Brown Ale Kit was Short on Hops - I had to Improvise...2nd Batch

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Dec 27, 2007
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The bug bit me... and I went ahead and scratched that itch. I received a Mr. Beer (That I asked for) for Christmas. That batch is into it's 8th day now and will get bottled in another week or so..... Meanwhile, I converted the flat green Christmas presents I received (and secured SWMBOs approval) into a much upgraded beginning setup.

I went out and bought 6.5 Carboy, Ale Pale/Bottling Bucket, 20Qt Pot, Carboy Accesories, etc etc, and an overpriced but all inclusive 'Brewers Best Bold Series' Extract + Steeping Kit for American Nut Brown Ale at my not so local HBS about 100 miles away in a day trip on Monday.

It's a nice kit box. (Picture me unpacking it Monday evening when we got home).... Comes with Danstar Nottingham yeast, 13.2 lbs in cans of Amber Extract, 2lbs of Dry Amber Extract, 4 oz of Crystal 60L Malt, 4 oz of Chocolate Malt, 1 oz of Black Patent Malt, 1 oz of Galena Hops for an aroma addition, 1 oz of Williamete for a Bittering addition, and...
Wait a second....
There was supposed to be a third package of hops, a 2nd oz of Williamette for a flavoring addition.

n00b lesson #1 - For every 10 minutes it takes you to drive to the Not-so LHBS, you should spend at least 1 minute opening every closed box (even if factory closed) to ensure that what is supposed to be in there, is in there.

I learned this lesson very harshly after dark, on New Years Eve, 100 miles away from, and 3 hours after the store closed. It wasn't going to be open again until Weds, and it seems pathetic to drive 200 miles round trip for a $1.50-$3.00 worth of hops. I had planned to brew this up and have it in the primary by years end.....

(Insert the sight of a large grown man, in a set of pink pajamas, NOT getting his Red Ryder BB Gun with a Compass in the Stock for Christmas)

But I persevere.... I think I remember seeing something about Late addition (of the Extract) and something about calculating timings on HBT. So I postpone the brewing session to New Years Day and spent some time Monday night doing more research and playing with BeerSmith.

So I started with a basic American Nut Brown Ale recipe with 3 oz of hops (but 1 oz missing) and I 'think' I redesigned the recipe, using only what was in the kit, to achieve something darn close.

What do you all think? (PS This is Armchair Brewmastering - It's in the Primary and beginning to bubble as I type this - I designed it, I'm gonna drink it (or at least some of it))

I changed to late extract addition for most of the extract, in order to increase the hops utilization. I increased the boil volume to increase the hops utilization. I decreased the Boil Time due to the higher utilization. I tinkered with the hopping schedule, and then I tinkered some more to get a little more hops use. (In another thread, the Brewers Best has been characterized as under hoppy)

According to BeerSmith, this no longer meets the style definition of an American Brown Ale, and I overshot the OG so it's probably going to be a fuller beer than planned.

3.5 Gallon Boil
Steep 9 Oz crushed grains (Described above) between 160-170°F for 20 minutes
Bring to a Boil
at 45 Minutes add 1/2 oz Williamette @ 4.5% AA for Bittering
at 45 Min add 8 oz Amber Dry Extract
at 15 Min add 1/2 oz Williamette @ 4.5 % AA for Flavoring
at 15 Min add 24 oz Amber Dry Extract
at 15 Min add 3.3 lbs Amber Liquid Extract
at 10 Min add 1/8 oz Galena @ 13.1% AA (For Flavoring and Aroma)
at 5 Min add 7/8 oz Galena @ 13.1% AA for Aroma
at 0 Min add 3.3 Lbs Amber Liquid Extract
and remove from heat
Add volume to equal 5 gallons, cool, and pitch yeast.

According to BeerSmith
OG Estimate: 1.065 (Style is 1.040-1.060)
FG Estimate: 1.016 (Style is 1.010-1.017)
Color Estimate: 21.3 (Style is 15-22.0)
IBU Estimate: 26.9 (Style is 25-60.0)

I took an SG in the Bottling Bucket on the way to the Primary (I neglected to purchase a siphon, and my funnel would not seat all the way in the carboy so I had to add a step)
SG @ 84°F = 1.072 Correcting for Temp Yields SG = 1.075 :D

I moved to the Carboy at 81°F and pitched the rehydrated yeast into the Primary halfway through the transfer. Also removed a bunch of trub in this transfer with a straining funnel... but there was still alot that got through.

Took another SG @ 81°F = 1.072 or a bit below I figure a little less correction ( My hydrometer syas add 3 at 84, add 2 at 74) and that puts me at....
OG: 1.074 :rockin: Wow That seems big. But I admit there is about a quarter to a half inch of junk sitting at the bottom of the carboy after 6 hours of settling (Actually most of it was there after an hour of settling). I'm thinking that those suspended solids pumped up that OG just a wee bit.

It is now bubbling away at 70°F and I can see the yeast blooms floating to the top to let go of the CO2 and sinking back down.

So anyway.... Thoughts?
I know it's going to be beer. I know it's going to be related to a Brown Ale.
Beyond that... I dunno.

And that Ladies and Gents, is the tale of my 2nd Batch, My 'In a Pinch' Brown Ale
Well I just rechecked the SG before heading to bed....

At 69°F I got an SG reading of 1.073... corrected for temp+1 gives me an SG of 1.074 again. (And this is after all those obvious things like hops pellets and grean particles have had a chance to clear for 7+ hours.)

So I guess it actually is that high an OG.

Which means that the readings were right... but the volume is wrong... (There must be a pint to a quart of solids that have settled out of the wart sitting on the bottom of the carboy... and that volume was included in my 5 Gallon measurement... but it's not going to be part of the bottled beer.

Question: - Should I add some water?

If I want to 'doctor' my OG down to 1.065 from 1.074....
Question: - How Much Water Should I Add?

Question: Can someone point me at the formula so I can do it myself next time (or this time)?


I was going to say there's something wrong here (aside from the fact you have jammies. Grow up man! :D ) but your OG sounds about right for having 8.6 lbs of fermentables. You don't have to add water at all if you don't want to. The junk at the bottom is called trub, and it's all kinds of fun stuff like hot and cold break, hop bits, and yeast. Having some in the fermenter is fine.

If you want to water the batch down some to get 5 full gallons, either boil and cool half a gallon of water, or add bottled water after most of the activity is done, otherwise you could get blowoff.

While technically it's not a 'brown ale' anymore, the good part about making your own beer is you can style it however the hell you want to! Browns typically aren't extremely hoppy anyways, so you should be good to go.
That is huge for a Brown. One of the pluses for Browns is they are generally on the small side and become drinkable early. You'll lose about 1/2 gallon to trub, so adding that much would both bring you into the style range and allow for losses.

Looks like you did well on the hop mods.
Hey I wasn't actually 'in' the pajamas.... I just felt very much like Ralphie did before he got his BB Gun for Christmas...

As for it being a huge brown... I agree... But the BB Bold Kit predicted an OG of 1.059-1.063. (And I didn't tweak any of the sugars... just the timing of them.

Though I admit I really scraped the extract cans to get every last bit of sugar into the wort. :D