In recent months, Shawn and I have been trying to learn about homebrewing with our friends and via the web. I must say that Twitter has been awesome to do some quick crowd-sourcing to get some different perspectives on a question I had. One source of help has been homebrewer and gent Stephen Freshnock, a.k.a. @slovakbrewer on Twitter.
Shawn was able to meet up with Stephen when he made his trip to Chicago earlier this year. Then, sometime this fall, Shawn was also able to score a few bottles of Stephen’s homebrew. This week we’re releasing a Happy Hour episode in which Shawn and I were able to get together and share one of those homebrews: an Imperial Brown Ale. I asked Stephen to share a little back story on his beer to offer context for myself, Shawn and you (the reader/listener). Feel free to read his commentary now, but definitely make sure to come back after you hear the show. Thanks Stephen for letting us try your homebrew and discuss it here on our show; I look forward to future tastings and learning more as both Shawn and I begin our foray into homebrewing.
Like many recipes this one came to me while in a drinking session. I was at a local pub enjoying the Imperial version of the Brown Ale. It was much drier and had cascade as the featured hop. I often think about what I would change not to improve the beer but to make it my own. In the winter I enjoy the thick tongue depressor beers like “Expedition”, “Darkness” etc.. I wanted to bring out those flavors without breaching the session-ability of the brown ale style. Being a home brewer gives me license to batter styles, so I hopped it like an IPA with Columbus. This gives it a resiny piney aroma that is so inviting and then you get his with a mouth full of malt to sits hand and hand with the hop flavor. It think the bitterness helps push the maltiness through and guide you to your next sip. The deep dark color is due to my process. Before I rinsing the grain bed, I do an extended recirculation of wort to improve clarity and set the grain bed. This means I am running wort through wort which darkens the color. I am willing to sacrifice color in order to improve the quality/stability of my beer. I also reduce the first gallon wort to 1/2 a gallon. This creates a super sweet unfermentable base to the beer. This also deepens the color further. This wort reduction also impacts flavor tremendously. The rich caramel and toffee flavors are a result of this. I layered a two different types of chocolate malt and 3 different low lovibond caramel malts to add complexity. There is a small bitterness charge at 90 minutes, a small flavor charge at 30. Then I pack in 3 ounces of Columbus in the last 15 minutes. There are 2 ounces at 1 minute, this results in the big hoppy aroma. This beer is meant to have more malt flavor and more hop aroma.
The Beer Genome Project Happy Hour #9 Show Notes
0:00-1:49 – Introduction
1:49-16:05 – American Brown Ale from @SlovakBrewer
16:05-17:46 – Conclusion