Monday, March 9, 2009

Hoppy Brown Ale (India Brown Ale)

I based the recipe off of Janet's Brown (a Mike McDole recipe) in Brewing Classic Styles, but I tweaked it a bit. I backed down on the crystal and carapils because I felt that at 10% each it would be too sweet/thick for my taste in a hoppy daily drinker. I also fine tuned the hops and malts to match what I had on hand. I'm still working through the last of my 2007 hops, I bought mostly American hops when the hop shortage first started, but ended up brewing mostly European inspired beers for the last year.

This recipe has 7.33 oz of hops in just 3.5 gallons of beer. It had hops in the mash, three boil additions, and dry hops. All of the hops were Cascade pellets from Hops Direct except the Centennials for dry hops. The general idea of the recipe is that the crystal and high (154) mash temp balance out the huge hop kick better than a dry IPA. As a result a beer with a 1:1 bitterness to gravity ratio drinks like a less hoppy beer.

I am not a big fan of the Centennials from Freshops, they tend to taste a bit more herbal than I like my American hops. I've loved all the other varietals of hops I've gotten from them (and I love Bell's Two Hearted, an all-Centennial beer), but have now had issues with two different orders/vintages of Freshops Centennials. In this case though they blend pretty well with the dark malt, but it still isn't exactly what I was aiming for.

Tasting 3/09/09

Appearance – Dark brown, bordering on black. Nice thick rocky tan head. Good head retention, the carapils and the crystal certainly responsible for this. Any darker and I would say it was a porter, but I think it still qualifies as an American Brown.

Smell – Fruity (apricot?) hops, with considerable dank/herbal notes. The hop character is more reminiscent of Columbus than Centennial/Cascade to me, not as bright as I was hoping/hopping for. Slightly toasty, chocolaty, bready malt contribution, but the hops conceal it for the most part.

Taste – Bitterness shines over the malt sweetness, but not by much. The high mash temp and crystal malt certainly did their job, balancing out the big hop bill. There is a hint of chocolate with a touch of charcoal.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, with medium carbonation. Glad it attenuated as well as it did, not as thick as I was anticipating.

Drinkability & Notes – Complex, but still balanced enough to drink easily. The malt balances out the hops, but it also makes this a less of a hop bomb than an equally hopped IPA. I made a mistake going with the Centennials, I should have used the Amarillo or Simcoe I have in the freezer.

Hoppy American Brown

Recipe Specifics (All-Grain)
Batch Size (Gal): 3.50
Total Grain (Lbs): 9.92
Anticipated OG: 1.063
Anticipated SRM: 22.8
Anticipated IBU: 64.5
Brewhouse Efficiency: 61 %
Wort Boil Time: 105 Minutes

7.25 lbs. Maris Otter
0.84 lbs. Cara-Pils Dextrine Malt
0.84 lbs. Crystal 40L
0.66 lbs. Wheat Malt
0.34 lbs. English Chocolate Malt

1.50 oz. Cascade Mash Hop
1.50 oz. Cascade @ 60 min.
1.50 oz. Cascade @ 10 min.
1.50 oz. Cascade @ 0 min.
1.33 oz. Centennial @ Dry Hop

0.25 Tsp Yeast Nutrient @15 Min.
0.50 Whirlfloc @ 15 Min.

WYeast 1056 American Ale/Chico

Water Profile
Profile: Washington DC

Mash Schedule
60 min @ 154

Brewed 1/19/09 by myself

Starter made 36 hours before it was pitched (never got a krausen, but it produced a head when swirled), crash chilled for 8 hours before pitching.

Batch sparged, collected 6 gallons of 1.040 wort.

2007 cascade pellets from hops directed adjusted down from 4.8% AA.

Boiled down to 3.5 gallons, chilled to 66, strained to remove as much hop matter as possible, let sit for 20 minutes, then transferred to the better bottle (lost .5 G to trub), pitched ~1 qrt of starter (which smelled a bit odd) left at room temp around 74, cooled quickly to mid/high 60s with an open window.

1/29/09 Racked to secondary onto the dry hops (which I had rehydrated in 1 cup of 150 degree water for 5 minutes).

2/06/09 Bottled with 2 1/8 oz of cane sugar. Gravity ~1.014 (6.4% ABV, 78% AA). I am surprised by the high attenuation despite the hot mash and 16% crystal malt.

6/13/09 Scored 27/30/30 at the SoFB. The judges were split two thought it was too hoppy, one not hoppy enough.


Anonymous said...

I made this beer based on the same recipe from JZ's book as you.
To me it's a hop bomb - "not that there's anything wrong with that"

I'm hoping to age it a while and see what character presents itself from the grain bill. All I get is the Centennial dry hop for the first few weeks I've been drinking it.

hopshead said...

This really sounds good to me. After my next couple of brews I think I'll give it a try. Thanks for posting the recipe, pic, and review.

ryan sutherland said...

Any advice on brewing this recipe with extract vs. mashing?

It looks like a great recipe.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I would swap out the wheat, Marris Otter, and carapils for 1 lb of wheat DME and 4 lbs of English pale/light DME. I would keep the crystal and chocolate as is, just steep them before the boil.

You will also have to increase your bittering hops if you do not do a ful boil.

You could also multiply everything by 1.4 if you want to scale up to a 5 gallon batch.

Hope that helps, let me know how it turns out.

hopshead said...

This recipe and blog post inspired me to brew a hoppy brown ale. I didn't have the same ingredients, but nonetheless this blog post inspired me. This was my version of a hoppy brown ale.

tellyho said...

Just made this today - upsized to 5 gal, added a little grain as I brew in a bag, also added 1 lb DME to counter a little hopitude, and went with Wyeast 1338 for a little lower attenuation. I'll be sampling at transfer to secondary and may consider adding some raisins for a little je ne sais quoi. 1.073 OG.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Very nice, hope it turns out well!

tellyho said...

Can't say this was my favorite brew. Part of the fault is mine. Impatient to bottle, I did not realize how much fermentation was happening in secondary with the raisins. The result: a hoppy, nasty bottling session. I suspect a time in tertiary would have solve the whole thing. Ultimately, the hops were a little much for me.

Eric Branchaud said...

This is exactly the type of recipe I'd like to brew for my first all-grain batch. I'll probably sub flaked barley for the Carapils, and go with some combo of Citra, Amarillo and Simcoe in place of the Centennial and Cascade.

Quick question, I see that you started at 6 gallons and boiled down over 105 minutes to 3.5 gallons. Was there a reason for this other than your efficiency being 61%? If I'm hitting a higher efficiency, can I target a higher pre-boil gravity and just do a 60ish-minute boil, or is there another reason for the long boil? I'm doing BIAB in a 5-gallon kettle, and I'd like to shoot for a 2.5 gallon batch size. But that would be tough if my pre-boil volume needs to be much higher than 3.5 gallons or so.

Thanks in advance!

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I think both those changes sound good, I wasn’t a huge fan of this recipe. Exactly on the boil, around this time I was having efficiency issues, if you can hit the OG in 60 minutes, then that is fine. There are some cases where a long boil is great for creating a more interesting malt profile, but this is not one of those.