Leaves Falling Brown
Did that fall graphic make you shudder? Yes, summer is coming to and end but its not all bad. Fall beers are around the corner and we got a running start at The Shop.
I recently turned 40, and I'm a simple guy so the only thing I wanted was a full day of brewing and family. We had friends over, a bbq, & of course, lots of beer. I did a double brew day on my deck using our larger system, making a version 2.0 of my first ever homebrew, and a new recipe for a fall beer. I present to you, Leaves Falling Brown.
Leaves Falling Brown - Traditional Brown Ale
Recipe - 10 gallon:
Now that's a lot of brown malt!
As I have said a number of times... I love brown malt. I love the smell of it, the colour of it, and how it works in beer. This is of course a personal opinion but I believe it is an underused grain - we don't need pumpkin spice this, and walnut that (unless that's your thing)... Brown malt is the key to your fall beer making dreams. Brown malt is traditional, & smooth. It can be rich, as a full base malt, or it can be a great edition to a traditional English Mild as a speciality/secondary grain.
Now, it's not lost on me that using a traditional grain like brown malt is maybe a bit strange given that I often enjoy brewing weird (like my Cadbury Cream Egg stout) and/or modern styles (my peanut butter porter). Since Derek excels at brewing traditional European styles, and I have learned so much from him I will chalk up my love of brown malt to his influence.
The Brew Day
My birthday brew day went pretty smoothly all things considered (lots of people, lots of beer) and my initial gravity on Leaves Falling Brown was 1.054, which admittedly a bit under my target of 1.058. During the mash and transfer to the boil kettle I was very happy with the colour and smell of the wort- and so were many of the day's guests. My boil schedule went smoothly and I used our chiller to get things out of the danger zone quickly after the boil.
I used English Ale I from Escarpment Labs for my aforementioned peanut butter porter a number of months back. I was pretty happy with rate of fermentation, and the overall outcome, so I went back to the well for this traditional brown ale. I put together a yeast starter about 24 hours before the pitch that took off very aggressively. I pitched later on in the evening when my wort was a room temperature and fermentation started within an hour. It's always nice to see activity after a short amount of time so you know you are the right track.
I am a bit of a political junkie so I wanted to enjoy my new homebrew while I have been watching the leadership debates (Sept 9th, 2021) and admittedly I cracked my first Leaves Falling Brown a bit early, and I should have let it condition in the bottle a bit longer, maybe a day or two - it's close. As a priming sugar I used dextrose at 131g / 5 gallons for a standard carbonation profile fitting the traditional style. What I am most happy about is the mouthfeel (damn its smooth) but I am going to have to let it sit a bit before I crack another.
I also had Derek try the beer (again a bit early) and his opinion is as follows: "huge chocolate aroma, silky smooth. Still drinks a bit young so maybe 3-4 more days. A good bitterness from the hops but it balances well with the chocolate." Given how much I respect our chief recipe creator I am feeling pretty good about it.
I guess I am pretty happy with the beer overall, and I am going to give it a few more days to mature and get where it needs to be. Final ABV came in at 5.1% and I am pretty happy with the results from the English Ale I yeast. I would love to hear your opinions on brown ales, or tradition British styles in general. What works for you? Are these traditional styles old news against the new trendy fall beer styles?
Thanks for reading.