Tag Archives: brown ale

Old Churches 3, Secondary

I put the Old Churches wort into secondary yesterday:


Beers get put into secondary fermentation for a few reasons, but the biggest one is to remove the wort from the dead yeast and other detritus that has dropped out of the beer, so the flavors from that don’t get into the beer. It also makes for a brighter, clearer beer visually, because when I go to bottle a lot of the debris that might’ve mixed in with the beer won’t be there.

I also added one ounce of UK Kent Golding hops. (They’re the little green  bricks you see in the lower right of the brew.) The scent on this was really, really unusual; almost candy sweet. No trace of bitterness in this beer. I’m thinking I’ll leave it in secondary for as long as I can. The beer is still brewing-or at least, the yeast is till working. If it spends another 3 weeks in secondary, I think I’m ok with that. My gut tells me this beer is a ways from being done.

Update: the fermentation has slowed pretty significantly, even after a day away. I wonder if it was wise to put this beer into secondary while it was still had obvious signs of life. Patience is often the virtue of the brewer, and I may not have been very virtuous. I fear not, however! It still smells good, and that’s a hell of a lot better than it smelling bad.

Old Churches 3; the day after

Holy crap this beer took off like I’ve never seen before.

What isn’t being conveyed is the rate of fermentation; this thing is bubbling like an overactive steroid in Dr Frankenstein’s lab. It’s so intense, the water in the airlock is almost percolating over, and it’s kind of freaking me out. But it’s active, so that’s awesome!

And that’ll probably be the last post on this for about a month. Patience!

Old Churches, pt 2: Brew day

This starts the day before actually, when I transfered a pale ale into secondary and then cleaned and sanitized the primary carboy for use. This process isn’t that exciting, but I took pictures anyway.

Anyway, after sanitizing all the equipment, I set it aside until yesterday, when I actually brewed the beer.

Start with:
Carapils Dextrin Malt-1.25lb
Chocolate Malt (british)–.5lb
British Brown Malt-1.25lb
all steeped at about 125 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Then I added 6 pounds of Light Malt Extract, one pound of Wheat Malt Extract, and two pounds of Extra Light Malt Extract, while bringing it up to about 170. Malt extract takes a bit of time to dissolve when you’re adding 8 pounds of it.

But then the boil gets started, and as with all other brews I’ve seen, you start at the end number and count backwards. So at 60 minutes left in the boil, I added 1.5oz of Cluster hops. 1oz of Chinook at 30 minutes, 0.5 oz of UK Kent Golding hops and 1/4 cup of agave nectar at 15 minutes, and then at 0 minutes 0.5 oz of Cascade hops. -5 minutes into the boil, I took it off…(I went a little over. It happens.)

Unfortunately, I did a few very silly things at this point. Well one; I forgot to get the original gravity reading. So there will be no way for me to tell how alcoholic this beer is, aside from the whole ‘drinking it’ option of course. But this is what it looked like then:

About 2 hours later I pitched the yeast; White Labs 530 and 550, at about 78 degrees. Should know in about a day if the yeast takes and actually starts brewing.

Old Churches, the adventure begins

This adventure starts off probably a month or more back, while talking to Impy. The phrase, “Old Church–that would be a great name for a beer!” was said, and away we went, wondering what it would be like. My premise was that it would be a brown ale, with belgian yeast; dense and seeped in old tradition. She liked the idea, so I ran with it, looking at brown and belgian ales in an attempt to see where they could be co-mingled.

Then of course I actually had to get the materials, and in true homebrewer fashion, not everything was there so I had to fake it.

