Welcome to the Brown’s Brewing Co. Brewers’ Blog! We plan on utilizing this space to keep everyone informed on all things brewing, ranging from new beer release dates to small batch experiments that we are working on here in our Troy, NY brewpub. We plan on updating this regularly and will be interacting as much as possible throughout the brew day, so please feel free to comment and leave us feedback on the beers, questions about our breweries, the brewing process, and what we are up to here at Brown’s. We want to hear from you! New Beer! Winter is finally over and we are really looking forward to the warmer months. We have a number of beers that will debut for the first time this summer, along with some oldies but goodies. This list is more of a teaser, we will be following up each of these with a more in-depth description including a release date and photos. Session IPA: A return offering from last year, featuring a new host of hops including Azacca, Sorachi Ace, and Cascade. (4.8% and 50 IBUs) English Summer Ale: New to the Taproom, this beer will be an easy drinker, blonde in color with a mellow fruity character from the English yeast, finished with Earl Grey tea. (5.0% and 15 IBUs) Saison: This one will be quite different from last year’s rendition. Utilizing five different grains and three yeast strains (one wild), this will be a dry and complex beer perfect as a summer quencher. (6.25% and 20 IBUs) Wild Wheat: Another new beer to the summer lineup. This beer focuses on fruity characters balanced by “rustic” undertones from a secondary fermentation with wild yeast. (5.75% and 10 IBUs) Iron Horse IPA: A yearly brew made in conjunction with the ALES for ALS Foundation, featuring a blend of seven different hops (Equinox, Mosaic, and five experimental varietals). An unholy lupulin assault, expect bracing fruit and citrus flavors. (6.25% and 60 IBUs) Want to know more about some of the styles or techniques and ideas behind the beers? Let us know! We are happy to answer any and all questions and comments you may have. Also, stay tuned for more information about our budding sour beer and barrel aged program! Cheers! Lee and Dan Troy Brew Team
We wanted to post a little note here to keep everyone up-to-date on what has been brewing here in Troy. Summer has ushered in a slew of lighter bodied, paler beers, from Saison to English Summer Ale, and the introduction of our first sour beers! Here is a head’s up on what you can expect to see from us in the coming months. Rotating Saison Series We have always been big fans of farmhouse ales, and figured that it’s due time we release some here at the Taproom. We plan on releasing a new interpretation of the style every month or two, which will cater to the season. If you missed the first in the series, it was a traditional depiction, featuring five grains (barley, wheat, rye, oats, maize) and the classic fruity and peppery yeast character one can expect from a Saison. The next release will be out at some point in August and will be slightly tart from a mixed fermentation (brewers yeast and lacto) and aged on apricot puree. Sour Program If you follow us on Instagram (@brownsbrewingco), you have seen that we recently tasted the progress of our Sour Brown Ale barrels, and they are really coming into their own, with each barrel lending nuanced flavors that will add complexity to the final product. You will have to wait until the fall to enjoy the Sour Brown, but we will be releasing a Golden Sour Ale aged on lemon zest in Oak next month, so keep your eyes out for that! New “Clean” Beers While we are very excited about our sour and farmhouse beers, we have a bunch of new “clean” (beers that contain no wild yeast or bacteria) beers coming out as well! This year’s rendition of the Session IPA features Azacca, Sorachi Ace, and Cascade hops. We’ve tweaked our Belgian Blonde recipe, lowering the alcohol content a touch as well as an addition of citrusy, herbal hops for added complexity. Also, a new style to our taps, our Rye Pale Ale. This beer uses German Hallertau Huell Melon hops, a generous amount of Rye malt, as well as a blend of American and Belgian yeasts to complement the other flavors. Cheers! Dan and Lee Troy Brew Team
We are brewing another new style today. Inspired by (and with respect to) the traditional Flanders Red, we will be calling the beer our American Sour Red. This is one of the more complex sour ales to emerge from centuries of experimentation with mixed fermentation (i.e. fermenting with common beer yeast as well as wild yeast—Brettanomyces—and lactic acid producing bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Pediococcus) in Belgium. A Flanders Red would very often undergo extended aging in used wine barrels. Revered beer connoisseur Michael Jackson referred to the style as the “Burgundy of Belgium.” Overall the beer exhibits the tartness of sour cherries, currants, and plums, with a solid malt backbone and spicy vanilla and chocolate notes. The depth of flavors should also bring out subtle notes of sherry and red wine vinegar.Today we brew the base beer that will later go into barrels for a long nap of at least 8-9 months. Alongside the bulk fermentation, we have filled four carboys to act as “starters” for the blend of yeast and bacteria spanning three separate yeast labs. These will be added to the barrels, having given the cultures a strong foundation and allowing for flavor diversity from one barrel to the next. Needless to say we are very excited about this beer, but with good sour beer comes great patience! Alongside the American Sour Red we have a few other offerings to report, thankfully they will be coming to the taps much sooner. Stay tuned for the release of a Scottish 70/- (Shilling) and Saison 3.0. The Scottish Ale will be light amber in color, malty sweet and clean, and served on nitro. The third iteration of our Saison series pairs a classic interpretation with a modern bite of fruity and spicy hops. Our classic Harvest IPA will also be returning in that time, with Oktoberfest and Pumpkin Ale shortly after on October 1st. Cheers to Fall beers! Lee and Dan
