My efforts to pay more attention to my recipes using the Qbrew software I downloaded is paying off. Everything I have brewed since I started using it have turned out very good. I haven't had any bad beers, but my Double Batch IPA was pretty meh, and my Cran Wheat wasn't very cranny. Having run both recipes through the Qbrew, I can understand why.
So with a better process implemented, I'll jump into my Christmas Ale, which used a Mr. Beer Cowboy Lager as a base. I used cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract, and some orange zest. I also added a 1/4 pound of honey, and Willamette hops for 20 minutes. What turned out is a very nice surprise. Not one of the spice adders jumps out at you, everything seems very well balanced. It also has a nice crisp bite, with just a hint of hop bitterness. The only thing I'm curious about is how dry it tastes. Might still be too young, or might be a result of the recipe.
The Irish Red was a bit more basic, starting off with a Mr. Beer Bewitched Red Ale. I added a 1/2 pound of molasses, and used a long boil of Magnum hops and then dry hopped with the last of my Willamette hops. So not a great deal of modification, which results in a very good red. Just enough hops and bite. I should add, this was my first time using irish moss as a fining, and it worked. This is by far the clearest beer I've brewed. I've since used irish moss in subsequent brews, mostly for a better look in the glass. It takes as little as 1/4 tsp to be effective it seems, and a small bottle of it cost like $2.
I need to get my oatmeal stout bottled this weekend, and I need to come up with a new recipe to brew. Any ideas Sean?