Falstaff Recipe Advice

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tictoc43064

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Short story long, a co-worker has asked me to brew up a Falstaff Clone. Normally I'd shy away from this but he's agreed to pay for all costs involved. I also just got some new equipment(Gigawort, Inkbird for ferm chamber, anvil 4 gallon fermenter, and wilserbag) and will put it through its paces over the holidays. I figure i might as well experiment on someone else's dime to work out my process kinks before i brew one of my own favorites. The problem is that Falstaff went under before i was born, so actually tasting this beer is impossible. I've also read that Falstaff wasn't exactly a premium brew. One comment was that it's a "poor man's PBR." I hate PBR and the smell of it gives me a headache. I've also heard that Falstaff resembles Hamm's and Ballantine(neither of which I've ever had). So, my questions are:
1. Can anyone review the below recipe and confirm that this is close? Or let me know what to tweak to get it closer?
2. Is Hamm's or Ballantine close enough that I should be looking for a clone of one of those?
3. In the below recipe it has the "optimum temp" at 48-58F. But right under that is has "ferm temp" at 75F. Being a lager, I assume i want to ferment between 48-58F, so what does the 75F mean? Is that for a D-rest?

Note: I added the water profile, but i'm not really at that level yet. I'll be using the baseline water adjusments in the brew science water profile sticky as a first time experiment as well.
Thanks for all your input.

HOME BREW RECIPE:
Title: Falstaff Clone

Brew Method: All Grain
Style Name: American Lager
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 2.75 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 3 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.038
Efficiency: 75% (brew house)


STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.042
Final Gravity: 1.010
ABV (standard): 4.13%
IBU (tinseth): 17.99
SRM (morey): 4.11

FERMENTABLES:
3 lb - American - Pale 2-Row (72.7%)
4 oz - American - Caramel / Crystal 20L (6.1%)
2 oz - American - Munich - Light 10L (3%)
6 oz - Flaked Rice (9.1%)
6 oz - Flaked Corn (9.1%)

HOPS:
0.5 oz - Willamette, Type: Pellet, AA: 4.5, Use: Boil for 60 min, IBU: 17.25
0.5 oz - Willamette, Type: Pellet, AA: 4.5, Use: Boil for 1 min, IBU: 0.74

YEAST:
Wyeast - American Lager 2035
Starter: No
Form: Liquid
Attenuation (avg): 75%
Flocculation: Medium
Optimum Temp: 48 - 58 F
Fermentation Temp: 75 F

TARGET WATER PROFILE:
Profile Name: userwaterprofile-4454
Ca2: 26
Mg2: 6
Na: 22
Cl: 19
SO4: 18
HCO3: 43
Water Notes:

NOTES:
FROM: https://www.brewtoad.com/recipes/falstaff
 

grampamark

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I'm old enough to remember Falstaff, but it's probably been 40 years since I drank one.

Hamm's is actually my favorite light lager (it's one of the many legacy brands owned by SAB/MillerCoors, brewed by Miller). To my taste it has a little more color and flavor than the typical BMC product, but taste is highly subjective.

The recipe looks like it would produce something very "Hamm's like". Since hardly anyone alive can really tell you what the Falstaff of decades ago really tasted like, I’d say brew it up and see if it makes your friend happy.
 
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tictoc43064

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I'm old enough to remember Falstaff, but it's probably been 40 years since I drank one.

Hamm's is actually my favorite light lager (it's one of the many legacy brands owned by SAB/MillerCoors, brewed by Miller). To my taste it has a little more color and flavor than the typical BMC product, but taste is highly subjective.

The recipe looks like it would produce something very "Hamm's like". Since hardly anyone alive can really tell you what the Falstaff of decades ago really tasted like, I’d say brew it up and see if it makes your friend happy.
Thank you for your response. My plan is to brew the recipe as written, unless someone chimes in with advice for a change to make it more "Falstaff" like. Do you have any input on my third question regarding the fermentation temperature? I'm wondering now if fermenting a lager at 75F will give it the unique "flavor" it has. Then lager it 48-58F? I found another exact recipe, the only change being it mentions a 7 day fermentation with a 30 day secondary. i also just looked up Wyeast 2035 and it notes a temp of 48-58F. So it looks like ferment 48-58F, then lager for a month. I'd most likely lager at 34F+/-. Does that sound like a plan?
 

grampamark

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You might try Saflager 34/70, which is a lager yeast but seems to do well at higher than normal temps. The recommended range is 53°-59° but the warm fermented lager folks seem to think it does well at higher temps. I don't know about 75°, though.

