Tag Archives: brown ale

The In Between

Brown/porter homebrew picI was shooting for a brown and it’s…almost there? The flavor profile might be a little strong and the beer might be a touch dark. I just can’t quite seem to hold back on the dark malts, I suppose. Maybe next time half of each.

Nose has a pleasant chocolate quality and while it doesn’t fade out completely, it doesn’t come on too strong, either.

Still, this makes a decent enough porter wannabe. On the sweeter side, with the chocolate flavors but a tiny bit of roasted malt on the finish to shore it up. And it finishes drier than I’d expect, too. Quite drinkable, definitely a candidate for drinking another.

Brew date: 5/12/19

Steeping grains
1 lb Chocolate
1 lb Red X
1 Lb Carabrown

Fermentables: 7 lb ExLME

1 oz Saaz @ 60
.5 oz Saaz @ 30
.5 oz Saaz @5

Yeast: Imperial Tartarn (2nd use)

OG: 1.059
FG: 1.014

Secondary 5/25
Bottled 5/27

ABV: 6.1%

Final Countbrown

25606793278_8d94369bd4_cSo this was my final brown ale of 2017. I think it’s more a successful porter. Maybe even a stout. I can smell the roasted quality in the nose and it carries nicely into the body of the beer, too.

But it’s very dark. It also isn’t very sweet. Drinkable, sure. I’d put the flavors at semi-sweetened coco. You can definitely put a few down, and the flavors linger nicely, while still managing to feel like a dry ale, but it’s definitely not quite to style.

I’m glad I did this but I feel as though I just missed the mark this year. The flavors were decent but visually-especially visually- it just missed.

Finally, it’s pretty clear to me that something didn’t go right on my measurements with this beer. I don’t know what was happening there, most likely I wrote down the wrong numbers for initial gravity, but this is not a 1.4% beer.

Brew date: 8/20/17

Steeping grains
3 lb Gold Rush
1 lb Maris Otter
4 lb 2 row
1.5 lb British Brown
1.5 lb British Chocolate

Fermentables: 3 lb EXLME

1 oz Nugget @ 60
1 oz Nuggets @ 10

Yeast: Imperial house yeast 3rd use

SG: 1.032

FG: 1.022

Notes: added 1/4 tsp calcium chloride to boil
Transfer to secondary 9/8
Bottled 9/26

ABV: 1.4%

Heady Brown

37083472421_2b185ed311_cCurrent brown ale: head is super thick and very prominent. I think that it was because I didn’t put this beer into secondary. That might mean that more yeast was transferred to the bottle than most beers I produce. Because the beer doesn’t taste infected: there aren’t sour flavors that sometimes accompany other beers I’ve made with excessive foam.

That foam smells chocolaty and turns into beer-which is also pleasant and chocolaty. So the nose is a definite plus. The finish is so sparkly, it almost gives an electric shock.

I like the color here; it’s not quite light enough but if I hold the beer up to the light, a glow from the other side appears. It’s not as dark as my previous efforts so I’m taking that as a good sign.

Brew Date: 6/26/17

Steeping grains
1 lb Chocolate
1 lb British Brown
1 lb Special Roast

Fermentables: 7 lb ExLME

1.5 oz Czech Saaz, .5oz Crystal @60
.5 oz Crystal @ 30
1.5 oz Crystal .5 oz Saaz @5

Yeast: Imperial House Yeast (2nd use)

Additions: .5 tsp of Gypsum

OG: 1.055

FG: 1.014

Notes: Airlock blew & I didn’t notice until 7/1
Yeast still active, if slow so…maybe?

ABV: 5.6%




Heavy B

35140105512_87b1db6016_cPart next in the brown ale series: The nose has a lovely caramel and chocolate mix going on. It’s rather luscious, considering and I’m a little surprised I managed to create something with this kind of scent. Pretty cool.

The beer isn’t too heavy on the tongue but there’s a definite cocoa flavor happening, with the inclusive dryness that comes from dark chocolate.

The finish is light, strong effervescence on the tongue and is there a touch of lemon there? It’s a pretty solid ale, I’ll say that. The color isn’t what I hoped but the flavor profile is pretty nice.

I suppose that at the least, I’m making some really good porters.

Brew date: 3/26/17

Steeping grains
2 lb Chocolate
3 lb British brown
1 lb Belgian biscuit

Fermentables: 7 lb LME

Additions: 1/8 tsp Calcium Chloride to boil

.75 oz Nugget & US Fuggles @ 60
.25 oz Nugget & US FUggles @5

Yeast: Imperial Independence (3rd use)

OG: 1.072

FG: 1.028

ABV: 6%

Page 184

34343701006_ea1c892ce7_kContinuing the brown ale series, we have Page 184. This has a chocolate malt nose and a bitter chocolate finish. Not like cocoa powder, more like very dark chocolate, but pretty close to the former.

