I’ve been in an IPA rut (not that there’s anything wrong with that) so I decided to try a new beer style. Since winter is right around the corner, I wanted something darker and settled on a Moose Drool clone recipe. I found a recipe on HBT and tweaked it a little.
As usual, I try to introduce something new in every batch I brew. Sometimes it’s technique, sometimes it’s equipment. Prior to this brew, I purchased an inexpensive pond pump from Amazon. I use an immersion chiller to get my hot wort down to pitching temperatures, but my ground water is approximately 76 F. While the initial cooling stage moves quickly (going from boiling to 100 F), it takes a long time to get down to pitching temp from there, usually requiring refrigeration to get it down to the 60-66 F range. I found an old tailgating cooler (pictured above) and filled it with ice and water to act as a pre-chiller. I cooled the wort as usual, by hooking up my garden hose to the immersion chiller. Once the temperature had dropped to around 95 F, I shut off the water and hooked up the submersible pump and the ice-bath pre-chiller to the immersion coil. This worked much quicker than ground water alone.
Brew Date – 11/23/15
Mash @ 154 F for 60 min
10.5 lb 2 Row
1.25 lb Crystal Malt 80L
0.5 lb Chocolate Malt
0.5 lb Oats, Flaked
0.5 oz Black (Patent) Malt
1.4 oz Goldings, East Kent FWH
0.6 oz Willamette 10 min
0.6 oz Liberty 0 min
WLP002 English Ale Yeast
Bottled: 12/27/15: 51 (12 oz) bottles and 4 (22 oz) bottles
This beer has a slight earthiness to it, perhaps from the English yeast, with a faint chocolate-ness and a little roastiness reminiscent of coffee. Some caramel notes round out the “brown” flavor. I think the flaked oats really smooths out the mouthfeel, though, next time I’d like it to be a little fuller. I’d call this medium bodied.
*edit – After trying one that had been cold-conditioning for a week, I can say it tastes amazing! Much like the flavors in chili meld over time, this beer has really gone from a collection of tastes and notes, to a harmonic symphony where everything plays well together. Even the yeast has imparted an almost Belgian-like spice character which helps round out the flavors. It’s seriously hard not to chug this addictive beer. It’s very session-able.
**edit 2 (3/16/16) – So, I entered this beer in the 23rd Annual Peach State Brew Off looking to get some feedback. A year ago (Fall 2014), I submitted my extract version of Murray Christmas to a competition in Colorado. It was the second beer I’d ever made and I thought it was amazing. Upon receiving my score (24) and the accompanying score sheets, though, I realized that my palate was very naive [glass shattering] (which is not always a bad thing) and after reading the critiques while drinking my beer, it became apparent that there were some flaws that came through in my brewing technique that the judges were able to perceive. It was a little crushing, but, at the same time, you enter competitions for constructive feedback.
Fast forward to this competition; I hadn’t entered anything since, but I felt I had really honed my skills over the past year and this beer–at least to me–seemed to embody that improvement. Moose Drool is also a commercial example of American Brown Ale (19C) in the 2015 BJCP Guidelines, so I felt sure that this clone would definitely be “to style”. As it turned out, my beer advanced to a mini-BOS round (being combined with American Ambers and California Commons) where it finished 2nd for category 19 (still waiting on the silver medal to be mailed) with a score of 37.5! From a brewing perspective, that was quite an improvement from my last entry a year ago. Needless to say, I was ecstatic by the results.