I've used 34/70 in ales which are fermented with lager yeast, such as California Common and Cream Ale, and found it to work well in those recipes at temps in the mid-upper 60s.

Maybe one of the yeast gurus will chime in with some suggestions.
 

Mark Montgomery

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Thanks for posting the recipe. My dad could give you a quality check. He is an old Falstaff fan with probably one of the biggest falstaff memorabilia collections around. And I'm pretty sure he's still got a 6-pack in the refrigerator.

Never tried homebrewing but this is the one I would try. I was just searching to see if the recipe was even out there. May try to get a buddy of mine to give it a shot.
 

brewmanStan

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I'm old enough to remember Falstaff, but it's probably been 40 years since I drank one.

Hamm's is actually my favorite light lager (it's one of the many legacy brands owned by SAB/MillerCoors, brewed by Miller). To my taste it has a little more color and flavor than the typical BMC product, but taste is highly subjective.

The recipe looks like it would produce something very "Hamm's like". Since hardly anyone alive can really tell you what the Falstaff of decades ago really tasted like, I’d say brew it up and see if it makes your friend happy.
I'm old enough also to remember Falstaff, and I have tried for several years to match a recipe with my taste memory. I would suggest 6-row barley with corn (flaked maize) and a bit of biscuit malt and flaked barley for creaminess and mouthfeel. As for the hops, use Brewer's Gold and Cluster as the bitter hops and finish with a bit of Hallertau or Styrian Goldings.
 

Mark Montgomery

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Following up on this thread to see if the brew was a success. Would love to find someone who could run a batch for me. My dad just started early stages of Alzheimers and would like to surprise him with a "Falstaff" before it's too late for him to really enjoy.
 

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brewmanStan

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Following up on this thread to see if the brew was a success. Would love to find someone who could run a batch for me. My dad just started early stages of Alzheimers and would like to surprise him with a "Falstaff" before it's too late for him to really enjoy.
My current Falstaff recipe uses an ale yeast, US-05, and that's because I do not have the capacity to lager, but I do get a good beer very reminiscent of Falstaff's late 1960's to early 70's lager. Someone who does have the capacity to lager could perhaps take my recipe and ferment with a mid west strain of yeast and a couple of tweaks and get closer to the real thing. A three gallon formula for my Falstaff Tribute is:
4.45# Rahr 6-Row
.35# Briess Victory Malt
1.2# Flaked Corn
.6# Flaked Rice
.42# Flaked Barley
.225 oz Brewer;s Gold @ 60 min.
.225 oz Cluster @ 60 min.
.15 oz Hallertau @ 5 min.
My three years of experimenting with this shows that some combination of these three hops gives you that Falstaff flavor profile. I'm planning on trying a small addition of Cluster, Styrian Golding or Saaz at the 5 min point along with the Hallertau and see if this inches me closer. Hope this helps.
 

Brooothru

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My current Falstaff recipe uses an ale yeast, US-05, and that's because I do not have the capacity to lager, but I do get a good beer very reminiscent of Falstaff's late 1960's to early 70's lager. Someone who does have the capacity to lager could perhaps take my recipe and ferment with a mid west strain of yeast and a couple of tweaks and get closer to the real thing. A three gallon formula for my Falstaff Tribute is:
4.45# Rahr 6-Row
.35# Briess Victory Malt
1.2# Flaked Corn
.6# Flaked Rice
.42# Flaked Barley
.225 oz Brewer;s Gold @ 60 min.
.225 oz Cluster @ 60 min.
.15 oz Hallertau @ 5 min.
My three years of experimenting with this shows that some combination of these three hops gives you that Falstaff flavor profile. I'm planning on trying a small addition of Cluster, Styrian Golding or Saaz at the 5 min point along with the Hallertau and see if this inches me closer. Hope this helps.
Nice recipe. I'm in total agreement with the use of 6 row, even though science and prevailing attitudes would say that two-row would do better and the additional enzymes in 6 row aren't really necessary. Y'know: tradition. Sometimes I'll add some pilsener in place of some of the 6 row, but never in my "award winning" Pre-Prohibition lager. I go back and forth on whether WLP-840 is more "authentic" than 830, but honestly I can tell the difference between them in the final beer, even side-by-side. Definitely Cluster for the bittering, though I would suggest using Liberty in place of Hallertau for a more Americanized version of of Falstaff.
 