It’s still quite drinkable, though as I managed to buffer those bitter chocolate moments with a sweet taste in the middle. It’s pretty drinkable and not hard on the palate on any level, so I can have it with lots of different foods; even, I think, a good salad with blue cheese crumbles in it would work well.

It’s a good late spring mid-autumn beer I think. Sure, it’s dark but it’s not too heavy so that if the weather is warm, you don’t feel like you’re overdoing it. But if it’s a little nippy out, well this will still suit you just fine.

Is it what I meant it to be though?

No. Just look at it: is that a brown ale? It is not. It is a Porter. A damn fine Porter in my opinion, but still a Porter.

Now, I don’t want to let the perfect be the enemy of the good, here. A tasty beer is the goal at the end of the day.

However, I am trying to do something specific and that means holding myself up to a slightly higher standard. So, this beer but lighter might work just fine but as it is? Back to take another swing at it.

Brew date: 2/19/17

Steeping grains
4 lb Maris Otter
.75 lb Carapils
.5 lb C120
.25 lb Carafa 1 and 3
1 lb Chocolate Malt

4 lb Extra LME

Extra: 1/4 tsp Calcium chloride

.5 oz Pearle .5 oz US FUggles @60
.5 oz Pearle .5 oz US FUggles @5

Yeast: Imperial’s Independence (2nd use)

I forgot to get the OG. Sigh.

FG: 1.018-but without the original gravity, I can’t calculate the ABV.

Bottled 3/12

Good Job, Amigo

This was a nice swing at a brown ale. Since I never seem to be able to find brown ales when I want them, brewing my own is really the best option. I don’t know why this style hasn’t caught on, like ambers have: maybe it’s more difficult to sell? Pity, because the style is tasty.

Good Job, Amigo has got a solid chocolate presence in the nose but at the finish the beer leans into coffee. It’s very light, however, effervescence bubbling the whole way through the flavors. All in all I am happy with this.

Brew Date: 9.19.15

Steeping grains
2.5 c 40
.25 lb black patent
.25 lb chocolate

Fermentables and other
7 lb LME
1/2 tsp gypsum
1/8 tsp calcium chloride
(note, I have no idea why I added this but it worked so I’m not going to complain)

Hops: 2 oz Willamette @ 60

Yeast: Wyeast 1084 3rd use

OG: 1.059

FG: 1.01

Bottle 10/18

ABV: 6.6%

On The Rail: Growler Guys

“Have you ever been to Growler Guys?” Aaron asked me.

“I haven’t but I’ve heard about them.”

“I had a good experience there,” he said and that was all it took.

So here we are. There’s no place to sit at the rail; it is, instead, a true counter where you order your beer and then find a table. I ponder my choices-GG may be a chain but it’s got a nice selection of beers and they’re smart enough to tilt my options towards Oregon at the Portland location. There’s an interesting saison from Off Color I have a taste of but it doesn’t strike me like the kind of beer I want a pint of.

I settle on Alesmith‘s Nautical Nut. It’s a brown ale and the nose is like chocolate frosting, so I’m in for that. As it warms up, coffee flavors start to appear so the ale doesn’t ever come across as being too sweet. I’m one-quarter though the beer before I know it: A good sign, speaking to the easy to drink quality of the ale but I’m starting to worry that my description will be lacking because it’ll gone too soon.

I also paid $5 for this beer and I am uncertain that it is a pint. For five bucks, one should get a pint.

It’s also uncomfortably quiet at the GG. This would be OK by me except for the reggae music that’s on. I’m always going to prefer silence to reggae.

Still, that there’s almost no one here and that seems strange for a Saturday night. I wonder if that’s because it’s a chain? Two televisions-both set to sports stations-and a total of seven patrons counting myself, none of whom are paying attention to them. It’s not unpleasant and it’s well lit enough that I could play cards here (always a virtue for me). It’s not extremely distinctive though and while there is a nice spread of beer selections, they aren’t particularly off the radar. Plus, with the Commons, Green Dragon and Cascade Ale House within a two block radius, a legitimate question to ask is: why would you come here when you have local options that are right there?

But that is an issue with location, not service, selection or atmosphere (except for the reggae). If this place was in an underserved neighborhood? I’d be alllll about it.

My beer is nearly empty and it still smells like chocolate cake. If nothing else, this beer is goading me to make a brown ale again.

Old Haunts

I have taken another swing at making a brown ale and it’s come out as a solid beer, I’d say.

