Spike Brewing 12.5 Conical Fermenter Giveaway - Enter Now!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Critiquing My Strong Ale

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 02-25-2012, 10:56 PM   #1
SherwoodForestOldAle
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Knoxville, Tn
Posts: 10
Default Critiquing My Strong Ale

Hello. I'm new to this forum, but it seems like a good place to start for advice.
My friends and I are holding a little brew competition and I was just looking to make the best ale possible. I've got quite a few all grain brews under my belt, but not in this style. Any advice is welcome and appreciated. That being said here is what i plan on brewing.

AG English Strong Ale
Est Original Gravity 1.093
Est Final Gravity 1.021

10lbs Maris Otter
2lbs 60l Crystal
1lb Brown
1lb Amber
1lb Honey

Bramling Cross
2oz 60min
1oz 10min
1oz Dry Hop

Saaz
2oz 60min
1oz 20min
1oz Dry Hop

Burton"s Ale Yeast #WLP0023

I am also going to use 2oz of oak chips that have been soaked in Blanton's Bourbon for 2 to 3 weeks. Probably going in the second fermenter for 1.5 to 3 weeks depending on tastings.

What I am most concerned with is the hop combo. Really not sure if Saaz and Brambling Cross will go good together. I'm thinking about using EKG instead of the Saaz, not sure though.

Thanks in advance.

__________________
SherwoodForestOldAle is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-25-2012, 11:05 PM   #2
rexbanner
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: DC
Posts: 1,376
Liked 94 Times on 67 Posts
Likes Given: 91

Default

You need to cut way back on all your specialty grains and your hops. A beer like that would probably not be drinkable for a year, at which point your late additions will have faded away long ago. As a point of reference, my 1.090 old ale made of just MO and 12% c-60 is still rough 3 months after bottling. I'm not touching it until next Christmas.

Truth be told, brewing barleywine/old ale is a tough process. There is a long wait time for the beer to mature and you have to figure out what you like. After brewing a few of them I'm leaning towards just MO and kettle caramelization, nothing else.

I would seriously recommend getting a good clone recipe of one you enjoy. Guessing your way towards this kind of recipe will be tough. I don't mean to discourage you. Just remember these styles need to age, so brewing small batches each month is one way to speed the learning process up.

__________________

Peep my nanobrewery: http://crookedrunbrewing.com

Crooked Run Brewing: Traditional ales, local ingredients

rexbanner is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-25-2012, 11:17 PM   #3
SherwoodForestOldAle
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Knoxville, Tn
Posts: 10
Default

Thanks man. I've made an esb similar to this a year or so ago, and it turned out great. We didn't use brown or amber, so I'm not too familiar with them. I may end up using Victory since I am used to using it. I was planning on letting this age for about 2 months altogether. I appreciate the advice, but i really don't see how this would have to age for that long to be decent.

__________________
SherwoodForestOldAle is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-26-2012, 01:19 AM   #4
SherwoodForestOldAle
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Knoxville, Tn
Posts: 10
Default

Ok I've done some reworking. Like I said, thanks for the advice. I hope I didn't come off as a turd, I really do appreciate it.

What if I was to cut out the Amber, lower the Brown to 8oz, and add a pound of Victory. I want to have a good nutty taste in this brew to help balance the 30 or so ibu's, and the caramel, roasted, and fruity flavors. I do however want a good apple or pear undertone from the yeast, which I think the Burton's should come through decently with this mix.

Also I may end up going with 4oz of slightly roasted oak chips instead of 2. I dont know if yourself, or others, have had Blanton's bourbon. It has a nice old leathery book taste and smell. I would like to get that sort of flavor profile, but still a good old ale taste.

I hope this makes sense. I'm not crazy, I promise haha. This is going to take alot of work to pull off.

I may end up doing a few gallon batches to get it right. That's always what I've done in the past to get my Imperial IPA's up to par.

Thanks Again!

