Brown Ale Questions

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Drebin138

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I’m going to be purchasing the nut brown ale extract kit from Northern Brewer pretty soon. The suggested yeast the kit comes with is US-04 but I’ve slready used that yeast and would like to try something different. Does anyone have any good suggestions as to a different strain I could use? I prefer dry yeast because I don’t really have the means to make a starter right now.

The abv of the kit is only around 4-4.5% so I am thinking of adding a pound of dry malt extract and a pound of corn sugar to boost the alcohol content. I was browsing around a bit and saw some have used brown sugar instead of corn sugar. If I did that do I need to buy a specific kind of brown sugar?

Finally, I wanted to add some honey to make a sort of honey nut brown. When would be the proper time to add honey? I would assume if I did it before fermentation is complete I wouldn’t get much flavor due to the sugar being gobbled up by the yeast. So then the question is how much honey should I add? It’s a 5 gallon batch so I was thinking a pound would suffice but I’ve never used honey in a brew so I’m not sure if that amount would be overpowering. I planned on going to a local orchard and buying some real local bee honey instead of using clover honey from the store.

I love brown ales and I don’t want to screw it up so I just wanna make sure my grand plans are good plans!

Quick side note: the guy at my local home brew shop told me not to buy from Northern Brewer because they are owned by Budweiser. Now I know they don’t make good beer but why is this a bad thing?
 

stieg000

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I've never used any simple sugars in a brown ale but honey would be better than corn sugar. I have used a lot of different sugars though, honey, candy syrup, table sugar, brown sugar, turbinado, demerara, date syrup and molasses. If you were going to use honey, I'd put it in when fermentation is nearly complete to help keep the honey flavor and aroma in tact. Most other sugars are not really going to matter when you add them.

As far as inbev owning northern brewer, I'd support the LHBS rather than the mega Corp. I buy about 99% of all my consumables from my LHBS to make sure they stay my LHBS. Can't get that supply you forgot on brew day from an internet retailer.
 

Brownalemikie

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I use Danstar Windsor yeast in all my Brown Ales with great results. As far as raising the ABV...I simply add a pound of DME and end up turning a 5% beer into a 5.8% beer. YMMV
 

RM-MN

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I’m going to be purchasing the nut brown ale extract kit from Northern Brewer pretty soon. The suggested yeast the kit comes with is US-04 but I’ve slready used that yeast and would like to try something different. Does anyone have any good suggestions as to a different strain I could use? I prefer dry yeast because I don’t really have the means to make a starter right now.

The abv of the kit is only around 4-4.5% so I am thinking of adding a pound of dry malt extract and a pound of corn sugar to boost the alcohol content. I was browsing around a bit and saw some have used brown sugar instead of corn sugar. If I did that do I need to buy a specific kind of brown sugar?

Finally, I wanted to add some honey to make a sort of honey nut brown. When would be the proper time to add honey? I would assume if I did it before fermentation is complete I wouldn’t get much flavor due to the sugar being gobbled up by the yeast. So then the question is how much honey should I add? It’s a 5 gallon batch so I was thinking a pound would suffice but I’ve never used honey in a brew so I’m not sure if that amount would be overpowering. I planned on going to a local orchard and buying some real local bee honey instead of using clover honey from the store.

I love brown ales and I don’t want to screw it up so I just wanna make sure my grand plans are good plans!

Quick side note: the guy at my local home brew shop told me not to buy from Northern Brewer because they are owned by Budweiser. Now I know they don’t make good beer but why is this a bad thing?
You can have a lot of choices of yeast if you want. White labs has a large variety in what they call "pure pitch" packets and according to them they don't require any starter.

"Does the new PurePitch packaging require any new procedures to use (ie. sterilizing the bag, cutting tool, etc.)?

Customers should sanitize scissors/cutting tools and wipe down the PurePitch package before cutting it open and pitching it directly into the fermentor."

If you have never brewed this kind of beer before, I'd suggest you make it just as it is. It will be good beer. If you insist on changing it, add 1 pound of honey malt to be steeped. That will give you more honey flavor than adding honey as the yeast love honey and will eat it all. I wouldn't recommend adding any sugar as it will change the balance of the bitterness and will dry out the beer.

Yes, Northern Brewer has been bought by Budweiser (Actually Inbev). So what. Ford farm equipment was bought by New Holland. It doesn't change the quality, just where the profits go. If you hate Budweiser so much you don't want them to profit from you there are other places to buy kits.
 
