Brew #11 – Northern English Brown Ale (AG)

2016-09-03 12.18.56

This is a clone of Newcastle Brown Ale from the book Clone Brews. This is my first-ever 90 min mash and 90 min boil.


  • East Kent Goldings hops out of stock on NB. Substituted with UK Progress hops.
  • Progress hop added at 6 min instead of 15 min (as book says), to keep IBUs within range for style.
  • Safale S-04 used instead of liquid yeast (as book says) because it’s summer.
  • The recipe called for 9.25 lbs of the UK 2 row, but I accidentally put in the 10lbs I ordered. This put it just slightly out of the OG parameters for this style – 1.053 (max is 1.052). Of course this is estimated anyway. It remains to be seen what number I’ll hit.




10 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (3.0 SRM) Grain 97.0 %
2.0 oz Chocolate Malt (450.0 SRM) Grain 1.2 %
2.0 oz Simpsons Medium Crystal Malt (74.0 SRM) Grain 1.2 %
1.0 oz Simpsons Black Malt (745.0 SRM) Grain 0.6 %
0.60 oz Target [11.00 %] – Boil 90.0 min Hop 27.1 IBUs
1.00 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining
0.50 oz Progress [6.25 %] – Boil 6.0 min Hop 2.9 IBUs
1.0 pkg SafAle English Ale (DCL/Fermentis #S-04) [23.66 ml] Yeast

Brew Day (9/3/16)

  • started around 10 am
  • heated just over 3 gallons water to 169F
  • heated full tea kettle to around 195F
  • Just remembered I bought 10 lbs of the base malt instead of 9.25 lbs as called for. Too late; all grain is mixed in bucket and ready to go. This puts the estimated OG just slightly over for the style.
  • Now strike water volume is supposed to be 3.25 g insteda of 3.02 g; hopefully I’ll be ok with that addl tea kettle water
  • Poured strike water into tun and preheated it for about 4 mins. Some water came out and got on my hands and the floor when I tried to “swish it around” – won’t try that again.
  • Once again, forgot the PH 5.2 I like to use (I don’t know anything about my water chemistry, but why not?)
  • Doughed in. Target temp 152F. Hit 151F after adding about 1/3 of the tea kettle. After about 5 mins, thermometer started going back and forth between 150/151F. After 20 mins or so it has stayed locked in at 150F. During last 12 or so mins of 90-min mash, I noticed it fluctuating between 149-150F
  • Heated just under 4.5 g sparge water to 168 (BS estimates needing 3.75g)
  • Fly sparged with all 4.5 g of water. Sparge got kind of stuck once or twice, but opening the valve a bit more got it going again.
  • I’m reading the pre-boil gravity and converting for the high temp, I’m getting 1.063! It’s supposed to come out with an OG of 1.053. Kind of hard to read the hydrometer with this dark colored wort. If it’s really this high though, I hope I’ll have enough yeast (next time, have an extra of the SAME yeast). Possibly, if I do end up underpitching, this beer will just end up with a more estery taste (which I think works for this style!)
  • When it was just about to come to a boil I decided to add the 2/3 of a teapot of (now warmish) water to the kettle to bring the volume up. It’s about 6 gallons now. Due to higher gravity than expected and 90 minute boil I thought it would be a good idea.
  • Started boil around 2:10pm
  • Started chilling wort at 3:40pm. Last time my septic overlowed a bit in the basement – I’m running the water out the kitchen window this time, into a hose attached to the side of the house (to direct it away from house). At some point I have to address this plumbing issue.
  • 92F at 4 pm… shooting for 68F
    74F at 4:11pm…
    hit 70F at 4:17… good enough
  • Pitched 1 packet dry yeast at 4:30 pm. Fermenting in new basement office
  • OG 1.056… (Maybe I read this hydrometer incorrectly earlier?)

This is some of the most drinkable wort I’ve made!

this wort drank pretty good
this wort drank pretty good
Next morning... looking good. Lots of chunky guys in here.
Next morning… looking good. Lots of chunky guys dancing around in here.

Bottling (9/17/16)

Yielded about 4.2 gallons (42 bottles). Bottled with 3.75 oz white table sugar dissolved in 2 cups boiling water. This should give me 2.7 vols of carbination which is the most for this style according to Beersmith’s style database. OG is 1.010 (5.9% ABV)

bottom of carboy.... mmm, science.
bottom of carboy…. mmm, science.
Already delicious on bottling day!
Already delicious on bottling day!
This is what I'm going for! I think I did pretty good on the color.
This is what I’m going for! I think I did pretty good on the color.

Tastings (October, 2016)

Just like with my last beer I’m finding aging makes such a difference. It’s about a month old now, and it’s delicious. Not sure how much it tastes like Newcastle as I haven’t done a side by side taste, but it’s quite nice. It’s nicely bitter and roasted tasting. It has a beautiful color and foamy head that stays present until the last swallow. It’s a perfect beer for fall. It’s cleared up some with age, too.