For our November meeting, my homebrew club chose “British Brown Ales” (BJCP 2015 Style 13B) as our in-club competition. This is a style that I like (Newcastle and Sam Smith’s come to mind as good examples), but not one I brew very often.
My recipe research often begins on the American Homebrewers Association website, which has an extensive recipe library (some freely available, some available only to members). Many of the recipes are from National Homebrew Competition winners, so I figure they’re probably a decent representation of the style. Nick’s Northern English Brown Ale took gold in 2012, and I used that as my jumping-off point. My only real modification to the original recipe was in the yeast; I used Nottingham dry yeast, instead of West Yorkshire Ale yeast. A second minor modification was use of crystal 80 instead of the English crystal 77°, based on availability.
Baryonyx Brown Ale
- 5.5 lb. Maris Otter malt (Crisp)
- 3 lb. Vienna malt (Weyermann)
- 0.75 special roast malt
- 0.5 lb. brown malt
- 0.5 lb. caramel 80° malt (Briess)
- 0.5 lb. Victory (biscuit) malt (Briess)
- 6 oz. pale chocolate malt (Crisp)
- 1.25 oz. East Kent Goldings hop pellets (6.0% alpha), 60 minute boil
- 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
- 0.5 oz. East Kent Goldings hop pellets (6.0% alpha), 5 minute boil
- 2 pkg. Nottingham ale yeast (Lallemand)
- Infusion mash, batch sparge
- Claremont tap water, treated with Campden tablet
- 1.049 o.g., 1.011 f.g., 5.0% abv, 28 IBU, 19 SRM
- I mashed in with 3.75 gallons of water at 163°, to hit a mash temperature of 152°. After 60 minutes, I batch sparged in two steps with 1.25 gallons and 3.5 gallons of water (with 10 minute wait and vorlauf between each).
- In total, I collected 6.8 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.046, for 78% mash efficiency.
- I brought the runnings to a boil, adding hops and finings per the recipe. After 60 minutes, I turned off the flame and chilled the wort.
- I pitched the yeast, and fermented at 68°.
- I brewed this beer on 19 October 2019. Starting gravity was 1.052, just a hair above target.
- I kegged the beer on 11 November 2019. Final gravity was 1.011, for 5.3% abv.
- Deep amber beer, fairly hazy still. Thin, tan head.
- Lightly malty, slightly earthy
- Malt-forward beer, with a chocolate note at the back end; hop bitterness hides behind the malt. Caramel notes are fairly minimal. The flavor deepens as the beer warms up in the glass.
- Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, smooth and extended bitterness on the finish.
- Would I brew this again?
- Maybe? This isn’t a completely amazing beer, but it ain’t bad either. It’s smooth and pretty darned drinkable, which is not a bad target to hit. The main deficit is that it needs more caramel character, perhaps with an extra helping of crystal 80. The chocolate note is nice in this one. Clarity is also a disappointment when I did the tasting today; maybe it will drop clear with another week or two in the keg?
The beer was reasonably well received in our club competition; it scored in the mid-30s, earning third place after two other great entries. As I have mentioned before, I really like that club contests help push me to try out new things!