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Drebin138

Drebin138

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You can have a lot of choices of yeast if you want. White labs has a large variety in what they call "pure pitch" packets and according to them they don't require any starter.

"Does the new PurePitch packaging require any new procedures to use (ie. sterilizing the bag, cutting tool, etc.)?

Customers should sanitize scissors/cutting tools and wipe down the PurePitch package before cutting it open and pitching it directly into the fermentor."

If you have never brewed this kind of beer before, I'd suggest you make it just as it is. It will be good beer. If you insist on changing it, add 1 pound of honey malt to be steeped. That will give you more honey flavor than adding honey as the yeast love honey and will eat it all. I wouldn't recommend adding any sugar as it will change the balance of the bitterness and will dry out the beer.

Yes, Northern Brewer has been bought by Budweiser (Actually Inbev). So what. Ford farm equipment was bought by New Holland. It doesn't change the quality, just where the profits go. If you hate Budweiser so much you don't want them to profit from you there are other places to buy kits.
I’ll look into the honey malt. I really just want to add the honey flavor so if I don’t have to use actual honey that is usually expensive that is a plus. I’ll look into the PurePitcj yeast as well. Thank you!
 
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Drebin138

Drebin138

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I've never used any simple sugars in a brown ale but honey would be better than corn sugar. I have used a lot of different sugars though, honey, candy syrup, table sugar, brown sugar, turbinado, demerara, date syrup and molasses. If you were going to use honey, I'd put it in when fermentation is nearly complete to help keep the honey flavor and aroma in tact. Most other sugars are not really going to matter when you add them.

As far as inbev owning northern brewer, I'd support the LHBS rather than the mega Corp. I buy about 99% of all my consumables from my LHBS to make sure they stay my LHBS. Can't get that supply you forgot on brew day from an internet retailer.
I try to support the local shop as Mich as possible and even wanted to buy all the ingredients from them instead of just buying the kit online but it would have been about twice as expensive. I will buy basically everything from the local shop that isn’t the kit that I would be using for the beer. The guy at this particular shop is a bit of hippy. He’s got the look down pat and he’s always playing some interesting meditation/chanting music when I go in.
 
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Drebin138

Drebin138

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I use Danstar Windsor yeast in all my Brown Ales with great results. As far as raising the ABV...I simply add a pound of DME and end up turning a 5% beer into a 5.8% beer. YMMV
Windsor and Nottingham seemed to be the most common strains that came up while doing a bit of research. I’ll definitely look into them a bit more. Thanks!
 

bronzdragon

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I always try and buy my honey locally at an orchard. The darker the honey, usually the stronger the flavor. I usually add my honey at flameout and get good residual honey flavor. What you don't want to do is boil it for very long. As far as the simple sugars, I would stick with DME or a little candi sugar if doing Belgians. If you add a significant amount of brown sugar, you will impart a little molasses flavor to the beer, which might be ok in some styles. It's all personal taste, but in a brown ale specifically, I wouldn't add any simple sugars, an extra pound of light or extra light dme would be good. As far as the InBev/Bud thing, I stopped buying from NB/MW after that acquisition. It's all your personal take on American businesses being bought up by foreign businesses...probably not the right forum for that conversation.
 
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Drebin138

Drebin138

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I always try and buy my honey locally at an orchard. The darker the honey, usually the stronger the flavor. I usually add my honey at flameout and get good residual honey flavor. What you don't want to do is boil it for very long. As far as the simple sugars, I would stick with DME or a little candi sugar if doing Belgians. If you add a significant amount of brown sugar, you will impart a little molasses flavor to the beer, which might be ok in some styles. It's all personal taste, but in a brown ale specifically, I wouldn't add any simple sugars, an extra pound of light or extra light dme would be good. As far as the InBev/Bud thing, I stopped buying from NB/MW after that acquisition. It's all your personal take on American businesses being bought up by foreign businesses...probably not the right forum for that conversation.
There’s a bunch of orchards in my area so I planned on stopping by one of them to get the honey. I’ll definitely grab the darkest I can find. Thanks for the tip!
 

