In a lot of ways, winter is high brewing season. For many, it’s time to get the brew kettles out and the beer recipe kits on the way. Not only do the lower temperatures encourage us to hibernate, they support more moderate fermentation temperatures and open up beer styles that are more suitable for home brewing in winter. If you have a cold basement, winter is the perfect time to take advantage of brewing lagers, steam beer, and other styles that require lower fermentation temperatures.
Winter is also a good time for brewing some hearty, high gravity beer styles. These more substantial styles give rise to the idea of a “winter warmer” – a beer with higher alcohol content that offers a warming nip in the colder months.
As you’re planning your seasonal brew calendar, consider one of these 5 beer recipe kits for home brewing in winter:
- BrewCraft Ultimate: Russian Imperial Stout – A big, roasty imperial stout is the perfect cold weather beverage, featuring notes of coffee, chocolate, and dark fruit. Some imperial stouts can be pretty hoppy, but generally the dark roasted malts take center stage. Some brewers like to brew an imperial stout in the winter, then let it age all year for consumption the following winter.
- Brewers Best Vienna Lager – If you’re unable to brew lagers during the warmer months, winter is a great opportunity to give it a try. You’ll need to be able to keep fermentation temperatures in the 40-50˚F range, so a cold basement might work out. This Vienna lager beer recipe kit is a great choice for home brewing in wine. It’s a smooth, malty lager, well worth the wait of an extended lager fermentation.
- Brewcraft Premium: Black IPA – Black IPAs are one of the more robust styles of beer, combining the roasty flavors of a stout with the hop-forward bitterness and flavor of an IPA. This beer recipe kit offers a complex dark malt flavor and a range of spicy and citrusy American hop character, fairly stout at 7.3% ABV. Getting this beer recipe kit and home brew it in the winter will add a clean, crispness that bring out the citrus character, even more.
- Steam Freak Barnstormer Barleywine – Similar to with Imperial Stouts, some brewers like to let their barleywines age for a before consuming (of course you’re welcome to open some bottles early!). This barleywine clocks in at 10% ABV and 96 IBUs – it’s definitely a sipper!
- Steam Freak Spring Loaded Bock – A bock is a high gravity German lager, rich and malt-forward, high gravity yet silky smooth. Expect a traditional bock to be in the ballpark of 7% ABV, with just enough hops to balance out the malt and the alcohol.
What are some of your favorite styles for home brewing in winter months? Have you brewed any of these beer recipe kits?
David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.