brewmanStan

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Nice recipe. I'm in total agreement with the use of 6 row, even though science and prevailing attitudes would say that two-row would do better and the additional enzymes in 6 row aren't really necessary. Y'know: tradition. Sometimes I'll add some pilsener in place of some of the 6 row, but never in my "award winning" Pre-Prohibition lager. I go back and forth on whether WLP-840 is more "authentic" than 830, but honestly I can tell the difference between them in the final beer, even side-by-side. Definitely Cluster for the bittering, though I would suggest using Liberty in place of Hallertau for a more Americanized version of of Falstaff.
Hey, thanks Brooothru. Yeah, I agree the 6-row isn't really necessary anymore. I was just trying to use what Falstaff would have used in the 60's-70's. Same with the Hallertau instead of Liberty. I have actually used Liberty on one of my experimental batches but I went back to Hallertau because Liberty wasn't around in the late 60's as you probably know. I would certainly use Liberty in a modern version of Falstaff as well as 2 row and perhaps light Munich in lieu of the Victory at a slightly higher level. Sounds like you have some experience in this.
 

Brooothru

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Hey, thanks Brooothru. Yeah, I agree the 6-row isn't really necessary anymore. I was just trying to use what Falstaff would have used in the 60's-70's. Same with the Hallertau instead of Liberty. I have actually used Liberty on one of my experimental batches but I went back to Hallertau because Liberty wasn't around in the late 60's as you probably know. I would certainly use Liberty in a modern version of Falstaff as well as 2 row and perhaps light Munich in lieu of the Victory at a slightly higher level. Sounds like you have some experience in this.
Yeah, I like the general idea of brewing these 'historical' types as legit as I can to the original. I went with Liberty, even though it's more contemporary with modern hops, because the Hallertau the German American emigrants used here both pre- and post-prohibition were cultivars planted in North America.

So even though they were probably Hallertau, the terrior they were grown in was North American. I look at Liberty as an Americanized Hallertau, not better or worse but just different. I'd like to think it's the type of ingredient that Adolph Coors, George Miller and Joseph Schlitz used along with 6 row.

When you look at American brewing leading up to the 1920s, it was in many ways very much like Europe, at least East of the Mississippi River. Lots of small regional breweries and loyal fans. Oddly I prefer the modern ales and Continental lagers, but I enjoy learning about the beers that my Dad and uncles drank well into the 60s and try my hand at brewing them. Bud and Coors were the beers of my college years in the late 60s to early 70s, and then I started traveling overseas and found out that there was a lot more out there than what I'd been raised around.

Brooo Brother
 

brewmanStan

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Yeah, I like the general idea of brewing these 'historical' types as legit as I can to the original. I went with Liberty, even though it's more contemporary with modern hops, because the Hallertau the German American emigrants used here both pre- and post-prohibition were cultivars planted in North America.

So even though they were probably Hallertau, the terrior they were grown in was North American. I look at Liberty as an Americanized Hallertau, not better or worse but just different. I'd like to think it's the type of ingredient that Adolph Coors, George Miller and Joseph Schlitz used along with 6 row.

When you look at American brewing leading up to the 1920s, it was in many ways very much like Europe, at least East of the Mississippi River. Lots of small regional breweries and loyal fans. Oddly I prefer the modern ales and Continental lagers, but I enjoy learning about the beers that my Dad and uncles drank well into the 60s and try my hand at brewing them. Bud and Coors were the beers of my college years in the late 60s to early 70s, and then I started traveling overseas and found out that there was a lot more out there than what I'd been raised around.

Brooo Brother
It's good to know there are home brewers like you who appreciate the beers of the past and their history. The beers of the 1960's that still survive today were actually better then than are today. At least, that's my opinion. My first taste of beer was when a cool aunt slipped me a sip of her Falstaff when I was around 7 or 8 years old. I was hooked. That was probably 1959 or 60. My first beer came as a teenager when my friend Johnny snitched a few Falstaff's from his parents party and we sat out on the creek bank slurpin' and burpin' Looking back, I guess that is what inspired me to try to re-create Falstaff after I started brewing seasonal beers a few years back.

We didn't have Coors here in Alabama until around 1975. I guess because it was new to us, we all started drinking Coors at that time along with High Life and Schlitz. It wasn't cool to drink Falstaff because it was deemed an old folks beer. Although I liked Falstaff better I didn't dare let my peers know. Now days I'd just tell them to shove it.
 

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Man, you're singin' my song. Different States (MO vs AL) but same generation and nearly identical upbringing it would appear.

