Tastings » 12 Beers of Christmas Tastings!

12 Beers of Christmas Tastings!

This page is dedicated to the 12 Beers of Christmas and will be updated each day with information about each beer on it’s specific day.  Here is the schedule for the beers with links to jump to each specific section of the page.

December 26th – Spiced Cherry Dubbel

Brewed by Timothy Adams
Link to the recipe
Identifying Marks: Oval labeled sticker on neck.

Sharp and wonderfully tart, the cherries blend nicely with the spice and fruit flavors of the Belgian yeast.

Tim: Hi thank you all for the chance to brew a beer for everyone to enjoy during the festive holidays. this beer was fun to brew and not difficult at all. the hardest part was finding cherries to use as the crops this year were not good. I wanted fresh picked cherries but had to use frozen cherries. I used five pounds of sweet and five pounds of sour cherries and some pureed cherries in the secondary. I wanted to use a lot of cherries because I wanted it to age well. I used some cinnamon(1 stick per gallon) sticks in the secondary also but I don’t think it was enough(try 2 sticks pre pound maybe even 3) because I don’t tastes it. also I used Vienna malt instead of Munich, light brown sugar for the sugar additions, the rest was pretty much to the recipe.  the only thing I would change is to put the almond extract in right before bottling I think it would compliment it very well and tie every thing together better. all in all it turned out very well in the end, and aging defiantly helped in making this beer.  feel free to ask any questions. thank you again for enjoying by beer and have fun. 

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December 27th – Spiced Dunkel Weizenbock

Brewed by Brian Salapek
Link to the recipe
Identifying Marks: “WB” in sharpie on golden cap.

Way too smooth for the alcohol.  Full malt flavor but crisp finish with a great balance with the bitterness.  Spices so subtle, they are almost unnoticed.

Brian: I picked this beer because it was the last one to be claimed.  The recipe was very straight forward and easy to brew.  I was a little concerned but intrigued by the caraway seed in the spicing.  As it turns out, it all came together beautifully.  I opted for the German Altbier yeast in the recipe, rather than the Belgian Abbey.  I am very happy with the end result.

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December 28th – Juniper Rye Bock

Brewed by Greg Wigham
Link to the recipe
Identifying Marks: Round labeled sticker on cap.

Starts out with a chocolate nose, thin and smooth with a touch of juniper piney-ness on the end of the palate.

Greg: I chose this recipe because I’d been entertaining the idea of using juniper berries in a beer, rye is always a good addition and Bock is one of my favorite styles. Win, win, win. I put the recipe into my BeerSmith program and realized that it needed a little more color. 4 ounces of Carafa III did the trick. Darker color without the darker flavor. Juniper berries were added, per the recipe, during the mash, at the start of the boil and at flame-out. There wasn’t a lot of juniper flavor when I racked to secondary. I lagered for about 2 months. At bottling time I heated and crushed 8 ounces of juniper berries and put them in the bottling bucket with the priming sugar. Carbonation has been very random. Some bottles are flat while others are over active. Maybe should have let things blend a little more in the bottling bucket. Carbonation has been a letdown, but I like the aroma, color, body and flavor. I hope you do, too.

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December 29th – Fruitcake Old Ale

Brewed by Chris Konieczny
Link to the recipe
Identifying Marks: Blank Red Cap.

Nice dark fruit flavors with a touch of chocolate in this one.  Cherries, a little plum-y and a sight tartness.  Very drinkable!

Chris: I decided to do the fruitcake old ale just because I remember my grand mother making fruitcake bread when I was a yonng boy . so … It was a very easy beer to make . the only thing I would change is I would use fresh fruit . if you use dried fruit make sure you rehydrate with about 1/2 gallon of hot water . I was really surprised on how much of the fruit flavor came out in the beer a little disappointed with some of the spices that I was hoping to be a big part of the flavor . hope you enjoy happy brewing !

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December 30th – Belgian Tripel

Brewed by Jeff McCullor, Steve Anthony and Thomas McGrath Frank
Link to the recipe
Identifying Marks: Rubber Banded Label “X-Mas on Ice Station Erie”

A truly commercial quality tripel.  Pears, Belgian spice and a slight touch of alcohol warns you but gets you back for another sip.

Jeff: If you could bottle Rock Hudson and serve him at parties, this may not be it, but it’s still a pretty decent example of a Tripel (Mr. Hudson would kick your ass for using his name without permission). Since we don’t usually brew Belgians (that has since changed) we thought this was pretty true to style. We used a killer 2L yeast starter with some very happy Abbey Ale yeast. This beer sat in secondary for nearly 4 months and was still is a bit hot at bottling but we’re definitely happy with the results. With the snowfall amount already, the name fits it to a T.

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December 31st – Christmas Gruit

Brewed by Chris Page
Link to the recipe
Identifying Marks: Blank Golden Cap.

What an interesting beer.  It has a nice lacto tartness and some nice herbal spice.  The touch of smoke makes for something different and very good.

