Temple of The Dog

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Frank-the-Tank

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The original Newcastle Brown Ale was one of my favorites, and the new stuff is a far cry from the original.
I am on a mission to get the original Newky Brown recipe, with that subtle signature sweetness, once and for all.

But I believe there is more to the whole story.

It is my assertion that the sweet taste of the original Newcastle is from Coca Cola or Pepsi. I have always felt like there was more of a caramel characteristic to the taste, however caramel color was all that was admitted to being added.

Check this out, 4-MEI was the chemical in the caramel coloring that some people were so concerned about, the same chemical in the caramel coloring of Coke and Pepsi. Coke didn’t stop making Coke. Pepsi didn’t stop making Pepsi. They just found a different caramel color...but Newcastle had to completely change the beer! Why? Because the executives knew that if they ever got found out for using another trademarked flavor, they would get buried, and the 4-MEI mess was the perfect reason to extricate themselves from having a popular cola in their recipe once and for all.

Did they care that we all loved it? No! They were concerned with their company, and who could blame them really.

Anyways, I am beginning an experiment to prove my hypothesis. You can bet I will have a 2-liter bottle of Coke sitting next to my brew stand when I do my next Newky clone. The question is when to add it. Should it go in with the yeast? How about in a secondary? Perhaps it should be added to the boil.
I will keep this thread updated, and I will post the exact recipe that tastes exactly like the original Newky.

In the meantime, I have clone recipes for one brew, but I haven’t been able to find separate recipes for the original Newcastle dark ale or the original Newcastle amber ale that were blended. It would be great if someone could add those recipes if they have them.

Join the quest to bring back The Dog forever, only available in homebrew, and never, ever again to be sold commercially.

Thank you for your support.
 

bkboiler

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This sounds really interesting...I have to admit I'm a bit behind on the backstory.
When did the newcastle recipe change?
What is this 4-MEI chemical you speak of?
Thanks in advance!
 

duncan.brown

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It changed in 2015, although that’s a few years after production moved out of Newcastle:


I believe it‘s purely for color and was below the flavor threshold. There was quite a fuss that The Dog was being changed for the US market when the EU had declared 4-MEI safe for consumption.

Assuming the OP is in the US, the bigger issue is that The Dog is no longer sold in the US. What you buy as Newcastle Brown Ale is a reformulation brewed by Lagunitas:


They* brought the rights to the name and came up with their own recipe.

Much as I’m genuinely curious to see what happens if you dump a liter of coke in the boil I suspect that won’t get closer to the original recipe, unfortunately. I think the main difference is the higher hopping rate of the Lagunitas version making it taste less sweet than the original.

* They being Heineken, who acquired Scottish and Newcastle in 2008 and Lagunitas in 2015.
 
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bkboiler

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Gotcha...I think biermuncher has a recipe on here, or maybe it was from Jamil's book...
It's been on my list for a while to brew the split batch, where part gets aged and other part is fresh, and blended at proper proportion to recreate the flavor.
My oldest brother's favorite beer is newcastle. So I wanted to do that for a special occasion for him, although it will be a lot of work!
 

duncan.brown

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Not sure if you have a BYO subscription, but they published the blended recipe and a simplified clone recipe. I just looked it up in the Oxford Companion to Beer and it says:
Originally, it was a blend of two definite styles, a strong dark beer, and a lower alcohol amber ale, on Colonel Porter's understanding that its distinct fruitiness could not exist as a single brew, but this practice was discontinued after ongoing specialist research into raw materials and their influence showed that a stand-alone beer with indistinguishable characteristics could be produced.
I'd be curious if anyone knows when the switch from a blended to a single beer happened, but it sounds like it was not recent.

Personally, I have a mixed relationship with The Dog. I lived in Newcastle Upon Tyne for five fantastic years (I went to university there) and so I've drunk a lot of it. Especially when it was pound-a-pint night in my college dorm's bar or the student union bars. However, I don't think I ever actually liked it. Once I moved out of halls and drank in pubs more, I switched back to bitters (especially Theakston's and then Black Sheep). That said, it has some nostalgia value so I'm happy to try a bottle or two when I'm back in the UK.
 

bkboiler

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I guess it's not surprising that the original recipe is no longer respected.
I remember trying some of their "werewolf" series years ago and liking it, but thinking it also tasted like soda-like.
 
