January 20, 2014

Old King Clancy Old Ale Recipe

I'm not a big believer that "old ale" really classifies as a style beyond being a strong ale/barleywine that has been aged. It seems odd that one can create an "old ale" that isn't very old but instead an approximation of some of the character of aged beer. I'm not comfortable calling a beer "old ale" unless it really has been aged or will be aged. This one will, so I'm ok with calling it as much.

Old King Clancy (a Canadian sex act, according to How I Met Your Mother) is the beginning of a larger brewing project for 2015. I want to do some blending of aged but not sour/brett beers both among themselves and with fresh beer. I haven't written about this project yet because it's something I have just started thinking about. I am also thinking about making a rye porter as another base aged beer in the project. Also playing with the idea of aging something Belgian or German for the project. I'm not committed to limiting myself to British beer styles. Once I hammer out more on that project I'll post about it in greater detail.

The recipe for Old King Clancy isn't a fancy recipe. It's based entirely on stuff I have on hand. It's pale malt plus some adjuncts. Oats for a little body. Piloncillo for sugar content and some dark sugar flavors. It's the same stuff I used last year in a barleywine and it turned into an interesting beer. A little molasses for color and flavor. I'm letting the molasses and piloncillo give the old ale some of those stone fruit flavors often found in dark English crystal malts. Not identical but similar. I'm going light on the hops. Most of it is bittering, designed to maintain balance after a year or more of aging. There is a small charge in the flavor timeframe. It's Belma, which is a weird addition for a British-style beer, but I'm hoping after all the aging the remaining hop flavor will be grassy rather than the more delicate fruit flavors. I'm also subjecting this beer to faux barrel aging with some oak cubes soaked in Canadian whiskey. Why Canadian whiskey instead of bourbon? It works better with the beer's name (unimportant) and will impart those barrel-type flavors without adding the sweetness of bourbon. Ok, let's get to the recipe.

Old King Clancy Old Ale Recipe

Est. OG: 1.081
Est. FG: 1.011
Est. ABV: 9.3%
Bitterness: 63.9 IBU
Color: 8.7 SRM
Est. Efficiency: 65%
Batch size: 1.1 gallons

The Grain Bill (and kettle sugar additions)

85% 3 lb US 2 row (2 SRM)
7.1% 4 oz Flaked oats (1 SRM)
7.1% 4 oz Piloncillo (50 SRM)
0.8% 0.5 oz Blackstrap Molasses (80 SRM)

The Mash

Single infusion at with batch sparge at 180F
5.2 qt mash water
1.96 gallons sparge water
RO water adjusted in Bru'n Water to amber malty profile

Single infusion of 5.2 qt at 157.6F for 75 minutes at 148F.
Batch sparge with 1.96 g at 180F for 168F sparging

The Mash

0.3g gypsum
0.3g epsom salt
0.1g canning salt
0.5g calcium chloride
0.1g chalk
0.5ml lactic acid

The Sparge

0.5g gypsum
0.4g epsom salt
0.2g canning salt
0.8g calcium chloride
1.1ml lactic acid

The Boil

90 minute boil
0.37oz Belma [12.1% AAU] at 75 minutes
0.10oz Belma [12.1% AAU] at 15 minutes
0.2 tsp irish moss at 10 minutes
0.5oz molasses at 10 minutes
4.0oz piloncillo at 10 minutes

The Fermentation

Ferment with S-04 at 64F until 90% FG reached. Raise to 70F until FG reached. Add 0.25oz Canadian whiskey-soaked medium char oak cubes to fermentor. Age at room temperature until ready for blending.

Brewday & Fermentation Notes

Returned to wet milling grain after several batches of not conditioning the grain before milling to see if it would improve efficiency. Remembered how awful it was trying to get wet grain out of the plate mill.

Terrible brewday, had problems keeping mash warm. No idea why this one was worse than any other.

First runnings: 1.066
Second runnings: 1.013
Pre-boil volume: 2.8 gallon
Pre-boil gravity: 1.037
Mash efficiency: 86%
Post-boil volume: 1.1 gallons
Original gravity: 1.090
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%

Overall acceptable efficiency on the beer, given the nightmare of a brewday.

Pitched S-04 at fermentation temperature.

2/6/14: FG reading: 1.011. Added 0.25 ounces of Makers Mark-soaked medium toast oak chips. Will age until next year's blending.

Bottled 12.20.14. FG: 1.011. ABV: 10.9%.

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