In the early 70s I was going through flight training in Meridien, Mississippi. My folks drove through on a vacation trip, and Dad brought me two cases of Coors, which at the time was not distributed East of the Kansas border. Rare brew, for sure. Didn't last long between me and other thirsty Naval Aviators.
 

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I think the distribution thing was ,because Coors was not pasteurized at the time, it had to be transported cold. At least that's the impression you get from watching "Smokey and the Bandit". Olympia was the same way. My first beer was a tall Schlitz that a friend's dad left in the cooler of his bass boat. We were about 13. We drank it warm and I thought it tasted like piss and soap suds - but I still took my turn when it was passed my way. Later on, we went from Miller ponies to Sterling Big Mouth to keg Milwaukee's Beast and Bud. Ended up drinking enough Michelob in my teens and 20s to float a battleship. If I was to resurrect a beer from my youth, I think it would have to be regular Michelob. That was a great beer.
 

brewmanStan

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Man, you're singin' my song. Different States (MO vs AL) but same generation and nearly identical upbringing it would appear.

In the early 70s I was going through flight training in Meridien, Mississippi. My folks drove through on a vacation trip, and Dad brought me two cases of Coors, which at the time was not distributed East of the Kansas border. Rare brew, for sure. Didn't last long between me and other thirsty Naval Aviators.
LOL. I can see the feeding frenzy now. I use to feel sorry for some of the guys that brought Coors back from a trip out west. I know they never recovered their investment.

BTW, is the pre-prohibition lager you make based off of Falstaff or just your own recipe? Seems I remember reading that pre-prohibition Falstaff used only rice adjunct and they later moved to a blend of corn and rice. Is that correct?
 

Brooothru

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Actually the Pre-Pro recipe was cobbled and modified over many iterations from one in the original edition of Palmer's book, "How to Brew Beer." I've probably brewed it 20 times in the last 20 years. Each time there was always a minor tweak or adjustment. It wasn't usually a favorite of my guests, probably because it was rough and unrefined, much like the beers of that era. The ingredients and the processes back then were somewhat rough and unrefined, and this was the beer that reflected that background.

During prohibition, many of the underground brewers (disguised as bakeries) went for much more adjunct grain in the grist since "revenuers" tracked large purchases of barley. With a lot of corn and rice in the grist, the resulting beers became much drier and lighter. The higher diastatic power of the 6 row barley had enough enzymes to convert the mash. Post-prohibition, the U.S. palate had changed to embrace this style that had evolved over the dry decade. And that's the style that my Dad and uncles came to know, which later flourished in the post WW II era.

That's not the popular style any more, and hasn't been for quite some time. That's probably why I never "showcased" it at home or entered it in many competitions. For me it was just one of those personal quests to try to master the style, for MYSELF rather than anyone else.

So fast forward (or rewind) to late Summer 2019. I was getting a few entries ready for a fairly large competition I enter each year. You have to pay something like $1 entry fee for each beer, or $5 for six entries. I had planned and brewed a total of 5 beers for that year, which was significantly more than the 2 or 3 entries I'd normally do. So it dawned on me that that I was blowing it by not entering a freebee 6th beer. In mid-February we'd had a brief winter warm spell and I'd brewed my Pre-Pro lager. The keg, now at least six months old and half gone, was sitting in the kegerator so I thought, "What the heck?"

It was well lagered, but was just lacking "something." As luck would have it, we'd just returned from a road trip out West and had visited hop fields and producers in the Columbia and Yakima River valleys. Yakima Chief had a new hop blend they were marketing at the time, which in truth was probably a screw-up on the processing floor when a few different hop varietals got mixed together. It was a "blend" of Nugget, Cluster and Fuggles called "Cluster Fugget." It was interesting, but in a good way. Still, like so many beer-related things I buy on impulse, I didn't have a specific purpose in mind when I got it. Now I reasoned that since I had bittered with Cluster and Nugget, and had added Liberty which was a floral spicy descendant of Hallertau, and after all Fuggles was a mild floral noble hop, "Aw, what the heck." So I did a dry hop charge of Cluster Fugget on the six month old lager, counter-pressured a few bottles and entered it as my +1. It was the ugly duckling that became the swan. The beer I wasn't even going to submit in the competition won Blue Ribbon in Historical and took Best in Show ahead of nearly 400 entries overall.