Hello again! Fall is officially here and we are gearing up for the cooler months in Troy. There are a number of new beers we will have available in the coming months. Having recently procured a great stock of freshly dumped bourbon barrels, we have been anxious to fill them. Expect to see Imperial Stout aged in Jack Daniels oak and our English Barleywine in barrels that previously held Woodford Reserve! Later into the Winter we’ll be adding to this collection with an Imperial Brown Ale, aged on toasted coconut, and another round of Double Oatmeal Stout, both to spend time bathing in bourbon. Should make for some tasty tippling. Speaking of Barleywines, we just finished brewing our first-ever American Barleywine. This style is considerably more hoppy than its English cousin. A Sunday Funday event held here at our Taproom ran a contest for a chance to brew a beer at the Brewpub with yours truly. Homebrewer and beer enthusiast Mike ClarkPywar was named champion and the MCP Barleywine was born! Brewed with golden raisins and clocking in at over 9% ABV, the beer that follows will be our interpretation of Mike’s classic recipe. Finally, onto our newest sour beers. The American Sour Brown has just hit the taps in Troy and Hoosick Falls. Aged in American oak for nine months, this malty sour pays tribute to the classic Belgian Oud Bruin style. Sour cherry, figs, raisins, chocolate, coffee and oak are all some descriptors one might use to describe this very unique beer. The next in our Brewers’ Reserve series is a sour weizen-style wheat, aged on white grapes. We were lucky enough to spend a morning with the folks at Altamont Vineyard and Winery picking (and sampling) 200 pounds of delicious Lorelei and Edelweiss grapes. These varieties impart amazing flavors of passionfruit, strawberries, and Jolly Rancher. Cheers to Fall beers! Lee and Dan
As some of you may have noticed, we have been delving into sour beers here in Troy and are very excited about the endless possibilities with regard to experimentation that they present. Many of you have tried our first few releases, and we want to keep you in the loop as to what we have coming down the pipe line! Here is a taste of what’s new with the sour program here at Brown’s Brewing! House Sour While all of our sour beers up to this point have been soured in oak barrels, where we inoculate the beer with lactic acid (shown in the photo above) producing bacteria and wild yeast, we have decided to brew a “kettle sour.” Unlike its barrel-aged counterparts, this beer is soured over a couple days (rather than months), prior to boiling, and then fermented with brewers yeast. The sour character of kettle soured beers is less nuanced and complex, focusing more on a clean lactic tartness that is an excellent platform for additional flavors from fruit, spices, etc. The first incarnation of this beer will feature tart cherries, cranberries, and lime zest. Pseudo-Lambic On the complete opposite end of the sour beer spectrum, we have begun an experiment in spontaneous fermentation, inspired by the Lambics of Belgium. These beers are produced by allowing the natural microbes in the air to land in the wort (the liquid that will be fermented into beer) overnight, after the brew. The wort is then transferred to oak barrels and left for a year or more to ferment. The resulting product is going to be very nuanced and complex, and will be unique to the area in which it is produced, with all of the fermenting yeast, wild yeast, and bacteria coming from the place where the beer was made. A true exercise in patience; we are hoping that this will yield a product unlike anything we have created in the past. Barrel Farm To make excellent and balanced sour beer, blending is key. Each barrel has its own character, and finding balance between them all is where the art of sours really comes into play. It is with that in mind that we are constantly trying to grow our barrel collection to allow us more opportunity to blend to taste and create the best beer possible. After just about a year or so we are up to over 30 barrels in our “farm” and hope to continue to grow our reserves to elevate the quality of the sour beer we are producing. Saison 4.0 The next in our series of Farmhouse Ales will be an interesting one for sure, pairing saison yeast with grapefruit zest and a touch of ginger. We are also blending in one barrel of soured Belgian Blonde Ale to give it a crisp, clean finish. Keep an eye out for this in late November. Obviously we have a lot of exciting “clean” (not soured) beers coming down the pipeline as well, from Bourbon barrel aged products, to hop forward IPAs and Pale Ales. We will do our best to find time to keep you all up to date on what’s new here in the brew cave in Troy. Cheers! Dan and Lee
