I guess you could call this my house brown ale, since I’ve brewed it a few times and it’s one of my wife’s favorites. I set out to find a nice, malty, sessionable ale with a quick fermentation turnaround when I needed a keg of something to take up a tap on my kegerator. I perused some online homebrew forums and the BeerSmith archives, and threw together a simple recipe for a Southern English Brown Ale.
The Recipe: 5.5 gallons into the fermenter, 75 minute boil (Normally 60 minutes, but I over-sparged a bit and extended the boil, was aiming for about 5.25-5.33 gallons). I got 72% efficiency on this batch with a simple single batch sparge.
- 6 lbs Maris Otter
- 1.5 lbs Crystal 60
- 8 oz Aromatic Malt (20 SRM)
- 8 oz Special B
- 4 oz Chocolate (350 SRM)
- 1 oz East Kent Goldings (5.5%)
- Fermetis S-04 or WLP002
60 minute mash at 154°
Fermented at 62° (S-04) or 68° (WLP002)
This current batch is made with the S-04, and I don’t like it nearly as much as I did with the WLP002, so if you decide to make it definitely go with that. In fact, I’ve made 3 beers with S-04 out of convenience, and I’m pretty much at the point where I’ll never make anything out of it again.
Nice ruby-red/brown body that is crystal clear after about a month in the keg. Off-white creamy head with great retention and lacing. Aromas of bready grains, tobacco, dark fruit, and chocolate. Flavors follow suit, but in the S-04 version much more fruity yeast characteristics show up and don’t mix particularly well with the base flavors. The WLP002 showed more malt characteristics, with the touch of dark fruit/pipe tobacco/chocolate making one of the better flavor profiles I’ve brewed to date.
This is an incredibly easy, cheap beer to make. With the right yeast, it is delicious. I will make it again, and use WLP002 from here on out.
S-04 version: 6/10
WLP002 version: 9/10