It's hard to capture lightning in a bottle once, let alone twice, but I did brew it again last April as a pilot batch for a local brewery that was going to brew it to be served at the 2020 competition, which of course got cancelled for Covid. Anyway, it was a solid beer but in my estimation it didn't match the one from 2019. I'll go through my brew log and brew sheets and dig out the recipe if you'd like to give it a go. It's not Falstaff or even Hamm's (my Dad's favorite) but it's my homage to a bygone era and style. A lot of iterations to get there, but it was a labor of love.
 

brewmanStan

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Actually the Pre-Pro recipe was cobbled and modified over many iterations from one in the original edition of Palmer's book, "How to Brew Beer." I've probably brewed it 20 times in the last 20 years. Each time there was always a minor tweak or adjustment. It wasn't usually a favorite of my guests, probably because it was rough and unrefined, much like the beers of that era. The ingredients and the processes back then were somewhat rough and unrefined, and this was the beer that reflected that background.

During prohibition, many of the underground brewers (disguised as bakeries) went for much more adjunct grain in the grist since "revenuers" tracked large purchases of barley. With a lot of corn and rice in the grist, the resulting beers became much drier and lighter. The higher diastatic power of the 6 row barley had enough enzymes to convert the mash. Post-prohibition, the U.S. palate had changed to embrace this style that had evolved over the dry decade. And that's the style that my Dad and uncles came to know, which later flourished in the post WW II era.

That's not the popular style any more, and hasn't been for quite some time. That's probably why I never "showcased" it at home or entered it in many competitions. For me it was just one of those personal quests to try to master the style, for MYSELF rather than anyone else.

So fast forward (or rewind) to late Summer 2019. I was getting a few entries ready for a fairly large competition I enter each year. You have to pay something like $1 entry fee for each beer, or $5 for six entries. I had planned and brewed a total of 5 beers for that year, which was significantly more than the 2 or 3 entries I'd normally do. So it dawned on me that that I was blowing it by not entering a freebee 6th beer. In mid-February we'd had a brief winter warm spell and I'd brewed my Pre-Pro lager. The keg, now at least six months old and half gone, was sitting in the kegerator so I thought, "What the heck?"

It was well lagered, but was just lacking "something." As luck would have it, we'd just returned from a road trip out West and had visited hop fields and producers in the Columbia and Yakima River valleys. Yakima Chief had a new hop blend they were marketing at the time, which in truth was probably a screw-up on the processing floor when a few different hop varietals got mixed together. It was a "blend" of Nugget, Cluster and Fuggles called "Cluster Fugget." It was interesting, but in a good way. Still, like so many beer-related things I buy on impulse, I didn't have a specific purpose in mind when I got it. Now I reasoned that since I had bittered with Cluster and Nugget, and had added Liberty which was a floral spicy descendant of Hallertau, and after all Fuggles was a mild floral noble hop, "Aw, what the heck." So I did a dry hop charge of Cluster Fugget on the six month old lager, counter-pressured a few bottles and entered it as my +1. It was the ugly duckling that became the swan. The beer I wasn't even going to submit in the competition won Blue Ribbon in Historical and took Best in Show ahead of nearly 400 entries overall.

It's hard to capture lightning in a bottle once, let alone twice, but I did brew it again last April as a pilot batch for a local brewery that was going to brew it to be served at the 2020 competition, which of course got cancelled for Covid. Anyway, it was a solid beer but in my estimation it didn't match the one from 2019. I'll go through my brew log and brew sheets and dig out the recipe if you'd like to give it a go. It's not Falstaff or even Hamm's (my Dad's favorite) but it's my homage to a bygone era and style. A lot of iterations to get there, but it was a labor of love.
Wow, thanks for sharing that. Great story. I was curious enough to goggle Falstaff history back a few years ago and found some of the company presentations about ingredients and techniques but I can't remember if it was pre-prohibition or shortly after. It was interesting.

You got me thinking about trying a more modernized version of my Falstaff Tribute using 2-row instead of 6-row and Liberty in lieu of Hallertau. I'm sure it would be more flavorful. I'm trying to get some of my other beers made right now and probably will not be able to get to it until late spring. Just finished a batch of summer ale and now focused on an Octoberfest, which I call Autumfest. I'll get my porter going later on. Thanks for the suggestions that got me thinking.
 

Brooothru

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When I met with the pro brewer who was going to brew my BoS lager, we talked about 6 row vs 2 row, and he said he'd be happy to brew it either way but with modern grains he thought any differences would be negligible. As I said, the only reason I went with 6 row was to make it "feel" more authentic. I do like the Cluster/Liberty combo for bitter/aroma, though Hallertau Mittelfruh was certainly used back then though not in the more common American beers which used domestic cultivars.

Good luck with your Pre-Prohibition beer!

Brooo Brother
 
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