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Kentucky Common Ale

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 02 June 2016 at 23:04

A truly home-grown variety, this beer was intensely popular in Kentucky from the post-Civil-War period until Prohibition. Based on that little there is available (sources below), and extrapolating from the known to the vague, I've developed what I think is a reasonably-plausible adaptation.


This 1-gallon adaptation bypasses the corn-grit cereal mash with flaked corn and employs a 60-minute boil, rather than 120 minutes. The caramel malt that I chose was due to its middle-of-the-road quality, while the hops and yeast seem to be the best compromise between what was described and what is available. Northern Brewer is probably not exactly the right bittering hop, but it seems to be the closest that I can find to "California Gray." I chose Hallertau rather than Saaz as an aroma hop because I believe that the Germans who were doing the brewing would have used this Bavarian variety.


Based on the statistics, this adaptation seems to fit the BJCP guidelines fairly well; not perfectly, by any means, but to the point where the average home-brewer in 2016 can give it a go.


Kentucky Common Ale

TasunkaWitko's Adaptation


1 Gallon, All-Grain


ABV - 5.07%

IBUs - 27.21


Grain percentages:


60% 6-Row Pale Malt

37% Corn Grits

1.75% Black Malt

1.25% Caramel Malt


Based on 10-gallon adaptation, 1 gallon contains 1.825 pounds total grains = 29.2 ounces


Available information converted to 1 gallon:


17.52 ounces = 1.095 pounds 6-Row Pale Malt

10.8 ounces = 0.675 pounds Flaked Corn

0.5 ounces = 0.031 pounds Black Malt

0.4 ounces = 0.025 pounds Caramel/Crystal 60L Malt


Mash - 156 to 158 degrees


60-minute boil


Hops:


Northern Brewer - 1.4 grams = 0.05 ounces @ 60 minutes

Northern Brewer - 2.8 grams = 0.1 ounces @ 45 minutes

Cluster - 2.1 grams = 0.075 ounces  @ 15 minutes

Hallertau - 1.4 grams = 0.05 ounces @ Flameout


Irish Moss - 2.5 grams = 0.09 ounces = 1/2 teaspoon @ 15 minutes


Yeast - Safale US-05 - 1/2 package = 5.5g


Ferment for 3 to 4 days, then bottle.


Sources:


http://www.bjcp.org/docs/NHC2014-kycommon-handout.pdf

http://bjcp.org/docs/2015_Guidelines_Beer.pdf - pg 55

http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/05/different-types-of-hops-what-hops-taste-like-saaz-fuggle-cascade-citra-beer-flavors.html

http://brooklynbrewshop.com/themash/hop-of-the-month-northern-brewer/

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 June 2016 at 09:48
When I get home from work this evening, I'll have a couple of slight modifications to the original post, as well as a few additional notes on this. If someone is really intent on brewing this before then, go for it, but consider keeping the mash temperatures in the 152-ish range. If it goes a little above - up to 158 - no big deal...just be careful not to go any higher ~
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 June 2016 at 10:33
   Interesting recipe Tas.  Do you do all the 1gallon conversions by hand?  Brewgr has a nice recipe program where you can save recipes and scale them up or down as you please.  It also calculates abv, ibu, etc, etc.  3 to 4 days is an awful fast ferment time, I'd be willing to bet you meant to write 3 to 4 weeks.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 June 2016 at 17:08
Hi, Dan, and thanks for the feedback. Yep, the batches I do are all by hand. I have an app called Brewer's Friend, which sounds pretty similar. I basically use it to make sure that I'm "on the right track" with any ideas I have, and of course to estimate ABV, IBUs etc.

Regarding the fermentation issue you mention, that's part of the notes that I mentioned in the above post:

Following a discussion on another forum, I am tossing in these notes as part of the "record" -

It was suggested that I employ lower mash temperatures, which does make sense for most beers that I brew. The temperatures that I used for this adaptation were just a guess based on the sources I had. Slightly-higher mash temperatures generally result in a more fuller-bodied beer that usually suits darker beers such as porters and stouts, but there is always a risk of going too high, especially for the typical home-/stovetop-brewer. One thing that I tried to keep in mind is that tastes back then are were almost certainly different than taste preferences now. I have no way of proving it, but I am sure that in those days before Budweiser, Coors, Miller etc., I am certain that a more full-bodied, robust beer would have been the norm, especially for working men at the end of the day. With that in mind, I'll probably look to keep the mash temperatures between 150 and 154. I will modify my opening post to reflect this.

As for fermentation, I really probably should give it the full 10-to 14-ish days of fermentation, at a minimum; the sources cite that this beer was allowed 3 days before kegging, but that was in barrels with bungs, not bottles. Between my reading of the articles and the recent reading I've been doing on Edelweiss beer (which relies on a 3-day fermentation, followed by bottling with no priming sugars), I just sort of went along with the 3- to 4-day concept. Having said that, going with the more "normal" schedule and using priming sugar (honey or possibly maple syrup) would not significantly change the beer, and might possibly avoid some pitfalls. I will modify my opening post to remove the suggestion of the short fermentation.