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To the OP - I made a very similar beer to what you have planned earlier this winter. I used WYeast 1098. I use that time every time I brew the NB Nut Brown Ale kit. I know you said you can't really make a starter (it's really easy to do), but it's not necessary even if you add some sugars. I added 8 oz. of light brown sugar to that kit with 15 minutes left in the boil and a pound of just regular store brand honey at flameout. The beer came out pretty good. I've also made that beer with a pound of DME and honey at flameout. I'd say the brown sugar one is a sweeter beer due to the molasses found in the light brown sugar. But, even with those sugar additions, my OG was 1.058 so a packet of liquid yeast (no starter) is fine. If you still want to go dry, I'd go Windsor or 05. I hope you enjoy your brew as much as I do mine.
 
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Drebin138

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To the OP - I made a very similar beer to what you have planned earlier this winter. I used WYeast 1098. I use that time every time I brew the NB Nut Brown Ale kit. I know you said you can't really make a starter (it's really easy to do), but it's not necessary even if you add some sugars. I added 8 oz. of light brown sugar to that kit with 15 minutes left in the boil and a pound of just regular store brand honey at flameout. The beer came out pretty good. I've also made that beer with a pound of DME and honey at flameout. I'd say the brown sugar one is a sweeter beer due to the molasses found in the light brown sugar. But, even with those sugar additions, my OG was 1.058 so a packet of liquid yeast (no starter) is fine. If you still want to go dry, I'd go Windsor or 05. I hope you enjoy your brew as much as I do mine.
Thanks I think I’m going to get about half a pound of honey malt to steep and get a pound of honey and dme to add at flameout. I really want to get that honey flavor in there so we’ll see if that works. Luckily this kit isn’t too expensive so if it doesn’t work I can just try it again! But I’m sure if it doesn’t turn out exactly as I want it’ll still be a good beer.
 
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Drebin138

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Honey loose taste quick, a speciality malt may be better. Brown sugar in my beer, never! But others will disagree.
I think I’m going to try honey malt and adding some local honey. I really don’t want that molasses taste so I’m gonna stay away from brown sugar!
 

AJinJacksonville

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I agree with ncbrewer about the US-05, but also had great results with the WL Nottingham. I've made similar tasting beers with both yeasts and the same raw ingredients. Love brown ale...even in the summer here in FL.
 

ESBrewer

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Windsor and also the newer London ESB yeast from Lallemands would do. It leaves more residual sweetness than Nottingham and might be less estery than Windsor. Then there's a ton of liquid yeasts... 4.5% ABV is enough for the style, avoid brewing it much stronger.
 
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Drebin138

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I agree with ncbrewer about the US-05, but also had great results with the WL Nottingham. I've made similar tasting beers with both yeasts and the same raw ingredients. Love brown ale...even in the summer here in FL.
Brown ales are definitely underrated! I feel like I rarely see talk about people brewing their own!
 
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Drebin138

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Windsor and also the newer London ESB yeast from Lallemands would do. It leaves more residual sweetness than Nottingham and might be less estery than Windsor. Then there's a ton of liquid yeasts... 4.5% ABV is enough for the style, avoid brewing it much stronger.
I’ll look into the London ESB. Thank you! So you’d advise against adding the dry malt extract?
 

ESBrewer

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I’ll look into the London ESB. Thank you! So you’d advise against adding the dry malt extract?
I would advice to leave the sugar (and in fact the dme as well) away. If you absolutely want to add honey, do it instead of the sugar & dme and don't overdo it (maybe max 0.5 lbs / 5 gallons). It says that the kit is something like a Southern English Brown which is typically malty, caramelly and somewhat sweet & low alcohol. In fact 4.5% is already a bit high. By adding sugars the beer gets more alcoholic and there will be less of the typical malty and sweet feeling since the sugar gets 100% fermented. Honey is much the same as it is high in sugar, but you can live with a bit of honey if the yeast is not going to dry it out too much (=less attenuative strain such as s-04, Windsor or LondonESB). This is how I would proceed, not knowing how the kit exactly behaves as I have never used it.

The antipathy seen against NB is probably because of the Anheuser-Busch InBev which is the world largest brewing industry company (manufacturing and import) and has bought a lot of independent and local companies and beer brands. This can diminish the competition, choices available, local variability, personality, and services that many brewers and beer lovers would prefer. So it is much the same as the antipathy against other giants such Google or Amazon.
 
