Winter Warmer – November Group Brew

by Billy Ellison Updated on November 3, 2011

For me, winter is a love-hate relationship.

When I moved to the Midwest, I was allured by the possibility of snow. The first year or so, I was showered with white puffy awesomeness.

Lately though, the meaner side of the midwest has shown through, bringing in fridged temps, high winds and, at times, ice! I don’t have to tell you: that sucks.

What better way to fight off the cold than from the inside-out, with a deliciously crafted winter warmer! Winter warmers can take on a variety of faces and tastes. Some enjoy the straight up boozy-ness of a big stout or strong ale. Some prefer to have some familiar kitchen spices wafting across their palate. Whatever your tastes are, it’s time to brew it up.

Here is the Beer Advocate description:

These malty sweet offerings tend to be a favorite winter seasonal. Big malt presence, both in flavor and body. The color ranges from brownish reds to nearly pitch black. Hop bitterness is generally low, leveled and balanced, but hop character can be pronounced. Alcohol warmth is not uncommon.

Many English versions contain no spices, though some brewers of spiced winter seasonal ales will slap “Winter Warmer” on the label. Those that are spiced, tend to follow the “wassail” tradition of blending robust ales with mixed spices, before hops became the chief “spice” in beer. American varieties many have a larger presences of hops both in bitterness and flavor.

“Wait wait wait” you say, “where would I start?”.

Excellent question. Here’s a base recipe to get you on your way:

Winter Warmer Recipe

Malts and Fermentables

  • 17 lbs. British pale ale malt
  • 0.75 lbs. Aromatic malt
  • 1.5 lbs. Crystal 60L
  • 0.5 lbs. chocolate malt

Extract brewers can substitute 10 lbs. of dry pale extract for the Pale Malt

Hop Schedule

  • 1 oz. Magnum (11% AA) for 90 min.
  • 2 oz. Kent Goldings (5.2% AA) for 60 min.;
  • 2 oz. Kent Goldings (5.2% AA) for 20 min.


  • Wyeast 1728 (Scottish ale)

Post your recipes in the comments below. I’ll get mine out there too. Let’s get this winter warmer well on it’s way, brewing by 11/21. Be ready to talk about how it came out 12/19.

Have fun this winter guys! And let’s make some great beer to get us through the cold days.