I have a thing about Black Ales – no idea why, I just love how the brain registers a roasted, burnt, heavy beer aroma and then you taste a light, refreshing, hoppy beer. My original Black Ale was based on an LME (Liquid Malt Extract) and mainly British hops (and yeast). Since moving to BIAB, I’ve been trying to recreate the finish I got from the LME without success, getting one step closer each time but never quite there.
This attempt was yet another step, but this time I feel I’m almost there – I probably need one more try to get it right. This time I brewed a Pale Ale but used some Carafa Special 3 for colour and roastiness, which worked well but has a little bit too much coffee finish. Hops are present (I used a mix of British and American hops), but it lacks on the hops punch which I would like to up next time for a real Pale Ale style.
1.5kg of Crushed Pale Malt (Marris Otter, UK, EBC: 4.5)
200g Carafa Special 3 (crushed, Germany, EBC: 1300)
5 litres of boiled Brita filtered London tap water, start temp before grains: 78°c, after grains addition: 65°c
Grains taken out and drained (+ squeezed) after 90 minutes.
Roughly 3.5 litres mash was left with 1082 gravity at 37°c.
5g West Coast by Mangrove Jack’s yeast dissolved in 500ml Brita filtered London water (18°c) and 5g dextrose
Left to activate from mid boil, about 1.5 hours.
3.5l mash water brought to an immediate boil with and another 1.5l boiled Brita water added
60 minutes: 100g dextrose
30 minutes: 12g Target hops (9.89%)
15 minutes: 20g Fuggles hops (3.91%)
0 minutes: in the ice bath with 10g Fuggles hops and 5g Simcoe hops
Wort was a total of 3.5l with a gravity of 1100 at 21°c
3.5l of the cooled wort was added to 1.5l Brita filtered London tap water and the yeast mix
Total of 5.5L with OG=1052 at 21°c.
Drinking while making
Dry hop (a week after brewing)
Added 20g Simcoe hops
Bottling (15 days after brewing)
Black colour, faint coffee aroma but hops aroma is stronger
FG=1012 at 19°c, making it a 5.4% ABV beer.
Total of 5.5l
37g dextrose added for priming to achieve a CO2 volume of 2.3.
Opaque black colour with a strong mocha coloured head that is persistent but thin.
Hops aroma is low but it has some stout-ish finish with a woody aroma. Really lacks the hops punch needed to be a good black ale, especially to make it a true American style one.
Roasted ale flavour with a bit of a burnt edge, a little flat with a stout after taste. Really dry with grain’s bittering. Carbonation is fizzy but not bubbly, again similar to a stout more than an ale.
I think a big hop punch is needed here, using more floral hops rather than earthy ones, a bit less Carafa Special 3 (maybe 150g instead of 200g) and more priming for higher carbonation.
The grain base is almost there and the yeast seems to be right, but I might try the Wyeast American Ale 2 if the beer is still not quite there next time.