This recipe is a model of the classic holiday ale originally brewed by Lake Erie. It features ginger, cinnamon, and a dollop of honey to create a wonderful ale that can be enjoyed year round. When brewed, expect a red colored beer with notes of spicy cinnamon and a touch of ginger and a delicious feature of honey. Perfectly red and spiced, this ale will bring winter comfort all year.
- Style: Winter Seasonal Beer
- Fermentation Range: 60-72°F
- Original Gravity: 1.074
- SRM: 12
- IBU: 25
- ABV: 7.6%
- Aroma: Sweet malt notes with a hint of earthy hops. Moderate aromas of balanced cinnamon and ginger.
- Appearance: Red in appearance with mahogany and ruby hues. Khaki foam head upon pouring, but dissipates quickly.
- Flavor: Moderate sweet malt quality with low to medium bitterness subsiding to gentle flavors of ginger and cinnamon.
- Mouthfeel: Medium body with smooth mouthfeel and a lingering finish.
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Notes from Brad, Northern Brewer Head Brewer:
“Taking inspiration from a seasonal beer brewed near Lake Erie, I have had the pleasure to brew Superior Christmas Ale (get it? Superior is a great lake…) Additions of cinnamon sticks and ginger root paired with a dose of honey gives this beer its signature flavor. It starts out as a delicious Amber Ale and the additions of spices and honey turn it into a different beast altogether. This smooth, albeit strong ale is the makings of a fantastic evening around the firepit or just sipping with a delicious home-prepared hearty meal. Or, you could just sip on this one year-round as it is not overly spiced, and still serves as a great sipper month after month.
For brewing notes, I was a little suspicious about boiling the ginger and cinnamon for the entirety of the boil, but man, it worked. I was initially a bit anxious about how it would turn out and was worried that boiling for that long would extract unpleasant qualities out of the spices. Nope. All of that fear was merely an exercise of futility. Once the boil has concluded, gently stir in the honey and proceed as normal. The honey will provide gentle flavors to compliment the beer, and will also serve to raise the original gravity as well and help the beer to attenuate a bit more than it would without the fermentable bee-provided addition. I hope everyone has a Superior holiday season!”
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