Six weeks since brew day, the Craft A Brew Brown Ale has finished fermentation, bottle-conditioned, and is now ready to drink. After racking from the primary, I yielded 9 bottles and some tasty hydrometer samples. Overall, I’m quite pleased with this one-gallon brown ale extract kit, and from this, hope to play with one-gallon batches in the future. Thanks again to Craft A Brew for sending me this kit. A review and recipe below. Cheers, and happy brewing!
Pouring into a short pint glass, the Craft A Brew Brown Ale has a clear, medium brown appearance with thick, tan head. The aroma is malty, dominant of sweet malt and caramel with hints of milk chocolate and toasted walnut. In tasting, more malt comes through with notably breadiness, yielding an impression of caramel-soaked bread pudding. Additionally, as the beer warmed, notes of molasses and ripe avocado emerged. Bitterness was low, just enough to balance the sweet malt character. On the palette, the beer started sweet and finished balanced and clean. Along with some roasted malt acidity and medium carbonation, the body was light-to-medium in quality. In general, this beer is best described as solid starter brown ale: basic yet characterful, crafty yet easy-drinking. Overall, I am quite pleased with the finished product, especially considering it only took about 2 hours to brew.
As this was a recipe kit, I was not intimately involve in the design of the recipe. However, as ingredients are only part of the brewing process, I adjusted many of the available brewing variables, such as water chemistry, fermentation, etc. to produce a fine beer. For those interested, more in-depth brewing information of the brew day and fermentation of the Craft A Brew Brown Ale are detailed in the post linked here. As mentioned in said post, I was keen to taste the particular characteristics of the Muntons Gold yeast strain. From my sensory analysis, the yeast characteristics were fairly neutral and clean, letting the malt shine through nicely. In the future, in order to better understand this yeast, I might try fermenting a small-batch of my House APA recipe, something I’m quite familiar with, to determine any yeast character differences, and to see whether the hops would shine through, as they do in this recipe. Perhaps for a future date.
Lastly, for those enthused BJCP-style nerds, this recipe is not specific to any particular brown ale style. From my estimated recipe below and tasting notes, this brew falls close to a Northern English Brown in style. For a future re-brew, given the same kit, I would probably play with yeast to yield a character close to an Northern English Brown Ale. I would recommend either Wyeast London Ale or Wyeast British Ale; both make fantastic English-style ales. For sometime different, I would try slightly modifying this kit to make a more American-style Brown Ale. Using an American Ale yeast strain, adding ~1 oz of crushed chocolate malt, and ~1 oz of late American hops to the kit should get you pretty close to this style, one of my favorites.
Have you brewed a Craft A Brew kit or one-gallon batch, and how did it turn out? Leave your experience in the comment section below. Cheers, and happy brewing!
Recipe: Craft A Brew Brown Ale (my guess at it)
1 Gallon Batch, Extract + Speciality Grains
Stats: OG 1.052 FG 1.012 ABV 5.2% IBU: ~18
1.25 lb Pilsen DME
1 oz Chocolate Malt
1 oz Special B
2 oz Crystal 80 L
Speciality grains steeped in 165 F water for 15 minutes, 60 minute boil
Early boil additions of Fuggles to get you to ~18 IBUs (I did a 60 minute addition)
1 packet of Munton’s Gold dry yeast, pitched and fermented at mid 60s F
Nice clean soft-ish water (I used 1 gallon of distilled cut with 0.5 gallon of Austin water)