Holiday Ale

ABV: 6.0%    IBU: 17 SRM: 10


A refreshing holiday ale present to the craft beer drinker involving a clear and bright flavor mash-up of cranberry and apple with a finish of cinnamon. A fruity taste with cider hints gives the holiday season a light, fun easy drinking option for the festivities.


Recipe Goals:  To create a holiday ale that would give the drinker a nice alternative to the flood of dark winter beers that seem to become available during this time. To make a fruity winter beer that does not have the citrus or sugary sweet characteristics many round seasonal beers are known for.

Background:   This holiday ale is based on the Autumn Seasonal style and provides an amber colored, cinnamon spiced beer that is thin but rich in body and has a slightly warming finish suggesting a good accompaniment for the cool fall/winter seasons. Clear, well-carbonated and easy drinking party beer.

Tasting Notes:   Balance is the key in making a good seasonal beer. The special ingredients should complement the base beer and not overwhelm it. In this beer the apple and the cranberry meet up on the tongue in a wonderful way and mix with the carbonation and the cinnamon finish to give the taster a delightful culinary experience. While this is considered a ‘spice’ beer our version is more centered around the flavored extracts than the spices and the malt characteristics are supporting elements only.

History:  Seasonal beers use spices to create a “frame of reference unique to that season”. Traditionally, bock was a seasonal beer brewed at winter for consumption at both winter and during Lent and Easter in the spring. Seasonal beers produced for Thanksgiving and Christmas usually include pumpkin, orange zest and gingerbread-flavors. Christmas beer is seasonal beer spiced with a variety of unusual ingredients. Spices used in Christmas beer varieties includes allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and star anise. Christmas beers are sometimes referred to as winter warmers. This style of beer dates back to at least 2,000 years, when it was produced to celebrate the Saturnalia during winter – A tradition that was carried on in the Middle Ages by monks, who would produce beer for fasting periods.

Ingredients: Humbug has a base malt combination of both 2 and 6-row US Pale malt, providing the accent to that base are caramel crystal malt 10L, aromatic, Special B, Victory and melanoiden malts. Chinook is the only hop used with a late and early addition to the boil. And SafAle US-05 is the yeast, a stable and clean selection.

Food Pair:  Apple beers tend to have a light malty sweetness with a refreshing and crisp tartness with a balanced hint of bitterness. Fish and pork go well with these beer thanks to its fruit flavors and natural acidity, this style helps cleanse the palate without overpowering seafood dishes. The sweetness also contrasts perfectly against saltier options like smoked ham and savory pork. Cheese works well too: Smooth, earthy cheeses like Emmental (a Swiss, medium-hard cheese) balance out crisp, fruity flavors.

Vital Statistics:          BJCP Spiced Beer (30): Autumn Seasonal (30B)

For Style             ABV: 5.0 – 10.0%     IBUs: 5 – 50         SRM: 7 – 40

Humbug              ABV: 6.0%            IBU: 17            SRM: 10

ABV is Alcohol by Volume. Listed as a percentage volume. Average commercial beer ABV = 4.2%

IBU is International Bitterness Units. Measures bittering chemicals ranges from 0-120, but most beers are from 15-80.

SRM is Standard Reference Method. Measure of color. Scale of 0-40. From yellow, to amber/gold, to brown, to black.

Commercial Examples:   Christmas Leroy, Redd’s, Schram’s, Winter Welcome, Celebration

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