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Recipe: 5 Rabbit Ponche Barleywine

Now, here’s a different sort of winter warmer. The fruits and spices are up to you (every abuela has her own ponche recipe). Warm it up, mix with nog, stick a red-hot poker in it … or just enjoy in a snifter by the fireside. ¡Feliz Navidad!

Randy Mosher Dec 19, 2021 - 3 min read

Recipe: 5 Rabbit Ponche Barleywine Primary Image

Photo: Matt Graves/mgravesphoto.com

This dark, fruited-and-spiced barleywine recipe is based on the one brewed by Chicago’s 5 Rabbit Cervecería (in which Randy Mosher is a partner). It’s inspired by Mexican-style ponche navideño (Christmas punch). The fruits and spices are flexible and interchangeable, depending on your taste and what’s available—every abuela has her own ponche recipe. Warm it up, mix it with nog, stick a red-hot poker in it … or just enjoy it in a snifter by the fireside.

For more about winter and holiday beer concoctions, see Wassailing Through the Holidays.

ALL-GRAIN

Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%
OG: 1.124
FG: 1.028
IBUs: 75
ABV: 13%

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MALT/GRAIN BILL
16.1 lb (7.3 kg) Maris Otter
1.25 lb (567 g) caramel 40L
13.5 oz (383 g) Gambrinus honey malt
11 oz (312 g) Special B
7 oz (198 g) caramel 80L

HOPS & ADDITIONS SCHEDULE
2.3 oz (65 g) Northern Brewer [10.1% AA] at 60 minutes
1 oz (28 g) Columbus [19.4% AA] at 15 minutes
0.5 oz (14 g) cassia buds at whirlpool
0.5 oz (14 g) cinnamon stick(s) at whirlpool
0.3 oz (9 g) cloves at whirlpool
0.3 oz (9 g) bitter orange zest at whirlpool
1 lb (454 g) apple-juice concentrate on Day 4
1 lb (454 g) date syrup on Day 4
14 oz (397 g) guava puree on Day 4
11.5 oz (326 g) white grape–juice concentrate on Day 4

YEAST
Omega OYL-006 British Ale

DIRECTIONS
Mill the grains and mash at 152°F (67°C) for 1 hour, then raise the temperature to 170°F (77°C). Vorlauf until the runnings are clear, then run off into the kettle. Sparge and top up as necessary to get about 6.7 gallons (25 liters)—or more, depending on your evaporation rate. Boil for 75 minutes, adding hops according to the schedule. Put the spices into a nylon bag. At flameout, add the spices to the wort and whirlpool for about 10 minutes. Chill to 65°F (18°C), aerate well, and pitch plenty of health yeast. Ferment at about 68°F (20°C). Once the kräusen starts to fall (after a few days), add the fruit additions to the fermentor and gently stir together. Once fermentation appears complete and has stabilized, rack to secondary and age for at least a few months if possible. Crash, package, and carbonate when ready to consume.

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