Chris: The Christmas Gruit is traditional gruit with yarrow, heather tips, and elderberry. Sour mashed for 30 hours and fermented with honey and a traditional Norse juniper extract. It is a delicious balance of sour and sweet with a hint of smoke. Ruby red in color and roughly 7.5% abv.

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January 1st – Honey Ginger IPA

Brewed by Jeremy Bloeser
Link to the recipe
Identifying Marks: Sticker Label “Hot Honey IPA”

A nice, pleasant ginger flavor leads the way in this malt-forward IPA.

Jeremy: This was my second attempt at the Ginger Honey IPA and I wanted to make sure the sweetness/maltiness came forward a little more. I added ginger in three forms: dry powedered, candied, and fresh ginger as they all add a slightly different flavor to the finished beer. I mashed slightly high and only added the ginger in the boil and early in fermentation with no dry hopping so accentuate the ginger but not make it over bearing. Overall I like the beer but would dry hop the next time to up the crispness as it leaves your tongue.

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January 2nd – Cranberry Lambicky Ale

Brewed by Brian Salapek
Link to the recipe
Identifying Marks: “CL” in sharpie on golden cap.

Brett-y funk strong in the nose with a little cranberry tartness.  Drinks easy and dry.  Can’t wait to see how it ages!

Brian: This beer started as an American wheat and then was racked onto 5 lbs of cranberries and the WYeast Belgian Lambic Blend.  The original beer had ~25 IBUs which kept the lacto from taking hold and getting tart.  It sat for 2 months on the fruit and was racked to a tertiary to clear for another month.  It didn’t clear much at all, and I wonder if it ever will.  The brett in the beer will continue to grow and change the end product.  It’s probably worth saving a bottle of this beer to drink in a year or 18 months.

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January 3rd – Gingerbread Ale

Brewed by Nathan Angerett
Link to the recipe
Identifying Marks: Labeled Sticker on Neck.

Great cinnamon gingerbread flavor through and through.  The spice is just perfect with the base brown ale.

Nathan: I started out making a brown ale and added a blend of spices.  I decided to use my new kegs and the beer started with an overwhelming banana bread taste, essentially the yeast at the bottom of the keg.  After it cleared up, the banana bread disappeared but so did the gingerbread flavor which tasted great out of the secondary.  I added more spices and vanilla extract as well only to find my CO2 tank was empty on the Friday night before the exchange.  Lucky Jim McCall lent me a tank and showed me how to bottle from a keg.  So, due to the help of several people in the group I was able to trouble-shoot and get my beer together in time for the event.

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January 4th – Spiced Bourbon Stout

Brewed by Michelle and Brian Greenlee
Link to the recipe
Identifying Marks: Sticker Label “Fighting Petunia” Bourbon Stout

There sure is a lot going on here.  Nice bourbon notes, oaky and pungent with spices.  Very nice!

Michelle: For our Spiced Bourbon Stout, we took our Oatmeal Stout recipe and spiced it with star anise, juniper berries, coriander, cinnamon, allspice, and vanilla extract soaked in bourbon and vodka. Our biggest concern was how overpowering the spices were gong to be. We made 6 sample bottles spiced at 3 different spiced levels. I liked the stronger spiced one and Brian liked the lower spiced one so we went with the middle level of spicing and are very happy with how it came out.

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January 5th – Abbey Weizen

Brewed by Don Maier
Link to the recipe
Identifying Marks: “115” in sharpie on golden cap.

Sharp apple tartness with some strange perfumey undertones.  Unfortunately, it seems something is wrong.

Don: This is a basic German Hefe recipe but using Belgian Ale yeast. My additions of orange peel, coriander and chamomile further accentuate the Belgian style. It’s light, cloudy, tart and highly carbonated. I detect the orange peel more than anything else.

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January 6th – Belgian Cider

Brewed by Timothy Adams
Identifying Marks: Green Bottle, labeled oval sticker on neck.

Smooth, dry and delicious.  The Belgian yeast blend nicely with this excellent cider.

Tim: the cider that was handed out with my beer was a test to see what would happen if I used Belgian yeast on a cider. I just went and bought cider from ortan’s fruit market in north east on R89. I added enough sugar to up the sg to 1.090. and pitched some Belgian yeast. the end result, well you see a Belgian cider. I tried to bottle condition it but I don’t know if it will carbonate as it sat and cleared very well. even if it dosent carb the sugar will add some sweetness to a wine like cider. I haven’t tried it in aabout a month and hope it is good. I liked it when it was fresh and did another batch that did not turn out very good. I think the cider had to many tart apples and it turned out ok. I ended up putting some hopes, and sorbate in it for about two weeks and force carbonating it. I then went back and sweetened it to taste. its still just ok. not a project I would do again. one thing I learned is good tasting cider will make good hard cider. so find good cider and you will have all the ingredients to make good hard cider.

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Posted in Tastings
One comment on “12 Beers of Christmas Tastings!
  1. jbloeser says:

    Very smooth and malty, definitely some spices in the background but they are subtle rather than in your face. The spice is most noticed in the aroma along with some sweetness. Great beer for a cold day of sled riding. Nice job Brian, I’m glad you got “stuck” with this one.

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