Christmas Brew

Christmas Day is for…making beer!

My recent equipment additions have made knocking out a quick three gallon batch so easy, even a cave man on Christmas could do it. In between making Christmas dinner rolls and Chocolate Mousse for dessert, I decided to make a little Christmas magic.

One limiting factor is fermenter space.  Having just adopted this three gallon fetish, I am not exactly overwhelmed with small fermenters. I opted to use a three gallon (ok, I have adopted metric but this is a case where saying an 11.4 liter carboy might be considered a bit pedantic) glass carboy, but that meant I would be limited to a slightly-less-than three gallon batch.  So I targeted final batch size of 10.5 liters, figuring with losses I would get 9.5 liters in the fermenter.

What to make?  Well I decided to try a Faux-toberfest, my name for an Octoberfest made with an ale yeast.  Why this?  Well I did not have a live yeast starter ready, so I had to rely on some Safale US-05 that I had lying around.  Most logically an American Pale or Amber Ale or even an IPA would follow, but I just really wasn’t in the mood for that.  A while back I purchased a half kilo (a pound, you know) of Melanoidin Malt.  I have never used this type of malt, its usual function is to add melanoidin flavors to beer in lieu of a decoction mash.  I also happen to have some Munich Malt and some Hallertau Tradition hops, so the die was cast.


Volume: 10.5 liters
OG: 12.5 °P / 1.050 sg

  • 41% Breiss US Two Row
  • 34% Weyermann Light Munich Malt
  • 16% Weyermann Dark Munich Malt
  • 5% CaraMunich Malt
  • 5% Melanoidin Malt

Mash 60 minutes at 68°C, 3 liters water per kilogram (that’s 154°F, about 1.5 quarts/pound)


  • 21 grams Hallertau Tradition at 55 minutes

Yeast: Safale US-05

Fermentation Temperature: 19° C (66°F)

The OG was a little lower than I wanted.  Two things conspired against me.  I ended up with a bit more wort from my mash runoff than anticipated, then for some reason by boil off rate was low.   Luckily my extraction efficiency was a it higher than expected, and with all of that I ended up with 12.5 liters at 1.050 instead of 10.5 at 1.055.  No biggie, it is Christmas you know.

Added 17 January 2012:

This beer finished at 2.8 ºP / 1.011 final gravity,  for 78% apparent attenuation and 5.2% ABV.  It was in the primary fermenter for three weeks, though most of the time it was in a refrigerator.  I transferred all of it to a keg and am now waiting for a tap to open up.  If this beer is no good it certainly won’t be for lack of aging.

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