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Brown ale, in just about any of its varieties, is probably my favorite style of beer. Northern English, Southern English, American, even the granddaddy Old Ale – I love ’em all. So today’s beer is going to be a big winter American brown. Here are the basics:

Big American Brown
3.5 Qts
1.75# Marris Otter
1.5 oz British Crystal 50 – 60L (I like the character it gives over the American 40L or 60L)
1 oz Chocolate Malt
0.75 oz Victory (I like the toastiness this gives brown ales)
0.375 oz Willamette @ 90 min
0.167 oz Willamette @ 35 min
0.125 oz Willamette @ 0 min
WLP001 Yeast

My methods were a little different this time from the last brew, but not much. First off, the grain crushing. I read on the More Beer forums that some people were using a blender to “crush” their grains. It seems easy enough, so I gave it a go. Read the rest of this entry »

A symbol of man’s hubris

I’ve been gone for a little while, but I’m back now.  I had some business trips and then I was sick and then I had to travel again.  But now that I’m back I have some funny stories for you all (both of you reading this).  Well, not so much funny as depressing.  See I’ve had some beer related failures lately and since I’m an honest guy I’m gonna tell you all about them.

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Clockwise starting at the top: American Chocolate Malt, Domestic 2-Row, Victory Malt, and Crystal 40L

I’m tormented by my recent drop in mash efficiency. Tormented I tell you. And since I didn’t have to work today I decided to brew yet again, even though I just brewed last night and I’ll be brewing with my brother-in-law tomorrow. But this time my goal is simply to figure out how to get my 3.5 quart efficiency up to the 70% mark like it usually is for my 2.5 gallon beers. So I’m going to be moving further away from my little experiments and sparging more and boiling longer. As you’ll see, the results, while not perfect, are still encouraging. I hope I didn’t just spoil this post for everybody.

Let’s jump right in with the recipe shall we? I wanted to make more of the brown ale but didn’t have all the grains to replicate it, so I came up with this one instead:

Brown Ale v2.0

Batch size: 0.875 gallons

1.75 lbs Domestic 2-row
1.5 oz Crystal 40L
1 oz American Chocolate Malt
0.75 oz Victory Malt
0.25 oz Willamette @ 60
0.18 oz Fuggles @ 5
American Ale Yeast (I used some of the slurry from the rye ale)

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The main event

After sitting in bottles to carbonate for a few weeks the brown ale is ready for prime time.

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A little over two weeks ago I brewed a 2 1/2 gallon batch of brown ale with my brother-in-law. It fermented quickly and looked great so tonight I took a gravity reading.


If you can’t see that clearly enough, it reads 1.010. That may not mean much to you, but it was the final gravity I was shooting for. Which means two things-(a) the beer fermented just like I wanted and (b) it’s ready to bottle. And bottle it I did.
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There is a man in Jersey City who really loves beer. This is his story.