This Brown Ale Recipe finished up at such a high final gravity I was sure it was going to be too sweet and cloying. The thing about brewing though is you have to wait to see how things pan out.
One of the things that can get to a brewer is trying to second guess all the trivial occurrences about making beer. There is always something to worry about, just take a look at any brewing forum. It tends to be 95% of the posts are brewers asking if something that happened or they did is going to affect the beer.
The truth of the matter is though, brewing can be quite forgiving and you can end up with great results even if things don’t go according to plan.
I did intend to have this beer finish at a high gravity after fermentation. It finished at 1.018 though giving me an ABV of 3.8%. In all honestly though I think this Brown Ale is one of the best I’ve ever brewed.
This Brown Ale was split at packaging so there are two lots of tasting notes. The base beer is exactly the same. At bottling I added a spice infusion to half the batch so we can compare exactly what this adds.
The ability to taste the beers side by side is a great way to see how additional flavourings interact with the beer.
Brown Ale Tasting Notes
Look: It’s definitely brown leading into ruby red at the edges. I wanted a dark brown ale originally and it seems the late addition of roasted barley has really deepened the hue of this beer without adding way too much in the way of roasted character. The head build nicely as the bear is poured and settles back down after a few minutes. Lacing is good and lasts the whole way down the glass.
Smell: Complex malt on the nose with touches of biscuit and a touch of burnt toast. You can also detect a fair amount of sweetness in the smell.
Taste: As a 3.8% beer it;s pretty complex. I am able to detect the brown malt and chocolate malts almost individually. There is a fair hit of dark brown sugar on the palate which I would think is a combination of the residual sweetness and the roasted grains.
There is a earthy spiciness in the aftertaste that is contributed by the large dose of Willamette as the aroma hop
Feel: This beer is one of the richest beers I’ve made under 4% ABV. Of course it will never be as full bodied as a higher ABV beer but it feels a lot fuller in the mouth.
Overall: I am really pleased with how this Brown Ale has turned out. It’s a great winter beer that will be a great drinker over these colder months.
Spiced Brown Ale Tasting Notes
Look: It’s exactly the same as the base Brown Ale. The head retention is the same which suggests the spiced vodka addition doesn’t affect the foam in any way.
Smell: The spices are the dominant scent here with the malt aroma falling into the background. Cloves and cinnamon on a base of toasted malts. It is still a balanced aroma. Spices can sometime overwhelm everything else in a spiced beer.
Taste: The spices are subtle, a lot more subtle than the smell. I feel there could be more spices if I were to do it again, the malt and the spices have merged together. You can definitely detect them and they do add a layer of flavour. There could be more though. There is a definite spiced fruitcake like taste which is superb.
Feel: The same as the base beer to my senses.
Overall: It’s a real eye opener to taste the beers side by side. You can see exactly what the spice additions add.
The spiced beer is my favourite of the two beers. Maybe because it’s cold and the spiced brown ale feels more comforting. The spices and the sweetness work so well together giving the beer a definite spiced cake flavour that I really enjoy. I would consider spicing another batch without the infusion, just adding the spices at the end of the boil.