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Smithers' Christmas (malt extract + grain + hops recipe)

This dark, hoppy and spiced beer is a Merry Christmas in a glass! Thanks to Brew for Africa customer Jonathan Smith for this recipe. Jonathan suggests that if you want this beer well matured for Christmas Day, you should brew it no later than the beginning of November and allow the beer to mature all the way until Christmas Day.

Recipe Characteristics






Heat 5 litres of water in a large pot (leaving enough head space in the pot for the boil after adding more water and the liquid malt extract). Add the crushed grains (optionally using a grain bag). Mash the grains for 45 mins. at a temperature 65 and 69°C, then strain out the grains or remove the grain bag. Pour 4 liters of hot water through the grains to extract the sugars, bringing the total wort volume up to 9L.

Boil for 60 minutes WITH THE LID OFF THE POT. Add the first Cascade hop addition as soon as the wort has come to the boil (i.e. boil this hop for 60 minutes). After 30 minutes add the first batch of Fuggles i.e. boil this hop addition for 30 mins); 15 minutes later the second batch of Fuggles (i.e. boil this for 15 mins). Add the Irish Moss and the spices (optionally using a steeping bag) 5 minutes later (i.e. boil this for 10 mins.).

Once the boil is complete add the brew blend. Let the wort come back up to the boil, then remove from heat and add the final batch of Fuggles. Stir and let stand for 5 minutes, then cool rapidly (e.g. by placing the pot into a sink filled with cold water or ice). Transfer the wort to the fermenter, leaving the solids from the grains, the spices and the spent hops in the pot. Top up with cold water to 23 litres. Pitch yeast and let ferment as usual.

After 3 days of fermentation add the Fuggles hops to the fermenter, optionally using a sterilized hop steeping bag (put the bag with the hop pellets in a cup of water that is just off the boil and let stand for 10 minutes; then add hop bag and water to the fermenter).

If using a single fermenter: let ferment for 14 days. If using a secondary fermenter: let ferment for 7 days, then transfer to the primary and let ferment for another 7 to 14 days. The beer is ready to bottle when the gravity has dropped to something on the order of 1.010 - 1.015.

Let mature for at least 4 weeks; longer is better. As mentioned above, it is best to brew this beer early in November and let it mature until Christmas day.

(Note: while we have taken care to check this recipe for accuracy, we can take no responsibility for any errors that might have slipped through. Check when in doubt.)

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