From the Back Room – Brewer’s Best Holiday Ale

Husband and I dabble in home brewing.  We’ve made about 6 Brewers Best  beer kits now, American Cream Ale, English Bitter, Summer Ale, Dunkleweisen, Weizenbier and I’m damned if I can remember the other one.  To start off 2012 right we started the Holiday Ale. Evidently the yeasties were all excited about this, because the secured lid was lifted right off the fermenting bucket and we had brown foam everywhere.  Up in the fermenting lock, on the floor, etc.  It hissed and burbled for about 36 hours, and scared the cats who were quite sure that it was going to eat them.  First time that ever happened with any kit.  We’re guessing the fairly sweet wort had something to do with it.  So, warning, put the primary fermenter in a garbage bag.  Considering the sheer volume of the burbling, this is going to be our JabberBock. (I believe that New Holland Brewing has a Jabberbocky on tap.) 

Holiday Ale

Half-liter mug and a 16 oz bottle

The description that BB gives is “full bodied amber beer has a rich malty character that is flavored with orange peel, cinnamon, and other spice.  It is a complex winter brew, balanced with high alpha-acid hops.”  From the picture, you can tell that it isn’t very “amber”, much more of a dark brown in color.  Held to a strong light source, it is a very dark amber, with just a touch of red.  This was run through a secondary fermentation, so it’s fairly clear, but all  of our beers are hazy since we don’t see much point in trying to make it crystal clear.  The head is the color of a nice espresso crema and lacy.  The ABV came out to 7%.

The flavor is pretty much what BB describes but I’ve yet to really taste any spices or orange distinctly in any supposedly spiced beers (or rums, etc).  They all blend with the caramel notes of the beer to make a warm rich flavor with a long finish.  It does have a definite sweetness but not overpowering.  I’d definitely call it a bock in style, and it reminds us very much of Erie Brewing’s Fallenbock (yes, I know that their bock is a lager; bocks started out as ales AFAIK).  BTW, all ofErie’s beers are pretty darn good, often fairly high ABVs and nicely smooth.

The bottle in the photo is one of our old returnable sixteen ounce Gennesee Cream Ale bottles. The light bands on it are from them making many trips through the filling machines. Alas, they no longer make returnable 16’s of Genny.  

Currently, we have Northern Brewer’s Hefeweizen in the primary fermenter.

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2 responses to “From the Back Room – Brewer’s Best Holiday Ale

  1. I’m two years late posting this, but I thought I’d let you know that Erie’s Fallenbock is not actually a lager, thus it is not actually a Bock. I learned this when I visited their brewery in 2013 and asked how they controlled their fermentation temperatures for their Fallenbock. The tour guide confessed that it’s made with an ale yeast. I was sad…
    So now you know!

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