Northern English Brown Ale (all-grain)

IMG_0335I just bought a used English hand pump, so I threw together a recipe for an English Brown ale to test it out!

  • 16 lb Mild malt
  • 1 lb Dark Crystal malt
  • 0.5 lb Chocolate malt
  • 0.75 oz Magnum 60 min
  • 2 oz Fuggle (UK) 10 min
  • 0.25 oz Magnum 5 min
  • Wyeast London ESB (3L starter)

// Mash-in 1.25 qt/lb @ 152 for 60 min, 170 for 10 min. Collect 12 gal 1.038 wort.  Boil 60 minutes, collect 11 gal 1.045 wort.  Chill to 85, pitch yeast.  Fermented at 68F. Brewed 7/20/14 //

// Water info: 1 tsp gypsum, 1/4 tsp calcium cloride, 1.5 tsp calcium carbonate to mash water to get 118 ppm Ca, 107 ppm Sulphate, 20 ppm Cl2, RA 49 ppm, Suphate/Cl2 = 5.3, and a mash pH of 5.5 at room temp.  1.75 tsp gypsum, 1/2 tsp calcium chloride to sparge. //

I flubbed on the yeast starter for this batch, stupidly trying to pour our half into each carboy. The yeast had flocculated so much that it was hard to make sure the dregs were evenly being poured out, so I wound up slightly over pitching and under pitching in either carboy. You could definitely see the difference – one started fermenting right away and the other took a few hours.

UPDATE (7/26/14): One of the carboys is down to 1016, the other 1018, so I racked the lower one into a keg to cask condition for the hand pump, and gave the other a good shake to help finish it off. Two days later, the remaining carboy was down to 1015, so I moved it to the fridge to cold condition.  Flavors of both are excellent at the moment – rich toffee / chocolate in the nose and flavor up front, with some caramel and English yeast character in the finish. Very little hop presence, if any.

UPDATE (8/3/14): Kegged the other half that’s non-cask conditioning and added 1 oz of Fuggles in a hop bag to the keg, racking the beer onto the top the hop bag throughout the process.

UPDATE (8/4/14): The dry-hopped beer is very interesting – unlike anything I’ve tasted. The hops give it an interesting woodsy, and almost leafy character that, together with the beer, resembles a dark herbal tea. The rich toffee and chocolate flavors are a bit masked, but I think they’re contributing to the overall tea-like flavor. I’m gonna give it a few more days and then remove the hops to really get the full character out of them. Normally when I dry hop something, it can be vegetal, intense, and over-assertive at first, but then mellows out and balances after a short period of time. I’m hoping this will also be the case.

UPDATE (8/6/14): The dark tea flavor seemed to be intensifying, so I removed the hop bag from the keg. I generally like this flavor from the Fuggles, but it just needs to be less…. much less. After two more weeks in the keg, the hop flavor was still fairly intense and overshadows the malt flavors initially, but the chocolate and other notes do come through in the finish. This hop could really compliment a dark beer, but there’s just far too much going on here.


KEG 1/2: My feelings about the Fuggles dry-hops were unfortunately true right up until the last pint.. it added a very “different” flavor to the beer that didn’t sit well with me, or maybe I just wasn’t used to.  For a strong robust dark beer, I can see it working in a smaller dose.. but 1 oz yielded too much leafy weird flavor for me.

CASK 1/2:  I was pretty happy how this turned out. I “caught” the beer at the right time in the primary, and it fermented just enough to have some subtle carbonation; the keg had a good amount of pressure built up when it was tapped. The malt flavors dominate, which had a decent amount of toffee-like flavors, but it could stand to be a little bigger. The hop flavors are subtle, but I actually think it could use some more bitterness to counter the sweetness.



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Filed under All-grain, Brown, English

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