Author Topic: Old Ale  (Read 4767 times)

Offline morticaixavier

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Old Ale
« on: June 12, 2012, 08:46:02 AM »
So my next (scheduled) brew is an old ale. I have begum my research and so far what I have come up with is:
1) It is alot like a lower gravity barley wine but maybe a bit sweeter do to more character malt and/or lower attenuation from a higher mash temp.
2) Firm bitterness but not alot of hops character other than that. Best off using a nuetral bittering hop?
3) A little oxidation character is acceptable (do judges read that as acceptable, desireable, or faulty?)
4) a touch of wood character can be good but too much pushes it into wood aged category.
5) british malts should make up the preponderance of the malt bill with dark crystal (great movie by the way) to provide sweetness, color, and body. Some dark roasted malt but not enough to clash with the hops
6) The guidelines say some brett character is acceptable and I believe the 'old ale' blend yeasts to contain some. Do judges like to see brett in here? or does it read as a fault? How does one go about getting lower attenuation with brett in the picture?
7) dark, dextrinous adjunct sugars such as mollassas and/or treakle are desirable

so am I on the right track? any other hints or tricks? ferm temps?
« Last Edit: June 12, 2012, 12:10:24 PM by morticaixavier »
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Old Ale
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2012, 09:05:44 AM »
Here's the base recipe I have used for my Old Ale.  I love Bell's Old Ale, and this comes very close.  This is from an old Zymurgy.

Bell's Third Coast Old Ale

Target OG: 1.095
Target IBU: 80
Final volume: 5.5 gal
24.0 lb pale 2-row
1.0 lb Victory
0.5 lb crystal 40
0.5 lb crystal 80
2.0 oz Centennial (10%AA) @ 60 min
2.0 oz Centennial @ 20 min
0.5 oz Centennial @ flameout

Single step infusion mash in the 150-152 degree range.

I'm not a fan of Brett, so I've never used it.  I've had good luck getting great attenuation with Windsor, Nottingham and London ESB yeast.  So far, my favorite yeast for this is the London ESB.

I can't speak to what judges like, but definitely some oxygenation is OK.  I try to age mine for awhile before I keg it hoping to get some sherry-like flavors.  I have not used oak for an old ale, yet.

I'm not sure I'd use molasses.  If so, I wouldn't use much.  I find that the flavor REALLY comes through.  I would go with treacle or Lyle's Golden Syrup if you can get it. 

On another post, there is a recipe for Old Peculiar where they recommend using dark candi syrup.  I've thought about using the D-45, but have not yet.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Old Ale
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2012, 09:22:18 AM »
The theakson post is what got me started thinking about it again. That's a good looking recipe although I feel like it's more of a barley wine than an old ale. Well except for the crystal malts. I feel like the late hops might be lost after extended ageing, has this been your experience? the plan is to age this one for a full year, with, possibly a little time in an oak barrel if that seems warrented.

treacle or golden syrup are my first choice as well, I think I can get either.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Old Ale
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2012, 09:37:20 AM »
I feel like the late hops might be lost after extended ageing, has this been your experience? the plan is to age this one for a full year, with, possibly a little time in an oak barrel if that seems warrented.

I haven't been able to give it extended aging, as it was a big hit when I brewed it last summer.  I had people coming over with empty growlers looking for me to fill them.

I did age my first attempt at an old ale in bottles for a long time, but it wasn't this recipe and I didn't keep notes as it aged.  That was maybe seven or eight years ago.  I think the bottles lasted for four years before they were all depleted.

I brewed 10 gallons this last round so that I can keep some longer.  I'm also thinking that I'll bottle some from the keg when it goes into the fridge, again for aging purposes.

All that said, I do expect that the hops will fade.  It's very hoppy when it's fresh.

I'm not brewing all-grain, so I've re-worked the recipe a bit to use DME and sugar.  I think I used Maris Otter last time for the base grain, though.  I typically mash 5 lbs or so and build from there with DME/sugar to get the target OG.

