This recipe started out as an Amber Ale that went heywire. I went to the LHBS and asked for the following ingredients, 9 lbs. 2-Row, 1 lb. Munich, 0.5 lb. Crystal 75, 0.5 lb. Crystal 120. Instead of the 11 lbs. of grain that I asked for, I received them all in kilograms! That's 24.2 lbs. of grain! And way more than I can mash at one time. I decided to mix the grain up (it ended up in 2 bags) and weighed out 11 lbs. of grain to make my Amber and had 13.2 lbs. leftover. I decided to just find a style that fit the gravity and color that I had already and go with it. Old Ale seemed to fit nicely. If you don't want to duplicate the malt exactly that way you can instead use the following:
For 5.5 Gallons
Based on 75% Efficiency
10.8 lbs. American 2-Row
1.2 lbs. Munich Malt
0.6 lbs. Crystal 75
0.6 lbs. Crystal 120
0.75 oz. Target Pellets 11.5% 75 min
0.5 oz. Willemette Pellets 4.6% 15 min
0.5 oz. East Kent Goldings Pellets 6.0% 15 min
0.5 oz. Willemette Pellets 4.6% 5 min
0.25 oz. East Kent Goldings 4.6% 5 min
White Labs English Ale Yeast WLP-002
I mashed stiff at 1 qt. per pound for one hour at about 154 degrees F. I added boiling water at mashout to bring the temp up and sparged at 170 degrees F to collect a total of about 9 gallons. I boiled it down about an hour before beginning the 75 minute hop schedule.
These were the numbers I was shooting for. What I actually got was a little different. I had great efficiency, so my OG ended up at 1.069. Also, the yeast I used usually has lower attenuation. White Labs says between 63 and 70 percent. I must have done something right with the starter and airation because I ended up with about 78% apparent attenuation. To duplicate this you might want to go with White Labs 007 Dry English Ale instead.
On tasting, the beer is firmly bitter, but still nicely balanced. There is a little sweetness from the dark crystal grains and has a nice malt flavor, partially from the Munich malt. If you use the 002 yeast and get 70% attenuation or less, there will be a little more body and residual sweetness. The color is a nice deep burnt orange amber color.
Also, because this batch was mostly free, my original intention was to do a little experimentation, which I chose to not do this time. If you want to try a very authentic Old Ale, try adding some Brettanomyces to the beer in the secondary to give it that "aged in a wooden barrel for a year" flavor. I think I will try this with another brew of this recipe.