Happy Sunday Funday ya’ll! I managed to sneak in some pond hopping this weekend and there weren’t a ton of bites, but the bites I got were quality. I’m trying for the next six months to only throw baits I’m not comfortable with. In this case, I tried a swimbait and man am I hooked after the vicious strikes and big fish it led to! Anyways, after a long month, my first attempt at a Christmas Ale is ready. I made a couple of mistakes in the process so it didn’t come out nearly as strong (5% vs. 8.5%) as I wanted to but I learned a lot. The original name was Santa You’re Drunk, Go Home, but this isn’t that strong so I had to swap Drunk for Buzzed hence the title Santa You’re Buzzed, Go Home. This is an all grain bill brewed with plenty of spices and plums. Brewing with fruit is a first for me so here goes nothing!
Appearance: Well, I popped the top and it wasn’t flat or over carbonated, so that’s a start! I poured SYBGH into a tulip glass and it poured a beautiful ruby red with about a half inch off white head. The head is hanging around longer than a normal Christmas Ale, but that is due to the lower relative ABV.
Aroma: This has a ton of allspice and clove with hints of cinnamon on the back end. I’m not getting any hops and the aroma is fainter than I would’ve expected. I’m going to let this sit and warm up to see if the warmer beer will release a better aroma profile. Fast forward 30 minutes and I’m getting heavy spiced cookie notes like ginger snaps. Its definitely much fuller at 60 degrees than it was at 48 degrees.
Taste: If I had two words to describe this brew, it would be spicy and hoppy. I’m getting a ton of nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves that is followed up by a sharp and palate cleansing hop bitterness. Now that SYBGH has warmed to 56 degrees, there are great dark fruit undertones to it. It is much lighter and definitely more drinkable than a normal Christmas Ale. I accidentally over hopped it which helped add to the drinkability because the only hops I added were for bittering instead of flavor. So this bitterness stops any lingering flavors and leaves you refreshed. This is good, but doesn’t suit this style. Next time I brew this it will be sweeter and heavier on the dark fruits.
Mouthfeel: This is extremely light for the style and the carbonation helps add a crispness to it. I would equate this honestly to a Yuengling or a Shiner Bock.
Value: Not counting my time, this was a very expensive brew. Out the door I’m looking at about $3.50 per finished beer. However, next time I’ll get much more bang for my buck when I start with enough mash water AND a higher ABV when I don’t have to cut it at the end.
Overall: This is definitely not your classic style of Christmas Ale, but it honestly suits the Florida climate much better than your heavier ales do. Its 78 outside right now and I just got back from fishing. Drinking a 10%+ behemoth would be like drinking my dinner right now. I’m extremely pleased with the results even though this wasn’t what I had in mind to start. Its complex but somehow light with a palate cleansing bitterness that adds an unexpected drinkability. As Bob Ross once said there “no mistakes, just happy accidents”.
Until next time, tight lines and cheers!