As for Old Ale/Barley Wine, I tend to think they're close cousins.
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Old Ale
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2012, 10:57:40 AM »
Technically, when the BJCP says a unique flavor contributor "is acceptable", it shouldn't ever push the beer out of style. I think this is more often the case, especially in a style that varies in interpretation (saison, American IPA, strong ale).

If this is for a competition, I'd stay away from a blend (at least at first). You may get too much brett character, which will lead judges to believe the beer has off flavors or was crafted to have too thin mouthfeel, high carbonation, or an infection.

You can bottle up a bunch in 12 oz and drop brett in a few to try it out. If you like it, add it to your bottling bucket next time.

Actually, if you REALLY like it, the hell with the judges  ;D
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Offline kramerog

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Re: Old Ale
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2012, 11:29:32 AM »
I would think a lot of "good" oxidation would be not only acceptable but is desireable in an Old Ale.  I'm not a judge but I see little reason to drink an Old Ale until it has aged at least 9 months.

I have not seen Brett Clausenii thinning out one of my homebrews noticeably.  I'm not sure why not.
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Offline The Professor

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Re: Old Ale
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2012, 11:49:09 AM »
...I'm not a judge but I see little reason to drink an Old Ale until it has aged at least 9 months...

Actually, even when ingredients and flavor profile are dialed in,  I wouldn't even really consider it an Old Ale until it has at least a year or two on it.   ;D
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Offline brewmasternpb

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Re: Old Ale
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2012, 09:27:54 PM »
I geared mine toward the article on "Burton Ale", for the club-only competition.  IMO, the OP has the style nailed, the only additional info that I got from that Zymurgy article was a high finishing gravity (the glass should stick to the coaster, it should be that sticky) and a feeling of great comfort (warmth).  But remember, the "Burton" style is only one interpretation of old ale.  I boiled my first runnings for almost 30 minutes to get more of a caramel flavor.
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Offline kramerog

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Re: Old Ale
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2012, 07:18:11 AM »
I geared mine toward the article on "Burton Ale", for the club-only competition.  IMO, the OP has the style nailed, the only additional info that I got from that Zymurgy article was a high finishing gravity (the glass should stick to the coaster, it should be that sticky) and a feeling of great comfort (warmth).  But remember, the "Burton" style is only one interpretation of old ale.  I boiled my first runnings for almost 30 minutes to get more of a caramel flavor.

What does "the OP" refer to?
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Offline ccfoo242

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Re: Re: Old Ale
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2012, 07:49:48 AM »
I geared mine toward the article on "Burton Ale", for the club-only competition.  IMO, the OP has the style nailed, the only additional info that I got from that Zymurgy article was a high finishing gravity (the glass should stick to the coaster, it should be that sticky) and a feeling of great comfort (warmth).  But remember, the "Burton" style is only one interpretation of old ale.  I boiled my first runnings for almost 30 minutes to get more of a caramel flavor.

What does "the OP" refer to?

Original poster.

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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Old Ale
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2012, 02:10:41 PM »
Bump, this brew is coming up so I am finally trying to hammer out my recipe

I am thinking something along the lines of

8 gallon batch

25 lbs pale ale malt (thinking of trying the california select from great western
2 lbs crystal 60
1 lbs crystal 20

3 oz bravo @ 13.5% FWH
1 oz bravo @ 13.5% 30 min **EDIT: Maybe I will swap this out with some EKG or similar british hop, or just skip it and make up the IBU in the FWH. **

Yeast maybe WLP002 or maybe WLP013? any suggestions are, as always, appreciated.

WLP013 has a higher attenuation % according to White labs but it also mentions an oakey ester that I thought might be just the thing for that hint of wood without actually putting it in the barrel and risking overdoing it.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 02:13:56 PM by morticaixavier »
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