Batch 005: Tomtebrygg med julekrydder

Spice/Herb/Vegetable, Low Alcohol, 1 % ABV, unknown IBU,

Brew date: 2013-12-09
Bottled: 2013-12-11

After a long break from brewing (more than a year!) I just had to brew something. This is not a real beer, it’s simply a traditional Norwegian Tomtebrygg, a close to non-alcoholic, sweet, beer-like drink made from sugar, lukewarm water, baker’s yeast and a sugary hop extract mixture.

Making a spice mix for the Tomtebrygg

Making a spice mix for the Tomtebrygg. The last drops of the Nøgne Julesnadder ended up in the mixture as well. Come to think of it, I poured in a cm of Nøgne Dark Horizon 2nd edition as well.

The reason this still is an official Beer With Me Nano Brewery brew, is that I added a homemade spice mix. Next year I’m hoping to brew a real christmas ale with spices, and if this mix turns out to be a successful addition to the Tomtebrygg, I might partially repeat this recipe:

  • 30 cloves
  • 2 cm dried ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • peel from 2 clementines
  • approximately 2 g each of Amarillo, Cascade and Columbus hops (from 2011)
  • The spices were boiled with a couple of dl of water for approximately 20 minutes.

1 pkg of regular baker’s yeast

Not measured, but 800 g white table sugar in a batch of approximately 20 L should give an OG of about 1.015. The hop extract contains a good deal of sugar as well, so the OG probably was a bit higher.


Batch size:
20 L

0.7 % – 1.0 %

Fermenting temperature:
1 day in fermentor at approximately 25ºC. According to the recipe this is all that is needed before bottling, but I didn’t have the time to bottle the brew that day, so I put the fermentor in my beer cellar (15ºC at the time) for another day. Bottled without any priming sugar (Tomtebrygg usually ends up violently carbonated after a couple of weeks!).

Tasting notes and carbonation:
This very much smells like a Tomtebrygg, I only get faint notes of the spice mix. The flavours however are far more exciting, I get lots of suprisingly pleasant christmassy spicy notes! This tastes very different from a regular Tomtebrygg! The cloves are especially evident, the ginger is also playing a major role. The clementine zest is a bit less obvious, I could have wanted a tad more citric crispiness. The cinnamon is quite vague, I find it difficult to pick out. The hops are hardly present at all, I can’t really detect any increased bitterness, hoppy aroma or flavours. Next time I’ll double the amount of clementine peel, cinnamon and hops. Or maybe stick to the peel from 2 clementines only, but add some of the fruit as well? And definitely reduce the number of cloves from 30 to the far more christmassy number 24.

The extra day of fermenting reduced the sweetness of the beer dramatically, this is bone dry compared to a regular Tomtebrygg. The lack of residual sugars also makes the body much lighter and the texture is more watery that the regular stuff.

I opened the first bottle 5 days after bottling, and it was reasonably carbonated already. The carbonation was perfectly lively after 12 days. After 13 days the 75 cl and 50 cl bottles had become over carbonated, causing gentle gushing. This was not a problem with the 33 cl bottles, not even today, January 1st.

Batch 005: Tomtebrygg med julekrydder

Batch 005: Tomtebrygg med julekrydder

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