8.7% ABV | 18 IBU
The Festivus Ale is a ruby red strong ale brewed with honey, cherries, sweet orange peel, and cinnamon. The heavy carmel malts provide a semi-sweet body and the Belgian yeast strain adds a clove like character to the beer. A truly festive beer!
When designing this beer, we pulled inspiration from our favorite holiday beers in craft beer today: Troegs Mad Elf, Great Lakes Christmas Ale, and Bells Old Fashioned Ale. These beers all feature amber to mahogony bodies, big ABVs, low to moderate fruit additions, and a touch of spice. Both the Mad Elf and the Old Fashioned feature cherries as a defining characteristic, and utilizing that flavor component really makes a big impact on the final beer.
We start off the beer with a solid sweet brown ale base featuring 2-Row and the dark caramel malts of Caramunich III and Special B. This provide a complex and slightly sweet body with heavy caramel notes and dark dried fruit. We add sweet orange peel for orange aromatics, cherry juice concentrate for a deep ruby color and prominent cherry flavor, wildflower honey to push ABV and produce a smooth floral aroma, and a dash of cinnamon for a festive undercurrent.
We ferment this cool with a Belgian T-58 yeast strain. At cool temperatures this yeast is fairly neutral with a hint of clove. This clove characteristic works phenomenally well with the holiday nature of this beer and compliments the cinnamon.
We have one hop addition, a Sterling Steam Hop at 60 minutes. This adds little to no hop flavor with just enough bitterness to balance out all those complex malts.
Happy Festivus from the rest of us!