__________________
SherwoodForestOldAle is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-26-2012, 03:28 AM   #5
GuldTuborg
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 2 reviews
 
GuldTuborg's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: OH
Posts: 3,379
Liked 421 Times on 305 Posts
Likes Given: 232

Default

At 1/3 specialty malts/adjuncts, the original recipe probably isn't going to be very palatable. Also, how big is this batch? Your gravity numbers don't really add up to 5 gallons (unless you get really good extract efficiency), and yet at a lower bath size, I don't see how you get only 30 IBUs, unless you have really low AA Bramling Cross hops. Besides, if you really intend to get to 1.093, and finish high, you don't need to do anything to "balance" your 30 IBUs. Those 30 IBUs are going to get stomped anyway. Oh, and is the 1 pond of "honey" your recipe calls for actualy honey, or honey malt? You don't use the term "malt" anywhere else, so I'm afraid it's really honey malt.

Here are my thoughts. If you use enough good quality Maris Otter to get to 1.093 anyway, you're going to have all the nutty taste you need. A half pound of amber malt may help that, but I honestly wouldn't use more. Maybe a pound of crystal at most, but leave it at that. Your chosen base malt will have plenty of flavor, and I wouldn't want to cover it up. If you really want to use a ton of specialty malts, save your money and buy a cheap American pale malt. If you want to age this, too, I'd look to targeting around 50-60 IBUs. That way it will stand up to the sweetness of the finished product over time.

__________________

Don't worry, be hoppy.

GuldTuborg is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-26-2012, 04:57 PM   #6
SherwoodForestOldAle
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Knoxville, Tn
Posts: 10
Default

Thanks. It's going to be a 5 gallon batch. I am using actual honey, not malt. With the gravity issue, I was getting mixed up in all of the recipes I have made for this. So..
EST Original Gravity should be 1.080
As for a Strong Ale, I didn't think it should be more than 40 IBU for the style.
I know that the IBUs will deteriorate in the aging process, but to tell you the truth, I don't know how much will be gone in 2 months.
I really should have prefaced this thread with I mostly have only dealt with IPAs and Imperial IPAs on my own. My brother and I get together and brew others, but he does most of the hard work on the other styles.
The Bramling Cross will be 6 AA, and the Saaz will be 4 AA.

__________________
SherwoodForestOldAle is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-26-2012, 05:38 PM   #7
ghpeel
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Gainesville, FL
Posts: 1,216
Liked 21 Times on 19 Posts
Likes Given: 2

Default

I'd drop the Crystal down to a pound or less. And maybe use either the Brown or the Amber, but not both. As said previously, I'd make the Marris Otter be the star of this thing. There's a world of great Scotch Ales that aren't too far from this that use only base malt (golden promise, pale or MO) with some kettle caramelization and a touch of roasted barley for color. You can get a very rich brew with just those ingredients if you work it right.

Regardless, good luck with it! The only thing I'd absolutely nuke from your recipe as posted is the 2lbs of Crytal. You just won't need it with a good MO base malt in a beer that big. Cut it way down.

__________________

=============================================

Kegged: Dunkelweizen
Primary: American Pale Ale

ghpeel is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-26-2012, 10:34 PM   #8
AgingHopster
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Detroit, MI
Posts: 115
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts
Likes Given: 74

Default

Cheers!

Looks like we're on a similar quest! I've been tweaking my Old Ale recipe for a while now. I agree with the "Maris Otter" suggestion/s, as well as cutting back on the specialty grains. I've over did it in one of my earlier runs thinking it could be a "possible" improvement and I was wrong.