Here’s what I’ve come up with:
White Labs yeast 530
White Labs yeast 550 (the yeast was supposed to be 515 in both cases)
2oz Kent Golding hops (for finishing; the aroma is so nice)
2oz Cascade hops (bittering)
Light Malt Extract-6lb
Extra Light Malt Extract-2lb (supposed to be 2 more pounds of LME)
Carapils Dextrin Malt-1.25lb -seeping malts
Chocolate Malt (british)–.5lb-seeping malts
British Brown Malt-1.25lb-seeping malts (supposed to be Crystal)

There’s a few exciting things going on here. First, I’m trying out  a recipe with two different yeasts in it. I’ve never done that before and I’m interested in how it’ll come out. What I’ve read about these yeasts is that they produce more alcohol, so the beer will be less malty. However, since I’m seeping a much darker malt with more sugars in it than is called for, and I plan on adding maybe 1 cup of organic sugar to this, I’m thinking that it should all turn out OK. These yeasts are supposed to give a spicier flavor instead of the sweeter kind that frequents most belgian ales; all I can do is run with it and see what happens.

Then there’s the malt. When I took a sniff of the crystal malt, I thought it was OK. Biscuity, but alright. The Brown malt, however, said to me; I’m a brown ale malt, pick me! with it’s rich undertones of crispened sugars.
How could I resist?

I was also mightily tempted by the presence of Pacman yeast, which is what Rogue uses in all their beers and I’ve had great success with. I bought a couple packs, just because.  I’ll use them in the next beer however because Pacman yeast is a bitch to acquire but goes with almost everything. At least everything Rogue does. And I’ve already got the belgain yeast, so I want to put that to use.

The argument

I enjoy going out with my buddy Jim. We pretty much argue half the time, but it’s always about things that utterly don’t matter
(him: Deep Purple was a hugely influential band with great songs
me: No they fucking weren’t, they had Smoke on the Water, and everything else was shit.
The Decemberists are awesome and lyrically amazing!
The are the dullest band ever.)

so our feelings never get hurt.

Of course, all of this is inspired by the Morrison Hotel playing really shitty Foo Fighters songs (instead of good ones), and we could both agree on that. So it was in the spirit of spirited argument, I had the following:

Some unpleasant tasting beer that I couldn’t exactly see who made. It was known as a ‘Dark IPA’ and it tasted bitter, like it had been burnt. I regreted choosing this over the Dogfish beer that caught my eye, but I had to try it.

Nostradamus Belgain Brown. The nose was full of banana. As a matter of fact, it was like a banana split; sugary and whipped cream backing up the banana nose itself. This banana flavor ran through the whole beer–the belgain yeast just dominated over the malts. However-and I’m just taking this from my notes- as the beer warmed up, I noticed a cinnamon touch in the nose, and the dessert confection started to mellow out. It became easier to drink the warmer it got. I suspect this beer might’ve been served to me too cold, and if I’d just given it a couple minutes my experience would’ve been different.

Next: St Bernardus Quadrupel. I got this b/c at the Belmont Station for the Six Rivers event, my girlfriend asked me: what’s a quadrupel? And I had no idea, aside from it being Belgain and probably following in the line of the dubbel, trippel ales that Belgain abbys are so famous for. The head on this was as dense as a nerf ball, and I could hardly get a scent off of it, but clove seemed to touch my senses for a moment. The flavors were very, very common to a trippel; sweet, with an alcohol warmth to help bring it back (11%!), but then I caught a touch of something else…sourness. Just a little bit at the end, a nudge utterly opposite the rest of the beer. That’s when I realized that maybe this yeast is what’s being used for the raspberry lambic at Six Rivers.

Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale was next up, as I came back to the choice that I’d initially hoped to drink. This beer had mocha running in it, chocolate malts that were really tasty…of course, between the lateness of the evening and my allergies, I got no nose off the beer whatsoever. But there was a slight coffee bitterness and drying effect at the very back that had me wanting more. However, it’s strong for a brown ale (7.2%) so I opted to cease so I could get home.

Or at least, I thought I had. Earlier in the evening, Jim in a kind of faux-macho swagger ordered an Old German. It came in a can. I’m not sure I can say anything more about that, except the waiter grinned and gave Jim an ‘Oh yeah!’: he knew how bad it was, and exactly why it was being ordered. When I saw it, (about the time I was drinking the St B’s) I laughed and said that I had to order it.

And it was after the Indian Brown Ale that Jim reminded me of that.

It was terrible. My notes plead with me: I have to finish a pint of this? I didn’t.There\'s a straw in my beer

And yes, the Old German was served to me with a straw in it.