Brewers’ Reserve Sour – Blend #3 We are very excited about our upcoming Brewers’ Reserve Sour blend as it incorporates quite a few new techniques that contribute to the nuance and complexity of the final product. This is our first beer that is 100% fermented in oak barrels, as well as our first to blend different base beers, so we wanted to share some of our thought process behind the blend. 44% of the blend consists of Weizenbock wort that was fermented on oak with a mixed culture of yeast and bacteria and then aged on plum puree. This has spent five months in barrels and has big notes of sour cherry, toffee, and plum (obviously). This was the platform on which we wanted to build the beer, and we searched through our barrels to find beers that would enhance and deepen these flavors. 31% of the blend is our American Sour Red, barrel fermented with a mixed culture and aged on oak for four months. This portion of the blend contributes some subtle funk, moderate acidity, and more vinous, tannic notes. 25% of the blend is our American Sour Brown, barrel fermented, and aged three months on oak. This relatively “young” sour beer, is much less tart, contributing vanilla, raisin, and fig, as well as a more rounded body, providing balance to the acidity and a complementary flavor profile to the plum of the Weizenbock barrels. These three come together to create something that is much greater than the sum of their parts. We are excited to share this with you and it will be pouring in the Troy Taproom beginning on January 4th. Soon after, the Walloomsac Brewery in Hoosick Falls should be pouring it as well. Cheers to sour beer! Dan and Lee
Alas! The reveal and results of our recent blind tasting event. On February 3 and 4 we sampled three Vienna lagers at the Troy Taproom and the Walloomsac Taproom. Participants were asked to provide us with their thoughts and perceptions on the three beers and rank them in preference. The three beers were an experiment in steinbier, a historic method of production. Before metal kettles, beer was made in wooden vessels. For obvious reasons, the wood could not be heated directly. To overcome this, rocks were heated in a fire and placed into the wooden vessels to raise the temperature and ultimately boil the wort. Upon contact, the stones would scorch sugars within the liquid and cause them to caramelize and cling to the stones. Some brewers then sought to return those scorched sugars to the beer by allowing the stones to soak in the beer while conditioning. Both the initial caramelization by the hot stones and the dissolution of the sugars back into the beer later were thought to impart distinct flavors of caramel and smoke. To test this, we created three beers. The three samples of Vienna lager were identical in composition. However, Sample A was boiled conventionally using propane. Sample B was boiled by heating stones in a beechwood fire and immersing them in the kettle. Sample C was also boiled using heated stones but was later conditioned on those stones as well. After compiling our results from the tasting we have arrived at the following conclusions. Sample A was overall the least favored. Sample B landed right in the middle, and Sample C was most highly favored. Participants consistently noted hints of banana and a higher degree of sweetness in Sample A. Sample B, while still noted as having hints of banana, was perceived as being more mild and having less body. Sample C was described as the most complex, having a unique sharpness, and appearing more cloudy. In conclusion, there certainly appears to be some distinct characteristics that develop as a result of steinbier production methods. Notably, increased complexity and sharpness as well as a haze from the stones in conditioning. However, no smokiness was perceived and very little added caramelization. We thoroughly enjoyed creating this ancient style of beer and bringing it to the public in the form of a blind tasting event. We are currently in the process of brainstorming new ideas for similar events and will keep you all posted when we are ready for another. Thank you to all who attended and provided us with your thoughts, opinions, and enthusiasm. Cheers! Duncan
Brewers’ Reserve Blend #4 Recently we pulled some samples from our barrel stock for the next in our Brewers’ Reserve series (#4). The blend will include three separate brews, each lending its own distinct character to the end product. Barrel no. 6: Culled from the Maibock brew of last spring, a year in the barrel. It appears that the Brettanomyces strains we pitched got a strong head start with prickly pineapple and funk up front. Barrel no. 13: Wild Wheat, spent eight months aging, probably the most bracingly acidic barrel of the four selected. We maintained the culture of a soured Witbier previously held in this oak, contributing both rustic herbal notes and the biting aspect of pineapple. Barrel no. 15: Saison, seven months in oak, tart and peppery. Dry in the finish, this barrel retained a surprising amount of the farmhouse esters from primary fermentation. Barrel no. 16: Wild Wheat, aged eight months, floral up front with mild Brett funk and a residual pineapple sweetness from the base beer. Twenty-four pounds of amber honey will help encourage the floral character into the finished product. After choosing the blend for our newest release, we began considering what flavors might add some depth and counterpoint to what we were tasting in the barrels and settled on chamomile flowers and vanilla beans, in addition to the honey addition to Barrel 16. One of the challenges that we often face when supplementing a beer with complementary flavors is to walk the fine line between those contributions being delicate or overbearing.