Thursday, January 19, 2012

Newcastle Brown Ale Clone... (Or Something Close)

Even though Newcastle wouldn't pass the reinheitsgebot (because it is brewed with some level of the corn) it is still one of my favorite commercial brown ales.  I found a clone recipe on the forms for this beer and decided I wanted to try it out.  The real Newcastle is a blended beer crafted by brewing two different beers and combining them in a 60/40 ratio.  BierMuncher got the recipes for the two blends from an issue of BYO and blended the ingredients down to a single recipe.  From his comments, it sounds like he got close to a clone by doing this.  Since I was going to be dealing with liquid yeast on this one (Wyeast - 1099), I made a 1 quart starter.  I bought 2 smack packs and used one for the starter and pitched the other on brew day.
 My mash-in took a strike temp of 168.5*F to reach a mash-in temp of 154*F and a 1.1 qt/lb mash thickness.
I heated up my sparge water to a little over 170*F in order to heat the grain bed up to a mash-out of 170*F.  My sparge thickness was 2 qt/lb, which brought the water level to the top of the mash tun.  
After run-off from the mash and sparge, ended up collecting about 8.25 gals or wort.  Plan was to hit around 8 gals and boil down to around 5.5 gals to leave 0.5 gal of trub.
After the boil I added the last of the hops and cooled down to 70*F in 15mins.  Over all easy brew day... Hit my numbers without any road blocks or problems. I did take this opportunity to calibrate my hydrometer and the refractometer that I got from my loving wife for Christmas.  
Using distilled water I found out that my hydrometer I have been using for years is off by 4 gravity points!  While my new refractometer is spot on and thanks to some calculations I found online I can completely replace my hydrometer with my refractometer.  With the O.G. at 1.055 that should put us right around 5% ABV.  

This was one of the fastest fermentation times I have ever seen!  I brewed this on a Saturday and it was finished by Monday afternoon.  I took a gravity reading and got 1.020, which was a little high for what I wanted.  So I pitched some amylase enzyme and over the course of next few days, took it down to 1.014 which was right in line with what I wanted.  

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