Monday, November 17, 2008

2008 Batch #8 Recipe: Bog Trail Brown Ale

Brown ales are fall ales, at least in my book anyway. This beer (when I get it in a keg) will be perfect after late-fall walks like the one pictured below on the bog trail at the Discovery Center west of Chelsea, MI. The tamaracks were stunning this day.

Wife and daughter at the bog

Making Brown Malt: I wanted to make brown malt by toasting 2-row brewers in the oven. I generally toast a pound of my malt for all my ales, but this would be a longer than normal toast. I used the information from Brian Richards's post on making brown malt with a slight modification. This method seemed to work well and the beer tastes and looks great.

  • I started with 4lbs of 2-row split on two cookie sheets. I put the trays in the oven and then turned it on to 300ºF.
  • I stirred turned the malt and switched the cookie sheets at 15 minutes. The oven was at 250º.
  • At 30 minutes I turned the malt again and switched the racks. The oven was at 300º. I then turned the oven up to 350º.
  • At this point, I turned the malt and switched the racks every ten minutes for another 30 minutes for a total of 1 hour in the oven.
  • Then I pulled the sheets out and let the malt cool
I ended up with slightly less that 4lbs of brown malt due to driving off the moisture in the malt, so start with more malt than your recipe calls for. The malt was nice buff color on the inside and you could definately taste that difference.

Toasted brown malt on the left, untoasted 2-row Brewers on the right

Grain Bill:
  • 10lbs 2-row Brewers (or pale)
  • 3.5lbs brown malt
  • 6oz Dark crystal malt L135 - I picked this up from Mike O'brien in Ypsilanti. It has an interesting raisin flavor.  I also tasted some great homebrewed historical stouts and a "chips and salsa" brew that was strange and amazing durning that visit...
  • 5.5oz Carapils crystal malt
The Mash: I used an infussion mash starting at 150º for 15minutes then bumping up the heat to 157º for another 15 minutes. I kept the mash around 155º for another 30 minutes when the iodine test told me to stop. Sparged with ~5.5 gallons of 170º water and collected 6.25 gallons of run0ff.

The Boil:  Added one ounce of Northern Brewer when the boil was reached.  At 30 minutes I added 1/2 oz of cascade (from Heritage Hops).  At 45 minutes I added another 1/2 oz cascade. Turned it off at 1 hour and added 1/4 oz centennial.

Cooled and pitched Safbrew-04.  I've read that this yeast is a super fast starter that can cause problems, so I didn't make a yeast starter like I normally do and I put the fermenter on my back porch where it was slightly cooler.  I had a quick start and no problems.  This yeast is fast, it was done and almost totally settled out in 1 week.  The beer tastes great.  Now if could just find time to keg it...  The OG was 1.058 and the final is 1.012.