On that note, I did not put the OG and FG in my "recipe" above, mainly because I simply don't use them in my brewing. I will modify my original post in order to provide those statistics.

As for hops that I settled on, I was and still amusing some "best educated guesses," so I am certainly open to suggestions. The sources I had definitely mention a noble hop at the end for aroma, but for the bittering hops, it is pretty vague. The only clue I have is something described as "Western Hops (probably California Gray or a variant)" used for bittering with "New York Hops (almost assuredly Cluster)" in the middle for flavor, with an "imported" noble hop at "knockout" for aroma. Further, it seems that there were often substitutions due to availability, as well. I'm reasonably confident about the Cluster and Hallertau usage, but the Northern Brewer was just a guess, following my reading of a few articles dealing with Western/California-style brewing. If I could find something that points to a definite available example of "Western" or "California Gray" hops, that would be awesome.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 June 2016 at 08:40
Sounds like they may have transferred it to a firkin, for continued cask fermentation. I wouldn't consider going right in the bottle at this point. I do love cask conditioned beer. Keeping track of gravity readings may prove useful in the future, even if you aren't using them now. Take for instance the Og on a mash at 152 or 158...this will give you two different results in abv and body. But having Og/fg you can reference back your current tasting notes (maybe 6 months after brewing) to your brewing notes...then apply it on future brews
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 June 2016 at 23:29
[quote]Sounds like they may have transferred it to a firkin, for continued cask fermentation. I wouldn't consider going right in the bottle at this point.[/quote]

Yep - I've come to the same conclusion. I'll go ahead and follow my usual procedure, waiting until fermentation is finished, then priming and bottling. 

I also agree about the gravity readings. What I really need is to find an easy, no-fuss way to take these readings in a way that won't "waste" the wort (or must, if making wine). When you only have a gallon at hand, it's hard to imagine sacrificing any! I had originally bought a turkey baster to use, but this was proving to be a real mess. Perhaps, I'll simply use a funnel and a ladle, sanitise everything that the wort will touch, and use that. Those readings are important, and would be good to have, for the record and for consistency.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 June 2016 at 16:04
Originally posted by TasunkaWitko TasunkaWitko wrote:


I also agree about the gravity readings. What I really need is to find an easy, no-fuss way to take these readings in a way that won't "waste" the wort (or must, if making wine). When you only have a gallon at hand, it's hard to imagine sacrificing any! I had originally bought a turkey baster to use, but this was proving to be a real mess. Perhaps, I'll simply use a funnel and a ladle, sanitise everything that the wort will touch, and use that. Those readings are important, and would be good to have, for the record and for consistency.

   Hmmm...I could see your problem.  Have you looked into a wine/beer thief?  You can put the hydrometer right into the thief, but it would use more liquid than the normal hydrometer test jar.  The thief has a one way valve in the bottom, so you literally just lower it in, pull it straight out. 

   For OG reading we use a refractometer, but they aren't accurate once there's alcohol in there without a conversion chart.  But initial sugar reading it works great, accurate, fast...and only takes a drop.  We'll pull not only OG readings but also gravity of the sparge.  Pulling too low allows for bad tannins and off flavors...so we watch for that. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 March 2017 at 12:08
After some tiny little tweaks, I am ordering the ingredients today so that I can brew this in the near future.

Here is my "final" recipe for this attempt, which does match the reading I've done whilst also conforming to the 2015 BCJP Guidelines:

Quote
Kentucky Common Ale
TasunkaWitko's Adaptation

All-Grain
1 Gallon


OG - 1.051
FG - 1.010
ABV - 5.44%
IBUs - 21.74
SRM - 11.58


Fermentables:

19.22 ounces American 6-Row Pale Malt (60%)
11.84 ounces American Flaked Corn (37%)
0.5 ounces American Black Malt (1.6%)
0.45 ounces American Caramel/Crystal 60L Malt (1.4%)


60-Minute Mash @ 154 degrees

60-minute boil


Hops:

1.7 grams Cluster (7% AA) @ 60 minutes
1.7 grams Cluster (7% AA) @ 45 minutes
3.4 grams Cluster (7% AA) @ 15 minutes
2 grams Hallertau Mittelfrüh (3.75% AA) @ Knock-out

Other Ingredients:

Irish Moss - 0.4 grams @ 15 minutes


Yeast

Safale US-05


With luck, I'll brew this sometime in mid-April or early May.

More as it happens, etc. &c....

Ron
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 March 2017 at 08:31
I placed my order for the ingredients to brew this beer on Friday - I am expecting to brew this sometime during the week of 19-25 March...maybe early April.

Now, time to choose an image for the label!
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