May 16, 2011

Brewing of an Oud Bruin part 7 -- the brown ale

It's about that time to make the brown ale. The sour-brett pale ale portion is now five months old so it's time to get the brown ale fermenting so I can stay on target to make this a six month brew and blend in June. I'm not sure how much the pale ale portion really needs the six months since time tends to have a negative effect on hop aroma and flavor so if I like this beer enough to brew it a second time I might cut it from six months to two or three months and see if there is any noticeable effect.

My original recipe for the brown ale included pale malt, munich, vienna, special B, caravienne and caramunich. As I was on my way to the homebrew shop after finishing my last final for the semester (hell yeah!) it occurred to me that I added the cara grains because they were used in some oud bruin and Flanders red recipes to make sure there is plenty of dextrins for the brett to eat. I don't need those dextrins since the brett won't get ahold of them. So I retooled the recipe to be a little more simplistic. It was a good thing I did since the homebrew shop I went to didn't have either cara grain. I did sub in some carapils to give the beer a little body since the pale ale portion is very thin. Not a necessity since oud bruins are often thinner beers but we'll see how it goes. I intend to mash a little lower than I would otherwise since the carapils will add some body. So here is the updated recipe:

4 gallon brown ale:

Grain bill:
3lb pale malt
2lb munich
1.75lb vienna
.5lb carapils
.25lb special B
2 oz black patent malt

Mash:
60 min at 150

60 minute boil

Boil additions:
.75oz Fuggles at 60
.25oz Fuggles at 10
Irish moss at 10

Yeast:
WLP 575 for four weeks at 70


I added an ounce of black patent malt for coloring. I realized when I put the updated recipe in beersmith it was way too light. With the black patent it gets to 21 SRM which is still a bit light when the pale ale is mixed in but I think it will be ok. The downside is that the brown ale will come in at 7.44% ABV which is a bit high for the style but since I don't have to worry about alcohol inhibiting sourness it won't be a concern for the ABV to be a couple percentage points too high. In the future I might cut out a little pale malt to bring it down in ABV which would allow less black patent to be used.

Pre-boil the color is nice and brown, not as deep as I might want it to be, but better than without the black patent. I'm already thinking about additional alterations I may want to do in the next rendition. I may want to retool the brown ale as a lower ABV and darker beer. If it ends up not being a bretty as I want, I may also want to split the brown ale and ferment part on a Belgian yeast and then take the pale ale, siphon it off the trub and use the brett from the pale ale to ferment the rest. I think the esters from the Belgian yeasts are important to keep in the beer to lend complexity and fruity notes. Similarly, if it is not sour enough I may sour more of the pale ale or instead sour a small portion of the brown ale.

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