Monday, November 12, 2007

Sgt. Tracie's Lonely Hearts Club Brown

After much debate and pangs of guilt, I decided to opt out of another spectacular weekend in Moab. I made my decision based on: 1) pure exhastion and 2) being a total slacker last week with my school group work. I wanted to make the most out of my lonely husbandless weekend, so what did I do? I brewed beer, of course!! (There will be no comment on the Moab trip that I missed. I'm not bitter. I'm not, I'm not, I'm not...)

Scott had given me this recipe over a year ago and it had been sitting in the beer recipe pile gathering dust. I just couldn't bring myself to brew another brown ale, since my first was less than spectacular (drinkable, but a little blah). However, I finally got to taste the renowned brown at Scott's house a few weeks back, and I was counting the days until I could brew a batch of that bad boy. The beer is an amazing blend of Porter chocolatey goodness, a nice mellow hoppiness background, and a very smooth, non-Porter finish. Granted, I was drinking from an all-grain computer-controlled batch served out of a temperature-controlled keg, but I was sold.

I went to the Beer Nut on Saturday to get all my supplies in preparation to brew on Saturday. I had to make some substitutions (see the recipe notes below). On Sunday morning, I hauled all the gear upstairs, cleaned the kitchen up, and I was ready to BREW, baby!

Um, I forgot about water. Off to the grocery store. OK, now I'm ready to BREW! Shit. I go back to the Beer Nut for hop and grain bags.

Goddammit, it's time to BREW! Good lord...I accidently brought up the bottling bucket, which is now full of iodine in the tub. Back downstairs for the right bucket.

Is it time to brew yet? Shoot me in the friggin head...I need a new thermometer - back to the Beer Nut.

Finally, the planets aligned and I got my water boiling. Thank goodness the brewing went much more smoothly than the preparation. Two hours later, I had five gallons of goodness ready to ferment. It started bubbling this morning!

Scott's Dark Brown Ale

2 lbs Maris Otter Malt, crushed
1 lb British Chocolate Malt, crushed
4 lbs Light DME
1 lb Dark Malt Extract
5 oz Fuggles hop pellets (4.5% alpha)

Note: The original recipe called for 6 lbs Maris Otter Malt Extract, which the Beer Nut did not have. I substituted the 2 lbs of malt combined with 4 lbs DME.

Bring approximately 2 gallons of water to 155C and add grains (Maris Otter and Chocolate). Add more water if necessary to cover the grain bag. Steep for 15 minutes and remove grain bag. Squeeze to extract additional liquid, and discard.

Add additional water to brewpot (approximately 3 gallons total) and turn off heat. Slowly add the Light DME and Dark DME until dissolved. Turn heat back on and bring to boiling. Start timer when wort starts boiling.

15 minutes into the boil add 2.5oz Fuggles hops (bittering)

55 minutes into the boil add 2.5oz Fuggles hops (flavoring)

Turn off heat at 60 minutes. Add additional water to brewpot if desired (4 gallons total) and use wort chiller to cool the wort to 80 degrees or less. Once wort is cooled, pour it into the sanitized fermenter, being sure to agitate it for additional oxidation. Add additional water to bring total volume to 5 gallons.

Pitch yeast and allow to ferment ~ 1 week (active fermentation complete). Rack to secondary for at least a week. Bottle with leftover DME.

I wish I would have had a camera to document the process, but alas, Josh took both cameras to Moab.

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