There isn’t a strong nose but that’s OK. It is nicely chocolatey, finishing with a little bitter note and then a fine bubbly to clear the palate. It’s a very mild beer with a pretty nice finish on it-and that finish really makes this beer better. There’s nothing too intense on the front end so it won’t overwhelm you and the clearance on the back end means that it can be paired easily with a lot of different food without distracting from that.

What’s really cool about Old Haunts is that the initial yeast I pitched didn’t take. 48 hours into fermentation, I had to pitch another yeast and that made me nervous. Yeasts often provide their own flavors and a yeast that didn’t take? Who knows what might be contributed? But this beer still managed to come out OK! It’s good to be working on a forgiving project.

Brew Date: 1.19.15

.5 lb C60
.5 lb C120
.25 lb pale chocolate
2oz black patent

Fermentables: 5 lb LME

1.5 oz E. Kent Goldings @60
.5 oz E Kent Goldings @5

Yeast: Wyeast 1099 Whitbread, starter made

OG: 1.049

FG: 1.011

Yeast didn’t take, added 1007 German Ale yeast 2 days after

Put into secondary 2/13

Bottled 2/16

ABV: 5.15%

7pm Responsible, Reliable and Tired

Caldera Hemp BrownSipping on Caldera‘s Hemp Brown after a longish day. This is the trouble with being responsible. People rely on that and then when anything goes wrong, you not only have to take up the slack, it’s expected of you. Suddenly you’ve got to take care of twice, now three times the tasks and be responsible for directing traffic too. The days stretch on, you manage it but occasionally they still bite you in the ass with just a few new surprises.

You don’t just get to stay home, drinking beer, playing games, napping and dreaming of blowjobs.

You gotta work. And on the days when things go wrong, as I’ve had today, it’s not like one can just go home and hang up the skates. Nothing to do but endure your day, complain as amusingly as you can and wait  until you can get a proper ale.

Times like this, I understand the trial of parents everywhere a little better. You don’t get a break, as one once thought or understood a break to be, as a kid. Home is just where you don’t make money. Oh sure, there are other rewards but in a just world, babysitting would be a multi-billion dollar industry and the bank owners would enter the Thunderdome.

Then again, do we really want a bunch of teen or near teenagers running around with a lot of money and…shall we say ‘developing’? senses of right and wrong? I suppose it would make things interesting, if nothing else.

This beer, this brown ale is a satisfactory one. It doesn’t take the edge off but it does let me settle in for what ought to be a long night of ales. It won’t be. This is the drawback of drinking on Mondays: you have to work, you have to be responsible and get ready to crush your enemies the next day.

It’s got a slight burnt flavor at the back end, on the roof of my mouth. Campfire-y. I like it. It’s gentle enough that I was 3/4ths through my beer before I noticed it.

There’s a woman walking by outside, begging for change. As she stops to ask people for money, she takes on a certain sway, bobbing, as though she was a buoy in the water. Her face looks like a punched raisin, her wide smile more like a disturbing slash made in a loaf of bread.

She moves on and I am reminded that there are worse things than being responsible, reliable and tired.

I still get to dream of days. I am certain I already have what some part of her dreamt of.

The Imperial Brown

On my birthday, I made this beer:

Steeping grains:
1.5 lb pils
1.25 Crystal 40
.5 lb chocolate
2 oz Carafa II

7 lb LME
1 lb Dry wheat malt extract
1.5 lb Dry Extract malt, light

1.5 oz N Brewer @ 60
1 oz Centennial @ 15

reused Alt 2 Wyeast 1056

Original Gravity:




The final trick, though, was to add some fresh yeast to my priming sugar before I bottled the beer. This meant that the beer would actually be carbonated-no tricks, no waiting two months, none of that. About seven days and I’d be ready to go. I don’t know if I was told to do this earlier and ignored it or what but thanks to the fine bloke at FH Steinbarts for the suggestion because…

Check that out. That is a carbonated beer. I am SO pleased that this has come out this way.

No, it’s not appropriate to style. Darker ales tend to be, if made to style, less carbonated, sometimes hardly carbonated at all. Understand, however, that I’ve been trying to work out a way to consistently carbonate my beers since I started brewing  seven years ago.

Now I don’t know that I’ve solved my carbonation issues. Repetition is the key to success here and this is the first time I’ve added fresh yeast but after struggling for so long, it’s nice to have this kind of unmitigated success.

The nose is very malty, without pushing coffee flavors. The beer has a nice smooth mouthfeel-which, unfortunately, is disrupted rather quickly by the carbonation.

So there is a drawback here. That said; it tastes really good! Faint chocolate, slight alcohol warmth with a very clean finish. I can be proud of this one for sure.