cut up a vanilla bean to soak in cinnamon whiskey, which I'm planning to add at bottling. Kind of winging it with the spices, so we'll see how it goes. I've only got about 2 oz or so of whiskey...may have to bump this up with some other spices or extracts.

I was aiming for a mash temp of abuot 70 C/158 F, but I think I probably hit a lot lower -- 65 C or so instead. My floating thermometer is the casualty of a long string of clumsiness, so I can't tell for sure. The hop addition ought to make about 30 IBUs or so.

Gravity into the fermenter was 1.048. The room where I ferment is going to be cold: it's about 12C right now. I'm curious to see how that'll affect fermentation. I may need to put it somewhere warmer in a few days; I want fermentation to be done quickly so I can get this in the bottle in time for Xmas.