Batch 007 – Tomtebrygg med julekrydder 2014

Spice/Herb/Vegetable, Low Alcohol, 2 % ABV, unknown IBU,

Brew date: 2014-12-12
Bottled: 2013-12-14

Last year’s tweaked Tomtebrygg was quite successful, so I’ll make a new batch this year, with a few adjustments.

Tomtebrygg med julekrydder

Tomtebrygg med julekrydder


  • 24 cloves
  • 15 g fresh ginger cut into thin slices
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • A dash of ground black pepper (5 pushes on my pepper grinder)
  • A dash of anise seeds
  • peel from 2 clementines
  • 1 clementine
  • 20 g raisins
  • Approximately 2-3 g each of Amarillo, Cascade and Columbus hops (from 2011) @ 25 minutes, 2-3 g of Columbus (2011) @ 5 minutes. All weights are very approximate, I really need a new kitchen scale!
  • The mix was boiled with a couple of dl of water for 25 minutes. The liquid was poured into the fermentor and the spices was put in a hop sock and thrown in as well.

1 pkg of regular baker’s yeast (dissolved in 2 L of water at 30ºC together with sugar)

Other additives:
1 kg white sugar
33 cl Aass vørterøl



Batch size:
20 L


Fermenting temperature:
24 hours in fermentor at approximately 25ºC (our bathroom). According to the recipe this is all that is needed before bottling, but I liked last year’s dry result of two day in the fermentor, so after one day at 25ºC  the fermentor was moved to my beer cellar (15ºC at the time) for another day. Bottled without any priming sugar.

Tasting notes: 
This year’s brew is quite similar to last year’s, i.e. it’s very dry compared to regular Tomtebrygg due to an extra day in the fermentor, and the spice mix is evident both in the aroma and flavour. I used more clementine this year, and the extra clementine added the desired crispiness and citric hints. The cinnamon is a bit faint this year as well, even though I used two cinnamon sticks instead of one. The raisins were evident at bottling day, but these notes were not there in the finished brew. Next year I think I will try to add even more spices.

Also, more hops! I don’t get any hints of hops neither in the aroma nor the flavour, and there is no detectable bitterness. The latter has an obvious solution I’ve learned recently: when hops are boiled in pure water the alpha acids from the hops won’t get isomerised into iso-alpha acids (or at least, not as efficiently as when boiled in wort). Non-isomerised alpha-acids are neither soluble nor giving any significant contribution to the bitterness, you’ll need isomerised alpha-acids for this. The only easy way to isomerise the alpha acids and to get a pleasant bitternes is to boil the hops in a wort with a pretty low pH. Maybe I’ll need to make a few decilitres of wort next year?

So, in 2015 everything will be set to 11. The only thing I want less of is alcohol. This kind of beer should be suitable for children, but I won’t serve my 4 year old son a 2% ABV brew. Maybe I’ll try to follow the recipe next year, and ferment the beer for no more than 24 hours?

Using small bottles is a good idea for a highly carbonated brew like this. The very last 33 cl bottle I opened the last day of January didn’t even gush! The 50 cl bottles started gushing around new year’s eve, and from there on they had to be cooled down to 4ºC or lower before opening to decrease the gushing a bit (you know, the ideal gas law).

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