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Holiday Homebrews

Holiday Homebrews

Dedicated brewers find their inspiration in many places; the time of year is always a strong influence. Fortunately, there are many great options for channeling the season into our brew kettles. Below are three beer recipes that embody the spirit of the winter holidays.

Belgian Fruit Cake Ale

Fruit cake gets a bum rap. It’s the gift that nobody wants. But how about a beer inspired by fruit cake?

That’s a different story entirely. Beer lovers would undoubtedly welcome this gift. And, if paired with fruit cake, it might actually make the original edible.

This is an all-grain recipe with a fairly large grain bill. Therefore, this is geared towards the slightly more experienced brewer. It includes dried figs and currants, which add a slight sweet fruit flavor to this full-bodied, complex beer. The Belgian yeast rounds out the flavor with a nice, spicy, dry finish. Special thanks go to Nick and Jimmy at Barry’s Homebrew Supply, who created this recipe.


8 lbs. Pilsner (2 Row)
2 lbs. 10.7 oz. Munich Malt
2 lbs. 10.7 oz. Vienna Malt
1 lb. 0.3 oz. Special B Malt
10.7 oz. Cara-Pils/Dextrine
10.7 oz. Victory Malt
5.3 oz. Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L
5.3 oz. Caramel/Crystal Malt – 80L
1 lb. Candi Sugar, Dark (180.0 SRM)
3.00 oz. Styrian Goldings [3.80 %] (Boil 60.0 min.)
1.50 oz. Saphir [4.00 %] (Boil 30.0 min.)
2.00 oz. Saaz [2.00 %] – (Boil 10.0 min.)
7 oz. Dried Figs (Boil 15 mins.)
7 oz. Dried Currants (Boil 10 mins.)
1.00 Items Servomyces (Boil 10 mins.)
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10 mins.)
Abbey IV Ale Yeast (White Labs #WLP540)

Info & Process:
Est. Original Gravity: 1.091 SG
Est. Final Gravity: 1.012 SG
ABV: 10%

Mash: Single Infusion, Light
Volumes of CO2: 2.3


Spruce Ale

With a Christmas tree in almost every home, spruce is a scent and flavor that is clearly associated with the holiday season. Here’s a beer with a unique spruce flavor and it pairs well with any meat traditionally served at a holiday meal.

This is a 5 gallon partial mash recipe, so it’s a great beer for brewers at any level.  Be aware that the adjuncts have very strong flavors, so it’s best to start out with modest amounts and add more in the later stages of fermentation if necessary. Thanks go to award-winning home brewer Mike Sodano for sharing this recipe.


5 lbs. Light LME
1 lb. Amber LME
2.5 lbs. Belgian Biscuit
.5 lbs. Crystal 70L
.25 lbs. Molasses
1 oz. Kent Golding (Boil 60 min.)
4 oz. Spruce tips (cleaned) – (Boil 10 min.)
Irish Moss (Boil 10 min.)
British Ale Yeast

Info & Process:

Est. Original Gravity: 1.066 SG
Est. Final Gravity: 1.013 SG
ABV: 7%

Steep grains in 4.5 gal at 155F for 45 min.
Sparge with 1 gal at 175F


Eggnog Porter

Everyone enjoys eggnog during the holiday season. So why not create a beer that mimics that flavor? Since eggnog is traditionally prepared with cinnamon and nutmeg, mixing those spices with a milk-stout recipe produces a beer reminiscent of this holiday favorite.

This is another all-grain recipe, so it’s for the slightly more advanced brewer. To experiment further, you can also mix in other items associated with eggnog, such as cloves or mint. Or, try aging this brew in a brandy barrel or with soaked woodchips to enhance the taste.

7 lbs. Pale Malt (2 Row)
2 lbs. Munich Malt – 20L
1 lb. Barley, Flaked
1 lb. Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L
1 lb. Chocolate Malt
1 lb. Oats, Flaked
1 lb. Milk Sugar (Lactose)


1.50 oz. Styrian Goldings [5.50 %] (Boil 60.0 min.)
1.50 oz. Styrian Goldings [5.50 %] (Boil 10.0 min.)
4 cinnamon sticks (Boil 15 min.)
1 tsp. nutmeg (Boil 10 min.)
Irish Moss (Boil 10 min.)
2 vanilla beans (split) – Secondary for 1 week
American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056)



Est. Original Gravity: 1.072 SG
Est. Final Gravity: 1.01 SG
ABV: 6.8%

Mash: Single Infusion, Light
Volumes of CO2: 2.3





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