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Frank-the-Tank

Frank-the-Tank

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Not sure if you have a BYO subscription, but they published the blended recipe and a simplified clone recipe. I just looked it up in the Oxford Companion to Beer and it says:

I'd be curious if anyone knows when the switch from a blended to a single beer happened, but it sounds like it was not recent.

Personally, I have a mixed relationship with The Dog. I lived in Newcastle Upon Tyne for five fantastic years (I went to university there) and so I've drunk a lot of it. Especially when it was pound-a-pint night in my college dorm's bar or the student union bars. However, I don't think I ever actually liked it. Once I moved out of halls and drank in pubs more, I switched back to bitters (especially Theakston's and then Black Sheep). That said, it has some nostalgia value so I'm happy to try a bottle or two when I'm back in the UK.
Much thanks for this Duncan Brown!
I was hoping to find the blended recipe for the first attempt, so your providing this is HUGE!
I‘m thinking a 10 gallon batch of both the amber ale and the old ale to fill 2 corney kegs and the rest in bottles. Going to figure the sugar content of coke and use it for priming and see how that tastes. I do realize that it will be fermented during priming, but I’m thinking a hint of the taste will remain. That’s all I’m looking for.
 
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Frank-the-Tank

Frank-the-Tank

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It changed in 2015, although that’s a few years after production moved out of Newcastle:


I believe it‘s purely for color and was below the flavor threshold. There was quite a fuss that The Dog was being changed for the US market when the EU had declared 4-MEI safe for consumption.

Assuming the OP is in the US, the bigger issue is that The Dog is no longer sold in the US. What you buy as Newcastle Brown Ale is a reformulation brewed by Lagunitas:


They* brought the rights to the name and came up with their own recipe.

Much as I’m genuinely curious to see what happens if you dump a liter of coke in the boil I suspect that won’t get closer to the original recipe, unfortunately. I think the main difference is the higher hopping rate of the Lagunitas version making it taste less sweet than the original.

* They being Heineken, who acquired Scottish and Newcastle in 2008 and Lagunitas in 2015.
I wasn’t aware that the original version is still being sold in Europe.
Perhaps the Newcastle ”heads” made their own cola back in the day specifically for putting a shine on their beer, and kept it secret to avoid knockoffs.
I heard that Laguinitas is just looking to get more people drinking Heineken, which isn’t going to happen in the US market with all the micro brewing going on. I, for one, will never touch another Heineken on principle.
 
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Frank-the-Tank

Frank-the-Tank

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Gotcha...I think biermuncher has a recipe on here, or maybe it was from Jamil's book...
It's been on my list for a while to brew the split batch, where part gets aged and other part is fresh, and blended at proper proportion to recreate the flavor.
My oldest brother's favorite beer is newcastle. So I wanted to do that for a special occasion for him, although it will be a lot of work!
bkboiler I hope this experiment solves the Newcastle “hint of sweetness” mystery once and for all.
 
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Frank-the-Tank

Frank-the-Tank

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Not sure if you have a BYO subscription, but they published the blended recipe and a simplified clone recipe. I just looked it up in the Oxford Companion to Beer and it says:

I'd be curious if anyone knows when the switch from a blended to a single beer happened, but it sounds like it was not recent.

Personally, I have a mixed relationship with The Dog. I lived in Newcastle Upon Tyne for five fantastic years (I went to university there) and so I've drunk a lot of it. Especially when it was pound-a-pint night in my college dorm's bar or the student union bars. However, I don't think I ever actually liked it. Once I moved out of halls and drank in pubs more, I switched back to bitters (especially Theakston's and then Black Sheep). That said, it has some nostalgia value so I'm happy to try a bottle or two when I'm back in the UK.
Much thanks for this Duncan Brown!
I was hoping to find the blended recipe for the first attempt, so your providing this is HUGE!
I‘m thinking a 10 gallon batch of to fill 2 corney kegs and the rest in bottles. Going to figure the sugar content of coke and use it for priming and see how that tastes. I do realize that it will be fermented during priming, but I’m thinking a hint of the taste will remain. That’s all I’m looking for.
 
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