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Drebin138

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I would advice to leave the sugar (and in fact the dme as well) away. If you absolutely want to add honey, do it instead of the sugar & dme and don't overdo it (maybe max 0.5 lbs / 5 gallons). It says that the kit is something like a Southern English Brown which is typically malty, caramelly and somewhat sweet & low alcohol. In fact 4.5% is already a bit high. By adding sugars the beer gets more alcoholic and there will be less of the typical malty and sweet feeling since the sugar gets 100% fermented. Honey is much the same as it is high in sugar, but you can live with a bit of honey if the yeast is not going to dry it out too much (=less attenuative strain such as s-04, Windsor or LondonESB). This is how I would proceed, not knowing how the kit exactly behaves as I have never used it.
You’ve convinced me to not add anything extra for this brew. This will only be my third batch and the first in this style so I will play it a little more by the book. I will add honey malt though. Seems like a half pound is sufficient for a five gallon batch. My local shop doesn’t have the ESB yeast but they do have the Windsor so I may use that. The guy at the shop said(and some others here) recommended Wyeast 1098. Have you experience with that strain in a brown ale?
 

ncbrewer

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Brown ales are definitely underrated! I feel like I rarely see talk about people brewing their own!
I think Brown Ales are sometimes considered a lowly, unexciting, beginners' beer. But I love it and brew plenty of it. I agree it's easy, but that's not a problem. And as is obvious from this thread, there's lots of room for interpretation.
 

probablynotnick

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I think Brown Ales are sometimes considered a lowly, unexciting, beginners' beer. But I love it and brew plenty of it. I agree it's easy, but that's not a problem. And as is obvious from this thread, there's lots of room for interpretation.
I was a big fan of Sierra Nevada's Tumbler, so when they stopped distributing it so much I decided to try my hand at a clone of sorts. By the time my batch was ready, I found Tumbler in their fall sampler. Turns out I liked mine better! It was a pretty proud moment for me, and has become a regular brew for me. Brewing it up again tomorrow!

I'm waiting for a resurgence of solid brown ales!
 
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Drebin138

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I was a big fan of Sierra Nevada's Tumbler, so when they stopped distributing it so much I decided to try my hand at a clone of sorts. By the time my batch was ready, I found Tumbler in their fall sampler. Turns out I liked mine better! It was a pretty proud moment for me, and has become a regular brew for me. Brewing it up again tomorrow!

I'm waiting for a resurgence of solid brown ales!
Would you mind posting your recipe?
 

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I have not used the dry Whitbread brewery strain (wy1098, wlp007, liquid yeasts) but it can be used in a brown ale. Would make a bit drier and less estery beer than the Windsor which is either good or bad depending on your taste. As people have said there is some room for experimentation when brewing those beers.
 
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Drebin138

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I have not used the dry Whitbread brewery strain (wy1098, wlp007, liquid yeasts) but it can be used in a brown ale. Would make a bit drier and less estery beer than the Windsor which is either good or bad depending on your taste. As people have said there is some room for experimentation when brewing those beers.
I don’t want it to be to dry so I’ll probably use the Windsor. I could order the ESB online but I don’t want to make a starter. My wife and I recently had a kid so there’s no planned brew day. I’m just going to take advantage of the opportunity when it strikes and I have a few hours to dedicate to brewing. Needing to make a starter will make that opportunity a little more complicated. Is a starter usually necessary for the ESB?
 

probablynotnick

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My recipe as promised for 5.5 gal:

60 min Mash
  • 9lbs Pale 2row
  • 1lb Crystal 30
  • 1lb Smoked Malt (I use Briess Cherry Smoked)
  • 0.5lb Chocolate Malt
60 min Boil:
  • 1oz Challenger @ 60 (or first wort)
  • .5oz Challenger @ 15
  • .5oz Goldings @ 15
  • .5oz Challenger @ 5
  • .5oz Challenger @ 5
Ferment with 1056

You'll have to play with the grist to get it just right (I tweak the recipe every time)
 

ESBrewer

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You don't need a starter with any of the modern dry yeasts, it is actually not recommended by the manufacturers. Ease of use & storage plus shelf-life are probably the main reasons why you would like to use a dry yeast and making a starter would just complicate things. Nowadays the production process of dry yeast is such that it is possible to pitch them straight away. Just make sure that you rehydrate the yeast and pitch correct amount recommended by the manufacturer. And check the temperature. Liquid yeasts tend to be more labile. Fresh liquid yeast could be pitched to low gravity wort straight from the package but for better yeast health and more consistent results a starter is recommended for liquid yeasts. But there is also a higher contamination risk when the starter is handled inadvertently.
 
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