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Chestnut Brown Ale

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 17 April 2016 at 18:02
Brooklyn Brew Shop's Chestnut Brown Ale

Here are my notes from when I brewed this beer on March 6th, 2016.

The next beer that I will be brewing is Chestnut Brown Ale, from Brooklyn Brew Shop. As with all of my "Tips and Advice" threads, this will be a running account of the experience and the things that I learn during the process.

As usual, I'll start with the particulars:



Awesome, must-see video: https://vimeo.com/31829144

I really like the description of this beer: rich, nutty and mellow, with the added ambience of freshly-roasted chestnuts. It sounds to me like a perfect brew for this time of year, and I am looking forward to trying it.

I was able to brew this yesterday, and I'm pretty sure things went well. I brewed the beer according to the instructions above, with no real complications to speak of. Temperatures during the mash got a few degrees higher than my limit of 152 degrees during the first 10 minutes, but other than that, it went well, as did the sparge and the boil. The freshly-roasted chestnuts that were added at the beginning of the boil seemed to go really nicely with the East Kent Golding hops, and I'm looking forward to trying that combination with this northern English brown ale.

I looked in on the beer this morning, and while there has definitely been some fermentation, it doesn't seem to be as active as usual. Ambient temperatures were right at 68 degrees, which has been a good range in the past.

I was in a hurry, so I wasn't able to see the temperature on the thermometer that is on the fermenter itself, but I'll take a look at it when I get home from work this evening, and see how it is going. I've had a couple of beers that were slow to start before, and this could be another one. The good news is that it is indeed fermenting, which is half the battle.

As per my usual schedule, I'll replace the blow-off tube with an airlock in three days; I'll check on it each morning and evening, to see how it is going. After a total of at least three weeks, I'll proceed with bottling.

Here is the label that I came up with for this beer:


Ron
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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 April 2016 at 18:03
I bottled this beer today - I think it's going to come out pretty well.

BBS's instructions advise 3 tablespoons of priming sugar (usually maple syrup, agave nectar or - in this case - honey), but they tend to come out over-carbonated when I do this, so I used two, instead. 

Since there was just a bit left over after bottling, I was able to get a small sample. The chestnuts, malts and hops came through very nicely, I think, and I'm hoping that I end up with a nice, presentable beer.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 April 2017 at 16:21
Belated update, with notes:

Quote 3 May 2016:

Quick update - A couple of days after bottling, there were floaties galore on top, along with the usual beginnings of sediment on the bottom. By the time two weeks had passed, nearly all bottles were free and clear, and the floaties had settled down. One or two still had them, but I am guessing that conditioning in the refrigerator a few days will take care of that.

I am due to test the finished beer this weekend, and we'll see how things go then.


Quote 9 May 2016:

I was able to sample this beer over the weekend; for the most part, I found it to be great. The "brown ale" aspect of it was spot on, at least in what I would expect - malty with a slight sweetness and some definite "roasty" characteristics. The chestnuts seemed to come through very well Aroma was also very nice. I do not know if it is because it is still pretty "young" (only 2 weeks since bottling), but it seemed to have just a little too much hop bitterness. I am guessing that this well blend in better after a couple-three more weeks in the bottle; as I recall, the initial results were similar with my Kentucky Rye Brown Ale. Having said that, this was one very good beer.

I find these results to be doubly fortuitous, considering the adversities that I encountered along the way. Absolutely no visible krausen, throughout the entire process; a fermentation that seemed far too fast, and then re-started weeks later; weird, white floatie-looking things on top before and after bottling. In the end, however, this chestnut brown ale has proven to be very good, with the potential to improve even more.


Quote 12 May 2016:

My dad stopped by last evening, so naturally we had to crack open some of this and see how things were going with it.

In a word: impressive!

The first thing that I noticed is that the head and the head retention had both improved greatly. The head was beautiful and creamy, and lasted during the entire sampling of the ale. For probably the first time that I can remember since I started brewing, there was some very nice lacing on the beer mug, as well.

With less than a week of further bottle conditioning, the beer had indeed improved. The bitterness that I mentioned above had moved back a bit; just a bit more, and it would be in very good balance, at least to my palate. The chestnut flavor, along with the roasty malts, seemed to move forward a bit, as well, which probably helped the balance, also. I was really liking it, and my dad, who is mostly a BudLite/OldMilwaukee fan (except for the occasional Fat Tire or Sam Adams) was impressed, which is something that he doesn't say often about "darker" beers.

If anyone has been thinking about trying this mix (or recipe), you could do a lot worse. It would be a perfect brew for autumn or winter, but the truth is that it is good any time of the year.


Quote 11 August 2016:

A quick update on this beer -

I recently took this beer to Hot Springs, South Dakota with me, in order to share it with a friend whom I haven't seen for 20 years. I also brought bottles of a few others, as well.

I am happy to report that my friend pronounced Chestnut Brown Ale as his favourite of the lot, with Bruxelles Black coming in at a very, very close second! He liked both beers so much that the experience has sparked an interest in home brewing; he lives in a town with wonderful natural spring water, and I think that he could really make some good beer with it. As soon as I hit a payday, I plan on ordering a Chestnut Brown Ale kit and sending it to him.
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