Tasting Notes: Brown Ale, Version 1

We brewed our Brown Ale November 20, hoping to add another well done beer to our taps. During fermentation we were concerned due to the thin mouth feel and non-existent hop character. Brown ales are not traditionally big, hoppy beers, but we were not happy with what we were tasting.

We decided to dry hop with 1 oz Northern Brewer hop pellets (7.6% alpha acids) upon transfer to the conical fermentation vessel, 72 hours prior to cold crash.

Our Brown Ale, Version 1.
Our Brown Ale, Version 1.

We were very pleasantly surprised with this beer. This is not a big beer; it has hints of malt and hops on the aroma. The flavor was malty. The color has a hint of red and the clarity is good. Head an foam lacing are fantastic. It is also nice to have beer on tap at approximately 5% ABV (rather than 8 – 9%).

We are will look to make some changes to the recipe. Initial thoughts include increasing the flaked oats to 1 lb and the Caramunich III 60L to 1.5 – 2.0 lbs. The Crystal 75L will be decreased and perhaps changed to a different malt. Although, it will be a pleasure to drink this brown ale in its current incarnation.


November 20, 2016: Brown Ale v. 1

With a rather delicious Bourbon Vanilla Imperial Porter and fine Alex’s Amber Ale on tap, we decided to brew a new beer. Survey said – Brown Ale!

Grain bill:

  • 8 lbs 2-row domestic
  • 2 lbs Crystal 75 L
  • 1 lbs Caramunich III 60 L
  • 0.5 lbs chocolate malt
  • 0.5 lbs flaked oats

Hops (Pellet):

  • 0.625 11.1% alpha acids (60 minutes)
  • 1.25 oz Crystal 4.8% alpha acids (5 minutes)


  • Wyeast 1272 American Ale II (#1455294, 10/20/2016 mfg )

    Another beautiful fermentation profile from WYEAST 1272.
    Another beautiful fermentation profile from WYEAST 1272.


  • Starting gravity: 1.044
  • Brew house efficiency: 75%
  • Final gravity: 1.005
  • Approximate % ABV: 5
  • Approximate IBUs: 22.9 (Rager)/23.0 (Tinseth) as determined using the Brewer’s Friend Recipe Calculator.

Procedure Highlights: A cooler day, we lost more heat from the strike water than anticipated on mashing in. Our strike water was heated to 76 degrees Celsius, 7 degrees our target mash in temperature of 69 degrees Celsius. Our actual mash in temperature was 67 degrees Celsius, 2 degrees shy of our target.

The wort was oxygenated for 40 seconds prior to pitching the yeast slurry. The yeast starter culture was cold crashed after approximately 14 hours of growth in 10% DME (w/v) media. The cold crash was to arrest metabolism and settle the yeast so excess liquid could be decanted.

After a eight days in the primary fermentation vessel (Spiedel), the beer was transferred to a metal conical bottom fermentation vessel and kept at approximately 19 degrees Celsius (ambient temperature) for 72 hours. At the time of transfer, the beer was dry hopped with 1 oz of Great Northern Brewer hops (7.6% alpha-acids) in an attempt to increase the aroma profile. The beer was sampled after 72 hours and no acetaldehyde character was detected; there was an improvement in aroma and flavor after the dry hopping. Mouth feel is still thin. Lactose will be added at packaging to determine if this issue can be corrected. The fermentation vessel was then transferred to -2 degrees Celsius freezer for the cold crash.


  • Sweet wort boil volume was high due to an excessive amount of sparge water used.
  • Our efficiency was similar to our last two amber ale brews (brew 1 and brew 2).
  • The wort is darker than anticipated; premature panic set in. Beer turned out to be lighter than feared. Grain bill will be left alone.
  • If it hasn’t be obvious with our last few posts, WYeast #1272, American Ale II is becoming our go to work horse.
  • Lower mash in temperature resulted in over attenuation during fermentation. Sampled beer during gravity checks, thin mouth feel and poor hop character. Next time we brew this beer we need to ensure our actual mash in temperature matches our target.