Thursday, August 2, 2007

Funky Old Ale: 1st Tasting

Aroma - Fruity Brett funkiness right off the bat (cherry primarily, and maybe a hint of something tropical ). Has a strong toasted maltiness, lots of complexity in this.

- Deep rich brown with ruby highlights. Thin creme head that lasts for a few minutes. The beer is pretty clear when it is thin enough to see through.

- Mild chocolate flavor with toasted notes ( I'd guess from the pale chocolate malt). Strong cellar (classic English "stock/stale") character, tastes like a combination of wet oak and mildly funky Brett. The funk has really calmed down since I tried the first bottle of this about a month ago. There is a mild bitterness, which comes through more than I would expect for 35 IBUs, I assume because the beer is pretty dry (87% apparent attenuation).

-Medium body with low carbonation. There is a minor dry/tannin quality on my tongue. Certainly not the big syrupy body that you often find in big beers.

- Despite being almost a year since I brewed this one, it is still relatively young. For a beer this high in ABV it is very smooth and drinkable, which I credit to the long duration in secondary and the low finishing gravity. It is missing that dark fruit character that I love in an Old Ale (that may develop with some additional age), but this is still a very tasty beer.

Funky Old Ale


Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.25

Total Grain (Lbs): 14.39

Anticipated OG: 1.082

Anticipated SRM: 23.1

Anticipated IBU: 34.3

Brewhouse Efficiency: 80 %

Wort Boil Time: 130

12.25 lbs. Maris Otter
.63 lbs. Dark Soft Candi Sugar

.52 lbs. Crystal 120L

.50 lbs. Crystal 60L

.50 lbs. Pale Chocolate Malt



2.00 oz. East Kent Goldings @ 115 minutes

.25 oz. Czech Saaz @ 115 minutes



.50 Oz Medium Toast French Oak Beans soaked in wine for 210 days



Danstar Windsor and US-56

Water Profile


Calcium(Ca): 31.0 ppm

Magnesium(Mg): 6.2 ppm

Sodium(Na): 20.0 ppm

Sulfate(SO4): 36.0 ppm

Chloride(Cl): 25.0 ppm

biCarbonate(HCO3): 61.5 ppm

Mash Schedule


Sacc Rest I 20 minutes @ 152

Sacc Rest II 60 minutes @ 156



Brewed 8/6/06 with Jason, Eric, and Mat.

I didn't like the crush, so I ran it through the mill again and it looked a lot better.
Some mash issues: missed initial strike temp of 156, got 152. Pulled a small decoction which raised the temp too much to 160, then added cold water to correct back down to 156. 10 minutes later it read 154... who knows. Fly sparge, collected 7 gallons.

Soft dark Belgian candi sugar added at start of boil, I think it maybe close to traditional British brewer's caramel? If nothing else it will taste good.

11 month old hops adjusted from 6.5% AA to 5.5%
1 tsp yeast nutrient added with 10 minutes left in the boil.

1 packet each Windsor and US-56 used so no starter needed, just rehydrated with warm water before adding to wort.

Put into fridge at 62 degrees. Full krausen by the next morning. By 24 hours I needed to add a blowoff tube, I also dropped the fridge to 60 to encourage lower attenuation to leave a nice meal for the Brett. The following day I raised the fridge temp to 62 to help the now slowing yeast. 1.030 (63% AA) After another day I dropped the temp to 58, to keep the temp low on the Flanders red in the same fridge.

8/10/06 1 pint starter made with half a tube of Brett Claussenii.

8/14/06 Down to 1.025 (70% AA) about where I wanted it, should be ready to rack and add the Brett soon. Temp raised to 65 to let the yeast finish their thing. Nice pellicle forming on top of the starter.

8/20/06 1.020 (76% AA, 8.2% abv) racked into 6.5 gallon better bottle, pitched Brett C starter and slapped an airlock on it.

8/27/06 A bit of Brett on top of the 65 degree fermenter and I added the .5 oz oak which had been boiled in three changes of water and dried in 150 degree oven and then soaked in Lazy Lizard Merlot for a few weeks.

9/6/06 Still not much Brett krausen and the airlock is just barely moving, hopefully the 65 degree fridge is warm enough for the Brett C to work its magic.

12/24/06 Pretty good scummy Brett krausen and a nice funky aroma, wish I had a smaller carboy than the 6.5 gallon better bottle.

5/19/07 Scum on top looks about the same as it did in December. Bottled with 1/4 cup + 5 tsp white sugar (no scale available). Yielded about 4 gallons. Tastes pretty smooth, but it is hard to tell with some sediment and without carbonation. Aroma of cherries and thick toasty malt.

6/30/07 FG reading from a bottle is around 1.011 Nicely carbonated. It needs to be served on the cold side to subdue some of the rougher funkiness.

6/12/08 Second tasting

5/05/09 Blended with equal parts of the Liquor Spiked Barleywine, entering the SoFB as an Old Ale.

12/20/10 Pretty stable in terms of flavor and carbonation. Nice vinous character, dry, musty.

1/26/13 Tasting of the last bottle. Still good, sorry to see it go!


Anonymous said...

That looks positively fascinating. I am going to have to get into the funk of these days.

DavidP said...

LOL @ the infusion temp shenanigans... it's easier to just shrug it off, eh?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

In a beer like this I don't think a degree or two matters much. The Brett seems to eat down to about the same FG regardless of the mash temp. The mash temp is really only important in controlling how much food there is left over for the Brett to eat.

Unknown said...

Hey Mike, avid fan of the book and blog. Getting very inspired and now find myself thinking about this recipe and that night and day almost. Bloody consuming that's what it is.

Anyhoo, I'm from the UK and though our craft scene is exploding here, it's still a little IPA focused for my liking! You guys have obviously moved on from that. With that in mind, I'd like to try my hand at something approaching the vatted, bretted keeping ales from yonder year. I've got a vial of Brett C and wondered if you had any pointers for recipes.

I'm aware of not using too harsh malts and using a high mash temp for the brett, beyond that it's a stab in the dark. Ron (Barclay Perkins) has got some keeping ales in his new book which I thought may be interesting.

Cheers in advance!


The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

The trick is figuring out how you want to preserve some body. No matter how hot you mash, most Brett strains will leave a thin beer (even if you add oats/rye to boost the protein). You could find a less attenuative Brett strain, halt the fermentation before it gets too dry (like I did for the Courage RIS clone), or stabilize and blend. As for the recipe, I think simple is best. You could start 100% Maris Otter, low hopping, and go from there. Best of luck!