Apple Brown Betty Fall Ale

Half-Batch Brewing

I’m trying out brewing a small (half) batch recipe because this recipe might not be any good. Even if it is good, I don’t know that I want a full 5 gallons of this, so I just split the recipe in half and left all of the timings the same.

A 2.5 gallon batch seemed like an easy task for the kitchen stove. Unfortunately, bringing 2.5 gallons to a boil took a lot longer on the stove than with the turkey fryer!

Results

Overview
  • Starting gravity (actual):
    • ~1.060
  • Starting gravity (expected):
    • 1.053
  • Final gravity (actual):
    • 1.014
  • Final gravity (expected):
    • N/A
  • ABV
    • ~6%

Underwhelming.

Initially I think it tastes a bit watery and I did not notice much apple or brown sugar flavor. Maybe the lack of apple flavor is from using a mesh grain sack to keep the mess contained? But the lack of other strong flavor means that the flavors are just too subtle overall and need to be increased for my liking.

Update: I don’t know if it got better with more time in the bottle or if the flavor grew on me, but I liked this beer the more I drank it. The apple flavor is subtle, but it is there. I don’t know if I would make this again, but everyone else seemed to like it quite a bit.

Recipe

This recipe is from The Homebrewer’s Recipe Guide. The main recipe (not including the puree) is pretty simple:

Malt
  • 0.25 lbs chocolate malt
  • 3.3 lbs light liquid malt extract (Pale)
  • 0.5 lbs dry malt extract (Amber)
Hops
  • 0.75 oz Fuggles pellet hops
    • 60 minutes
  • 0.25 oz Hallertau pellets
    • 0 minutes
Yeast
  • Wyeast 1098 British Ale
Other
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 2 lbs of apples, diced
    (half Red Delicious, half Granny Smith)
  • 2 lbs of apples, puréed
    (half Red Delicious, half Granny Smith)

Brewing Notes

Timeline
  • Brewed
    • July 20, 2013
  • Purée and transfer
    • July 25, 2013
  • Bottled
    • August 5, 2013
  • Tasted
    • August 19, 2013

  • Dice the apples
    During the boil I peeled, cored, and diced the first 2 lbs of apples (1 lb each of Red Delicious and Granny Smith) which ended up at just over 1.5 lbs
  • Steep the extras after boil
    After the 60 minute boil, I steeped the Hallertau hops, diced apples and ground cinnamon for 30 minutes. I put the diced apples in a muslin bag to get them back out easily. Also nice since I had the wort chiller in the brew pot.

  • Adjust for high gravity
    The gravity was extremely high at 1.072 (expected 1.053), but I added more water to get up to 2.5 gallons which brought the gravity down to about ~1.060.

  • Make apple purée
    After five days I added another 2 lbs of apple to the fermenter–this time puréed.

    I cut the apples into chunks and discarded the cores before puréeing. Just like the apricot purée for the Apricot Honey Wheat Ale, I heated the apple purée to ~160-170 degrees to get rid of any baddies. After cooling a bit, I put the apple purée in a mesh grain sack (to keep it from turning into a huge mess) added it to the secondary fermentation. I also added a single cinnamon stick.

  • Transfer and add purée
    I don’t usually transfer for secondary fermentation. But since the primary was in a carboy I did transfer to a bucket for secondary fermentation because of the apple purée. One week later (August 1) I pulled the sack of apple purée out of the fermentation bucket, but left the beer (and cinnamon stick) for another few days.

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