Blast from the Past: Gingerbread Winter Warmer 2016

Way, way, way back in the innocent days of September 2016, I brewed a winter warmer. At the time, it was okay, but nothing great. I drank much of it right from the keg, and the rest got bottled. I sampled some back in January 2018, and it was aging nicely. After that, I forgot about the beer for awhile, and only just ran across my stash in the basement while putting away Christmas decorations. Being New Year’s Eve and all, I thought it would be fun to pull out a bottle and give it a taste!

Although I was tempted to review my recipe and brewing notes prior to opening the bottle, I decided to go into the tasting with minimal expectations. I vaguely recalled that there was some ginger in there, but that’s about it. My spouse shared the bottle (it was 22 ounces of beer, and I didn’t need to drink all of it myself!), and we talked over the beer as watched the southern California sunset from our yard.


  • Appearance
    • Very clear, deep amber beer, which pours with a moderately persistent cream-colored head.
  • Aroma
    • Raisins, light hint of leather, ginger, dried figs…very rich! No hop aroma noticeable.
  • Flavor
    • Malty, with moderate bitterness. Lots of pleasant notes from aging, including dried figs, raisins, and a touch of spice (ginger). Yeast character was surprisingly clean, with no unpleasant aspects that I was afraid might seep in after a few years.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Big body, very smooth, moderate carbonation.
  • Would I Age This Again?
    • YES. Although I don’t recall this being an exceptional beer four years ago, it sure is something special now. Everything has just come together in a rich, flavorful way, and I can’t think of a better beer to enjoy as we close out 2020. I’ll brew this again soon, to have at least a little aging under its belt before next New Year’s Eve.
  • Overall
    • 10/10
Here’s to cellared beer, and 2021!

Gingerbread Winter Warmer Kegged

Today (October 16, 2016), I kegged my Gingerbread Winter Warmer. It has been fermenting for just about a month, so it seemed like a good time to keg it. I roused the yeast three or four times during primary fermentation (about once a week), to keep things moving along. Even so, the brew was a bit underattenuated–it had a final gravity of 1.030, or 10.3% abv. I think two factors might explain the relatively high gravity. First would be the high mash temperature, which should limit overall fermentability. Second, and probably most important, was the high gravity of the beer. I aerated as best I could, but am guessing that a shot of oxygen would have helped out. Now that the beer has been agitated on the ride over to the keg, I might expect a little more fermentation (but probably not much). For now, I’ll let the 2 gallons of beer in my mini-keg condition and carbonate at room temperature for about a month before tapping.