The Countdown to Christmas (Ale)

in Christmas Ale, Wine Making & Home Brewing

Cousin Eddie's Christmas Ale

This year, Christmas falls on December 2nd. That’s because no beer in this house has ever had higher expectations, created more excitement and anticipation than our 2012 Christmas Ale.

It’s a strong ale aged with bourbon-soaked oak chips and vanilla beans. And if it’s half as good as the homebrew that inspired it, it’s going to be downright fabulous. We’re officially calling it – after a major compromise on my part this week – Cousin Eddie’s Christmas Ale. Yes, that Cousin Eddie.

(You get imaginary, useless bonus points that aren’t redeemable for anything if you know what I originally named it.)

1835 Bourbon

We started with this recipe and then my beer guy made adjustments to target a 9.5% ABV.

While the brew was in primary last week, we soaked 3 split vanilla beans and 2 oz of oak chips in a Texas-made bourbon. And that heavenly (HEAVENLY) mixture went into secondary this weekend. In 3 weeks, we’ll transfer the brew to a keg to age another 3 weeks. And then we’re officially calling it Christmas 🙂

Cousin Eddie's Christmas Ale

Report from ProMash for 5.00 gal Anticipated OG 1.089 Anticipated IBU 37.5 Color 24.2


  • 5 lbs Briess LME-Gold
  • 5 lbs Briess LME-Weizen
  • 2 lbs 2-Row
  • .5 lb Biscuit Malt
  • .5 lb Cara-Pils
  • .25 lb Carafa
  • .25 lb Chocolate Malt
  • .25 lb Melanoidin Malt
  • .75 oz Northern Brewer
  • .5 oz Kent Golding
  • Wyeast 1056
  • 3 Vanilla beans
  • 2 oz French oak chips
  • 1 cup bourbon


  1. Add Northern Brewer hops at 60.
  2. Add Golding hops at 45.
  3. After fermentation starts, transfer primary to chiller for 7 days at 68F.
  4. Meanwhile, add vanilla beans, oak chips, and bourbon to sanitized bowl with lid and let steep in the fridge for the duration of primary fermentation.
  5. On day 8, transfer to secondary and add the contents of the bourbon bowl (liquid and all) to secondary fermenter for 21 days at 68F.
  6. Bottle or keg, condition for 21 days.


Yields: 5 gallon batch

Based on Vanilla Bourbon Winter Ale

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