Winter Solstice Red Ale

OG = 1.064  FG = 1.013
IBU = 36  SRM = 12  ABV = 6.9%


4 oz. (113 g) crystal malt (50 °L)
2 oz. (57 g) roasted barley (300 °L)
6.6 lbs. (3 kg) amber liquid malt extract
2 lbs. (0.91 kg) wheat dried malt extract (DME)
8 AAU Northern Brewer hop pellets (45 min.) (1 oz./28 g at 8% alpha acids)
4 AAU Willamette hop pellets (15 min.)(1 oz./28 g at 4% alpha acids)
1 vanilla bean
12 whole cardamom seeds
4 oz. (113 mL)  cheap vodka or pure grain alcohol
Sachet of a fruity ale yeast (such as Mangrove Jack’s M36)
1 cup dried malt extract


Two weeks before brewing, split and chop vanilla bean into small pieces and coarsely grind the cardamom seeds, then put them in a jar with the vodka. Soak in a dark place until ready to use.

Steep the grains in two gallons (7.6 L) of water as it begins to heat up. Remove them at 170-176 °F (77-80 °C). Add extracts and top off to at least 3 gallons (11 L), boil a total of 45 minutes. Add the Northern Brewers at onset of boil, the Willamette 15 minutes later. After the boil is finished, remove from heat and begin the chilling process. Transfer to a sanitized fermenter and top off to 5.25 gallons (20 L).

Proceed with your normal fermentation. At bottling time, prime with the cup of DME you set aside and add in the potion you made a few weeks earlier (straining out the chunks, of course).

Issue: September 1995

The blend of vanilla and cardamom with the fairly high hoppiness gives this brew a crisp, full-bodied spiciness like a good Christmas cookie.