Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bitter Brown Ale

I was sitting there the other day thinking about what style I should brew next and I really couldn't decide. I wanted something that had a nice bitter edge, that at the same time would be balanced nicely by the malt, BUT I really didn't want a bitter.

Now I am not normally a big fan of brown ales, there's something about small amounts of chocolate malt that doesn't sit right with my palate. For some reason though I wanted something that was nice and brown (too many light beers in kegs right now). So I thought I would use a malt that a lot of people have enthusiastically recommended, pale chocolate. Ive used it in a recipe before, but there was far too much other roasted grains for me to be able to pick out any contribution from the pale chocolate, I'm hoping this time around I can really learn what this malt has to offer.

In hoping to learn about the pale chocolate, I decided to use a relatively simple base of Marris Otter, supplemented with a healthy portion of special roast. I really love the great toffee flavors that special roast brings to any beer. I'm hoping that it will blend really well with what I'm told are very smooth toasty and chocolaty flavors that the pale chocolate malt brings to the table.

As to the hopping, Ive kegged and tasted the Oat Malt SMaSH beer (review coming soon), but I'm having a hard time picking out the contribution of the Mt Rainier hops. I don't know if that's a function of how strong the oat presence is, or if the hop is very subtle to begin with (I'm leaning towards the latter). So, I decided to hop exclusively with Mt Rainier yet again. I'm really hoping that I can tease out the flavors/aromas of the Mt Rainier in this beer. I went with a pretty large late addition to hopefully really bring out the aroma in the beer. Which if the hops are anything like they are advertised, there will be a nice licorice flavor with a hint of spice that I think will really complement the toffee and chocolate of the malts.

Bitter Brown
Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
8.0Marris Otter
0.75Special Roast
0.5Pale Chocolate
Hops
Amt (oz)TypeTime
1.0Mt Rainier (6.8%)60
2.0Mt Rainier (6.8%)10
Mash Schedule
TempRatioTime
154F1.2qt/lb60
170F1.8qt/lb15min - vorlauf
YeastLondon ESB 1968 (500mL Starter)
Stats
5.5galOG1056
89% effIBU36
7gal BoilFG
Notes: I fermented this one on the warm side (~72F) to really accentuate the English esters


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