Top 5 Five Winter and Holiday Beer Recommendations

By Bryce Eddings, About.com Guide

Winter and the holiday season see a lot of really good, small production seasonal brews in the form of Christmas beers and winter warmers. Christmas beers are often malty and complex although there are no rules for how they should be brewed. Some are made with fruit or spice and some rely on artful malt or hops combination for wonderful complexity. The winter warmers are similar though they are rarely made with any adjuncts. Both typically contain more than usual alcohol and are usually available from November to February.

And so, in no particular order, here are my Christmas and winter beer selections.

1. Samichlaus

The king of Christmas beers, Samichlaus is the highlight of the holiday season for many beer enthusiasts. It is a rich, aged doppelbock brewed at the Austrian brewery Schloss Eggenberg.

2. Samuel Adams Winter Classics

This mix pack contains a variety of beers. This makes it a nice way to try some unusual beer for beer lovers who are just discovering craft beer. Though it can change from year to year the mix pack often contains Boston Lager, Old Fezziwig Ale, Winter Lager, Holiday Porter, Black Lager, and Cranberry Lambic.

Custom Laser Cutting - any shape and design holiday cards

Cut any shape and design holiday cards

3. Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

How do you say Merry Christmas to a hop-head? With a six pack of Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada. Besides have a pretty significant bitterness at 62 IBUs, this beer is also dry hopped which raises the hops in the aroma and flavor.

4. Samuel Smiths Winter Welcome Ale

Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome is a traditional winter warmer and in many ways has served as the modern benchmark for the style. It is big in flavor and alcohol. Though maltiness dominates it does have a good bit of balancing hops as well as hints of apples and caramel.

5. Odell Brewing Co. Isolation Ale

Odell Brewing brews Isolation Ale as their winter seasonal. This beer is packed with hops character without a lot of the bitterness. It’s a bit unusual as a wintertime beer in that it does not carry the huge, dark malt flavors of many of the others.

To read this full article, check out: Top 10 Ten Winter and Holiday Beer Recommendations

Also, if you are looking for great custom beer labels make sure you check out: Custom beer labels

15 Summertime Recipes

Most of us don’t need an excuse to celebrate summer weather. Brewfests and competitions abound, family reunions are planned and backyard parties pop up — even wardrobes get the special treatment with short sleeves and sandals. So why not brew something that tastes great at the beach or barbecue, a thirst-quencher that goes down great after a day of gardening or while grilling?

Summer brewing doesn’t differ that much from brewing during the other seasons. You may slap a few more mosquitoes while mashing, but the biggest difference comes when it’s time to chill your wort and maintain your fermentation temperature.  When making a summer brew, make sure to check the temperature of your chilled wort (with a sanitized thermometer).  As your tap water is likely warmer in the summer, you may need to add a few more ice cubes to your water bath to cool your wort down to proper fermentation temperatures. Likewise, higher outside temperatures means your usual “cool spot” in the house may be too warm for fermenting.

Try one of these tried and true seasonal recipes from homebrew shops across the country. (BYO calculated the brewing statistics, such as OG and IBU.) Or, use them as inspiration for designing your own summer sipper. In this collection, we present a beach-ready golden ale from the U.S. Gulf Coast, a Mexican lager from California (lime optional), a crisp rye pale ale from Vancouver and many more. Feeling refreshed yet?

DeFalco’s Golden Ale
DeFalco’s Home Wine & Beer Supplies
Houston, Texas

www.defalcos.com
(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)
OG = 1.047  FG = 1.011
IBU = 23  SRM = 5  ABV = 4.6%
It’s so bloody hot on the Gulf Coast, this summer recipe is popular pretty much year ‘round.

Ingredients

6.0 lbs. (2.7 kg) Alexander’s Pale liquid malt extract
(or 5.0 lbs. (2.3 kg) Muntons Extra
Light dried malt extract)
1 lb. (0.45 kg) domestic two-row pale malt
0.5 lb. (0.23 kg) CaraPils® malt
6 AAU Cascade hops (45 mins)
(1.0 oz./28 g of 6% alpha acid)
2.25 AAU Liberty hops (10 mins)
(0.5 oz./14.2 g of 4.5% alpha acid)
2.25 AAU Liberty hops (0 mins)
(0.5 oz./14.2 g of 4.5% alpha acid)
1 pkg. Burton water salts
1 pkg. Nottingham Ale or Wyeast 1056
(American Ale), 1007 (German Ale), White Labs WLP001
(California Ale) or WLP 029 (German Ale) yeast.
1 pkg. Bru-Vigor
0.75 cup corn sugar (for priming)

Step by Step

In a small saucepan, bring a gallon (3.8 L) of water to 160–170 °F (71–77 °C). Add the bag of grains and water salts and steep 30 minutes. Now, gently sparge (rinse) the grains with hot tap water (ideal temperature 168 °F/76 °C) and bring the total volume up to two or more gallons in your brewpot. Bring to boil.

Turn off heat and add malt extract. Return to boil, add the hops at the times specified in the ingredient list. Add the last does of Liberty hops and immediately turn off heat. Let stand for 20-30 minutes in a cooling bath. Pour the cooled wort into the fermenter. Bring the volume up to five gallons (19 L). If the temperature is less than 80 °F (27 °C), pitch the yeast and the packet of Bru-Vigor (if using) into the wort and place the lid and airlock over the fermenter. Ferment at 65–70 °F (18–24 °C). After fermentation, check the specific gravity. The F.G. should be 1.011 or less. If it is higher than 1.016, allow to ferment and settle for a few more days. Prime and bottle. Allow beer to age at room temperature for at least two weeks. Peak flavor is reached after six weeks.

To read this full article, check out: 15 Summertime Recipes