Otherwise known as the scratching of chickens in the barnyard dirt.

Croatoan Brown

2013-12-15 11.20.18

Second attempt under way! Last year, being the immensely shit year that it was, saw me put my brewing to the side, but now I’m back. The Belgian Putterz Wit was incredible. Excellent, really. And I’ve been itching to try another recipe ever since, especially since getting my new Blichmann Burner. This time around, we’re going with a variation on Northern English Brown Ale.

After buying and learning how to use the excellent BeerSmith 2 software (well worth the cost, in my opinion), I dug in and started designing my own recipes. I was going to attempt an Imperial IPA next, but Michele surprised me with a partial mash kit from our local brewshop. It was a regular English Brown recipe right out of the bag, but I decided to make it a little more fun. I plugged the existing recipe into BeerSmith and began tweaking away, and finally settled on a grain bill and hop profile that landed the recipe right at the upper end of the Northern English Brown Ale style. This should put it right under 30 IBU, 22 SRM and about 5% ABV.

2013-12-15 11.20.18

The recipe uses a combination of Caramel/Crystal 120L and Chocolate Malt, which I’m hoping will make for a nice mild brown. Add to that another combination of Amber & Light dry malt extract, which put it at about 1.104 Original Gravity. Fuggles and Bramling Cross Hops went into the boil, with the Final Gravity estimated to drop to approximately 1.020. A pinch of Northern Brewer and Bramling Cross was dry-hopped in the secondary fermenter for a week to pick up the aroma, and I think this might be a decent little recipe.

At the time of this writing, we’re about two days away from bottling, after a full four weeks of fermentation, split between primary and secondary. Another four weeks in the bottle and I should be able to crack a few open around mid-May. I’ll report back once that happens.

2013-12-15 11.20.18

As for the name, one of my oldest and closest friends, Mike, who I hadn’t seen in far too long, drove down with his son Jake for a weekend to visit. He’s probably the only person I know who is even more into beer than I am. We got to talking over some amazing Dubbels & Trippels he brought down, and he told us a story about them passing the sign for Roanoke, VA and thinking they went the wrong way. I quipped something along the lines of “Not that Roanoke. You didn’t see the word ‘Croatoan’ carved in any fences, did you?” And, my man Mike being one of the most well-read people I know, immediately caught the reference and we had a good laugh. As the Dubbels & Trippels disappeared and a Quad appeared out of nowhere, we turned to talking about running our own brewery together someday. I said we could put it in the real Roanoke, VA so that it’s not too much of a commute for him from NJ, and me from NC, and that the NEBA I had in the primary at that very moment would be the prototype for one of our first beers. I have to figure out a way to get a sample up to him. Road trip?

2013-12-15 11.20.18

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