Thursday, November 24, 2011

Brew Day: (good) Brown Ale

Yeah, you probably didn't expect to see this one coming, especially with all my pseudo ranting about brown ale and how session ales don't get any respect. I guess you could say I'm just 'bitter' about the lack of session-beer-love these days and the continual hype about the 'big' beer styles. Regardless, I managed to find some time to brew between the Packers game and stuffing my face with good eats. It wasn't the prettiest or most relaxing of brew days, but I got it done. Only real changes to the afore mentioned recipe was a change of yeast choice, West Yorkshire instead of Fuller's, and a bit of roasted barley for color adjustment and some toasty notes. Also of note, my batch of Bohemian dark lager, a beer I had thought I had ruined with some shoddy Munich malt, actually turned out very nice. It's not exactly what I was aiming for, but the family nearly killed the keg of it today... probably kick a few kegs tomorrow too.

Ploughman Brown II : Brown Ale

Recipe Specifics:
Batch Size (Gal): 4.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 7.75
Anticipated OG: 1.054
Anticipated FG: 1.012
Anticipated SRM: 22
Anticipated IBU: 24
Efficiency: 70%
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

77.4% - 6.0 lbs. Pale, Maris Otter
8.4%   - 0.65 lbs. Crystal 60L 
5.2%   - 0.40 lbs. Pale Chocolate (TF)
4.5%   - 0.35 lbs. Flaked Oats
3.2%   - 0.25 lbs. Brown Malt (TF)
1.3%   - 0.10 lbs. Roasted Barley

1.0 oz. UK Fuggles @ 60 min for 24 IBU
0.5 oz. UK Fuggles @ Flameout

Yeast: WY1469 West Yorkshire
Mash 155F for 75 min
Brewed on 24 November


  1. I’m definitely with you concerning the lack of session type beers here in the USA, and the trend for US craft breweries to brew more and more “extreme” beers. The main reason I got into home brewing was the realization that I could never buy any of the milds or bitters I had enjoyed in the pubs of London. I’ve read just about every posting on your blog, and this one really said it best in my opinion:

    I’ve yet to brew a bitter that I’m perfectly happy with, although my most recent effort has been my best so far, thanks to your contributions to this thread on homebrewtalk:

    I think a combination of using the fermentation schedule discussed on that thread, plus using Wyeast 1318, and this being my first effort at kegging really made a huge difference. For my next batch I’m going to try to make some invert syrup and add that to the brew pot.

    I’d appreciate it if you could write about how you top crop some of your yeasts, as you mentioned this in an earlier post. Also, what are your thoughts on how to distinguish a dark mild vs. brown ale vs. a porter? My first ever dark mild was a Goacher’s Mild, served by Doris at her Red Lion pub in Snargate:

    Never having a mild before, I was surprised at all the nutty / roasty / chocolaty notes; yet very easy to drink at only 3.4%. Blows away any of our so called “lite” beers. Thanks, and keep on brewing all those great session beers.

    George in Mount Kisco, NY

  2. Thanks for the kind words. I'm definitely not an authority on English beer by any means, but I sure enjoy brewing and drinking those styles. There is still a lot to learn too.

    I'll definitely write a post or two about top cropping and some stuff on beer style. Now I'm wishing I fermented the 1469 in a bucket... it's one of the best top croppers.


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