Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sour English Brown

Yesterday was the first time in months that I brewed an extract batch. It was also the inaugural brew in our new house! When we bought the house in mid-November I was convinced that the first thing to get replaced was going to be the early-50s electric stovetop built into the counter. This thing has the old blender style rectangular buttons built into the counter to control each burner, and the elements are apparently not removable, so I can't use my nice high-wattage canning element that I got specifically for brewing. That said, our stove is apparently awesome. We found out right away that the thing goes hotter than any electric stove I've ever come across. Not only does it go hotter than my canning element, but I can fit my 15-gallon kettle across three of the burners and get a full 5+ gallon boil going in about 20 minutes! (I can't wait to see the electric bill on this one. . .)

Having brewed a few brett/sour batches lately I've been meaning to get a "normal" brew in lately before I run out of bottles of homebrew to share with my less adventurous friends. I put together a recipe for an English-style brown ale, picked up the ingredients along with a vial of Irish Ale yeast, and promptly got busy for the last couple weeks.

So, I found myself coming into this weekend with ingredients for an English brown, and a primary bucket full of Flanders Red(-ish) beer (recipe post to follow shortly if I can still come up with my scrawled out notes) that has been waiting patiently to get racked to a carboy for long term aging. Normally this wouldn't be a big deal, except for the fact that this particular brew was using the vial of Bugfarm III bugs & yeasts that was generously shipped to me by Al B of the Burgundian Babblebelt forums. This being the case, I definitely want to reuse the bugs for a few generations if possible.

No problem! Why not go for a Sour English Brown? Maybe it's not the first recipe I'd think of to try with these bugs, but it certainly has potential. Plus, considering it came in at a modest 1.047 and was an extract (w/ additional grain) recipe, I'm not opposed to either blending in a small batch of something all-grain later or adding some sugar, depending on how it comes along and if the bugs/brett seem like they want something else to chew on.

So, sorry all you less-adventurous drinkers out there, but you'll have to wait another week or two until I get around to picking up another batch of extract & grain to do the English brown w/ the Irish ale yeast the way I originally intended. Here's the recipe:

Sour English Brown

brewed on: 1/16/10
OG: 1.047

12 oz Special Roast Malt
8 oz Crystal 40L Malt
8 oz Victory Malt
4 oz Pale Chocolate Malt
6.6 lbs Extra Light liquid extract

1.2 oz Kent Golding @ 5.1% - 60 minutes
.5 oz German Tettnang @ 3% - 5 minutes

Al B's Bugfarm III yeast cake

Steep grains in 1 gallon for 3 minutes at 154F.
Sparge with gallon or so.
Bring 5.5-6 gallons (enough to end up with just over 5 gallons) of water to boil, add extract & hops as scheduled.

Ferment at ambient temp (mid-60s F)

12/14/10 - Racked to secondary. Current SG: 1.009. Tastes delicious! Already extremely sour (acidity has a zing similar to kombucha.) Earthy hop notes come through in the aftertaste.
2/23 - SG @ still at 1.009. Sourness didn't taste as extreme on this sample, but I tasted it right after my Jolly Pumpkin Madrugada Obscura-inspired crazy-sour sample, so that probably tempered my perception a bit. So far, this is the most delicious sour beer I have going and I can't wait to get some oak in it and taste it in a year!
2/18 - Moved to basement (62F)
8/22/10 - SG 1.007. nose: acid & alcohol. flavor: caramel, dried fruit. Blend w/ Leuven pale ale?

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