Old Ales and Strong Ales are very similar, not that I am an expert but it seems that way to me. What inspired me to try and brew a good Old Ale was reading from the book "Brewing Classic Styles" by Jamil Zainasheff and John J. Palmer. I bought that book the day I bought my first set of brewing equipment and a couple LD Carlson kit beers. I knew what I liked in a beer and what I wanted to brew before I ever brewed anything and I had already stopped drinking American "rice" beers over a decade ago. Anyway, there's a recipe in the book which is described as being similar to Theakson's Old Peculiar (which I have still not had the pleasure of tasting because I can't find it locally), but the description sounded like what I wanted so I did a batch of "Old Treacle Mine" found on page 249 (I'll post it later). I couldn't find Black Treacle anywhere so I used organic, unsurfered molasses. As it turned out, it was an instant hit. Understand, when I say "instant" the time-frame I really mean is actually three months *MINIMUM*. I drank a few after 2-3 weeks in the bottle and while carbed well and very flavorful, there was s lot of separation and spikes in the flavors. It really needed time to age well, as suggested by a veteran brewer friend of mine. As it turned out, he was exactly dead on. Old Ales need time to become "old". Since then, I've done 4 1/2 variations of this recipe and after going backwards in the first tweak with too much specialty grains, I am so far happy with a couple other tweaks. However, the single most important factor I've noticed is in the aging. The batch I am fermenting right now I don't plan to open until next winter, December would be a great time to drink this.

__________________
"There are no strong beers, only weak men."

Last edited by AgingHopster; 02-26-2012 at 11:46 PM.
AgingHopster is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-28-2012, 12:12 AM   #9
SherwoodForestOldAle
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Knoxville, Tn
Posts: 10
Default

Thanks guys. Rather than just go over the changes, I think I'll just repost my new recipe.

13 lb Floor Malted Maris Otter
1 lb 60l Crystal (may cut a little more now that I read your post)
8 oz brown
1 lb Organic Honey (not malt)

I was thinking of mashing somewhere around 153 to 155.

The hop schedule will be the same, but using EKG instead of Saaz.
Also thinking of throwing in 1 oz of N.Z. Pacific Gem at 60 min for bittering. Never used this variety, but it sounds like it might add a distinctive touch.
If anyone has experience with it, please let me know what you think.

Still going with the same oak in Blanton's too.

Also, the floor malted MO. Wondering if this will be a great deal different from regular ol' MO. It's the one from NothernBrewer.

Seeing as most say age for longer than 2 months, I may just have to brew up my Dreamsickle Imperial IPA for the competition. Save all the Strong Ale for me haha.

__________________
SherwoodForestOldAle is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-28-2012, 05:48 AM   #10
GuldTuborg
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 2 reviews
 
GuldTuborg's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: OH
Posts: 3,379
Liked 421 Times on 305 Posts
Likes Given: 232

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SherwoodForestOldAle View Post
Also, the floor malted MO. Wondering if this will be a great deal different from regular ol' MO. It's the one from NothernBrewer.
I think the new recipe looks much better, and I imagine you'll like it better, too. I certainly hope it turns out well! I think the EKG will be a nice, very English touch. As for the MO differences, it probably depends upon who the maltster is. Do they tell you on the site? Crisp and Baird have a pretty darkly kilned MO, generally, with the expected MO taste. Fawcett is also good, but usually much lighter, so I get a little less of the crusty bread effect. I understand Simpson's is somewhere in the middle, but I've never used it and don't have any concrete knowledge. There are other malsters of MO, too, but those seem to be the biggest and best. Munton's is OK, but a little boring to me (still worlds different from your American pale malt, though).
__________________

Don't worry, be hoppy.

GuldTuborg is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Help with critiquing recent brew. too dry HOPCousin Recipes/Ingredients 6 12-07-2010 03:09 PM
Wee Heavy --- Needs Critiquing Please Scroto Recipes/Ingredients 5 07-29-2010 06:01 PM
PM Dunkelweizen for Critiquing Gremlyn Recipes/Ingredients 49 07-16-2009 02:36 AM
Bromance ESB for Critiquing Gremlyn Recipes/Ingredients 5 07-12-2009 11:31 PM
anyone mind critiquing my first recipe? size Recipes/Ingredients 9 04-29-2009 02:21 PM