As I am pretty sure I’ve lamented previously, I sometimes get too far down the rabbit-hole of brewing to a particular style. IPA, stout, porter, pilsner…all are great, but that can be at expense of creativity. On the other hand, I grew wary of the big and bitter beers that I gravitated towards early in my craft beer days. And yet…I now find myself picking up a bottle of Arrogant Bastard every few weeks, and kind of enjoying it. The excesses of craft beer recipes are still excessive, but I’m finding that they can be enjoyable in moderation and on occasion.
To scratch this itch, I paged through the Craft Beer For the Homebrewer book, and my eyes settled upon a clone recipe for something called Ill-Tempered Gnome. Produced by Oakshire Brewing, this recipe looked big, dark, and bitter, and was billed as an American Brown Ale (on the website) or a winter warmer (in the beer book).
Quite intrigued, I pulled together the ingredients, making a minor substitution or two based on availability for some of the harder-to-find malts (e.g., I had to go with a different brand of coffee malt versus Franco-Belges Kiln Coffee Malt in the original recipe). That said, I did try to adhere as closely as possible to the book’s version, which I was told (by Denny Conn himself) came direct from the brewer.
Ill-Tempered Gnome Clone
- 12 lb. California Select 2-row malt (Great Western)
- 11 oz. crystal 15° (Great Western)
- 5 oz. coffee malt (Simpsons)
- 5 oz. honey malt (Gambrinus)
- 5 oz. special B malt (Dingemans)
- 4.5 oz. special roast malt (Briess)
- 3.5 oz. chocolate malt (Briess)
- 1 oz. Nugget hop pellets (12.9% alpha), 60 minute boil
- 0.5 oz. Centennial hop pellets (8.1% alpha), 20 minute boil
- 0.5 oz. Crystal hop pellets (4.5% alpha), 20 minute boil
- 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
- 1 oz Cascade whole hops (est. 5.5% alpha), 5 minute boil
- 2 pkg. Safale American ale yeast (US-05)
- 1.062 o.g., 1.015 f.g., 6.3% abv, 58 IBU, 19 SRM
- Full volume mash at 154° for 60 minutes, with 10 minute mash-out at 168°
- Claremont tap water, adjusted to reach estimated profile of 75 ppm Ca, 11 ppm Mg, 93 ppm Na, 149 ppm sulfate, 105 ppm Cl, 156 ppm bicarbonate; RA 68, 128 ppm alkalinity; 60 ppm effective hardness.
- I heated 7.5 gallons of water to 161°, adding a Campden tablet to remove chloramines. Then, I mashed in with the grains to hit a temperature of 154°. I added 7 mL (1.5 tsp.) of 88% lactic acid to adjust the pH of the mash, and recirculated at 154° for 60 minutes. Then, I raised the mash temperature to 168° and held it there for 10 minutes, before removing the grains.
- In total, I collected 6.35 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.055, for 68% mash efficiency.
- As I brought the runnings to a boil, I added 5 g of gypsum to adjust the water profile.
- To bring the gravity up a bit, I boiled for an extra 10 minutes, before beginning to add the hops. I then boiled for an additional 60 minutes, adding hops and kettle finings per the recipe.
- After the 60 minute boil, I chilled to ~75°, transferred to the fermenter, and chilled down to 65° in the fermentation chamber. Then, I pitched the two packages of yeast.
- I brewed the beer on 9 October 2021, and fermented at 65°. Starting gravity was 1.061.
- On 20 October 2021, I let the beer free rise to 70° (after removing it from the fermentation chamber).
- I kegged the beer on 23 October 2021. At this point, its gravity was 1.017. This equates to 5.9% abv.
- The beer pours with a thick and frothy ivory head, and awesome lacing as the head subsides slowly. The beer is a brilliantly clear reddish amber in color in a tulip glass, and is a nice even brown in a tall glass.
- Resiny hops are at the front, with toffee and coffee malt aroma alongside some caramel. The malt/hop balance is spot-on.
- Moderately high bitterness, with a resin and pine quality to the hops, for an extended bitterness in the finish. This beer has a full malt character, with caramel at the front and a slight bit of chocolate at the back. Delicious!
- Medium-full body, with moderate carbonation and an off-dry finish.
- Would I Brew This Again?
- YES! The resiny hops plus rich malt character are an awesome combo. The beer is straight out of 1997 in terms of its traditional hops and big flavors, but I love it for that. Who knows if my version is a true clone, but do I really care? I love this beer! In particular, it’s not really a winter warmer (in terms of the overspiced recipes so common out there), but definitely closer to an American brown ale. I’ll do this one again.