Well, There Gose Christmas!

Nearly 2 months ago I blogged a teaser post on the brewing of my 2015 Christmas brew that would be entered into my home brew club’s advent event, and given to my beer-loving family and friends.

This post is not about that beer.

Rather, this post is about another winter-holiday themed beer that is both a product of long planning (and fantasizing), plus a bit of last-minute brew-wizardry to make the brew-day happen. Sadly, I have no images of this last-minute brew, as I’ve recently taken a page from a fellow home-brewers book (hi, Devin!) and begun brewing late at night. Yep, 7 PM – midnight brew “days” do get you around all those irritating day-time things (jobs, family, friends, etc), but make for crappy photo-shooting conditions.

I wish I could claim this recipe as my own, and to some extent it is, but I received a lot of help on this one. The initial motivation for this beer is the table of Gose recipes by Cascade brewing in American Sour Beers; specifically, the all-to-brief mention of the winter gose featuring cinnamon, orange, hibiscus and cranberry. While a gose is a pretty straight-forward sour-ketteled beer, the balance of orange & hibiscus came from a very helpful set of  private messages and public posting of a similar gose recipe by BigPerm over at HomebrewTalk. The remaining balance of cinnamon, cranberry, hops and salt are from my previous brewing experiences with gose and those particular ingredients.

Despite that, there was (of course) a bump in the road. I had planned on souring using Lactobacillus isolated from a bottle of Hottenroth. Unfortunately, the lacto culture got “infected” with yeast (you know you’re not a normal brewer when the yeast is the infection), so I was forced to preare a last-minute lacto starter using 1.040 wort @ pH 4.5, a handful of grain, and a “homebrewed” incubator to keep the cultures at 44C. The last-minute starter worked, so the brewday(s) was/were saved.

Additional details and recipe can be found below the fold.


Well There Gose Christmas
Type: All GrainDate: 21-26 Oct 2015
Batch Size (fermenter): 20.00 lBoil Size: 25.49 l
End of Boil Volume 21.84Boil Time: 60 min
Boil Time: 60 minBrewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
15.00 gSalt (Mash 60.0 mins)Water Agent1
2.25 kgCanadian 2 Row Pale Malt (2.0 SRM)Grain248.6 %
0.91 kgWheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM)Grain319.6 %
0.91 kgWheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM)Grain419.6 %
0.23 kgOats, Flaked (1.0 SRM)Grain54.9 %
0.11 kgAromatic Malt (26.0 SRM)Grain62.4 %
11.25 gNorthern Brewer [8.50 %] – Boil 60.0 minHop712.6 IBUs
2.00 ItemsOrange Peel, Sweet (Boil 5.0 mins)Spice8
1.00 ItemsCinnamon Stick (Boil 5.0 mins)Spice9
45.00 gHibiscus (Boil 0.0 mins)Spice10
1.0 pkgGerman Ale (Wyeast Labs #1007)Yeast11
1.0 pkgWild Lacto (from grain)Yeast12
0.23 kgHoney (1.0 SRM)Sugar134.9 %
2.00 lbCranberries (Secondary 10.0 days)Other14
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.052 SGMeasured Original Gravity: 1.055 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.008 SGEstimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.8 %
Bitterness: 12.6 IBUs
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch SpargeTotal Grain Weight: 4.63 kg
Sparge Water: 18.41 lGrain Temperature: 19.0 C
Sparge Temperature: 75.6 CTun Temperature: 19.0 C
Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUEMash PH: 5.20
Mash Steps
NameDescriptionStep TemperatureStep Time
Mash InAdd 11.74 l of water at 72.3 C64.4 C75 min
Sparge Step: Batch sparge with 2 steps (5.54l, 12.87l) of 75.6 C water
Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).
Carbonation and Storage
Carbonation Type: KegVolumes of CO2: 2.3
Fermentation: Ale, Two StageStorage Temperature: 18.3 C
Lacto: Prepared a 500ml, 1.045 starter with ~1 tbsp baking soda; picthd a handful of base malt @ 44C, incubatd for 4 days, then concentrated by centrifugation & suspended in water.

-Hit temp dead-on
-Lost ~1.5C during mash
-Mashed-out with ~2L boiling water; drained tun and then performed a single batch sparge

Boil 1:
-Brought to minimum boil; then let sit 10 min prior to cooling to 44C & pitching lacto & covering with saran
-Used brew-belts and insulation to hold at 44C; temp ranged from 29C to 44C; last 1.5 days held at 44C consistently
-pH ended at ~3.4; nice smooth sourness pre-boil. Gravity was 1.045.

Boil 2:
-Added hops & salt @ 60 min
-Yeast nutrient and irish moss @ 10 min
-Cinnamon & orange peel @ 5 min
-Hibiscus at flame-out; seeped 10 min prior to cooling
–> all spices added to hop spider

Created with BeerSmith


The brewday was split over two evenings. In the first evening the beer was mashed, sparged and brought to a very brief boil to sanitize the wort, as per my usual sour-kettle method. The wort was cooled to 44C (110F), the lacto culture pitched, and the kettle held at 44C. Turns out I did a bad job insulating and so the kettle was only at 30C for the first 1.5 days; a few extra sleeping bags got the kettleto the desired 44C for the last 1.5 days. Three days after souring the pH was roughly 3.4, and the taste was clean and dead-on the desired level of sourness.

At this point the wort was brought back to a boil for an hour, during which time the hops & spices were added. The beer was then cooled, transferred to a fermenter, and the yeast pitched. At this time the beer is bubbling away at ~18C/68F, and in 7-10 days I’ll add 1 kg (~2 lbs) cranberries – frozen and broken up in a blender prior to addition to the wort. 14 days later the beer will be kegged, with about half of that bottled for gifts/later enjoyment, and the other half going direct-to-tap for some late November enjoyment.

Tasting notes will follow in a little over a month.

5 thoughts on “Well, There Gose Christmas!

  • January 20, 2016 at 12:34 PM

    I'm not sure; around here frozen cranberries are available pretty much year-round so its not an issue I've had to deal with. Perhaps unsweetened cranberry juice or juice concentrate? The tang of the cranberries is what makes this combo work (hibiscus is quite sweet on its own), so if substituting another fruit I'd look for a fruit that is tart.

  • January 20, 2016 at 4:45 AM

    Getting ready to brew this recipe. Only problem is trying to find cranberries in the middle of January. No luck anywhere, not fresh or frozen. I'm thinking of using frozen mixed berries and keeping everything the same. Any opinions?

  • December 18, 2015 at 1:14 PM

    Just read the tasting notes on this and I'm thinking about giving it a try. I've read a lot about kettle souring but not really been keen on holding the temperatures for a few days. Maybe now is the time though!


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