So, while the wort for my barley wine was coming to a boil I heated up some additional sparge water and rinsed another 4 gallons of wort from the grain. Believe it or not I ended up with a gravity reading of 1.035 from this effort and knew I had the potential for some additional beer.
I set this aside while I finished brewing the barley wine as per normal and got it chilled and in the fermentor.
I then set to work on my small brown ale. I wanted the gravity to be a bit bigger so I add some cane sugar to the boil and add some hops sparingly hoping for a mild bitterness. I chilled and left it up to a packet of dry US-05 yeast to ferment.
After fermentation was complete I tasted the beer and found it to be slightly astringent (from the extra sparging I suppose) and lacking in the malt character that I was looking for and since I had come this far with it I figured I'd double down on my effort and decided to see what would happen if I added some local fruit. My thinking was to possibly temper the astringency and additionally create some added dimensions to the beer. In this case I guessed that 3 over ripe papayas and a mango would do the job.
I washed and sanitized the fruit first and then my hands because after peeling and scooping out the fruit I used my bare hands to squish the fruit into a lumpy puree. The odds of my contaminating this beer were high but since I also enjoy a good sour beer I wasn't afraid and some deep part of me actually smiled at the idea of a sour, brown, tropical fruit beer. I poured the fruit directly onto the fermented beer and covered with a lid and airlock. I stepped back and rubbed my hands together in anticipation.
|Brown ale with fruit|
The final results? A mild brown ale with easy drinkability. The papaya aroma come through with the dark fruitiness of the crystal malts but is only slightly detectable in the flavor which is predominantly stone fruit and caramel. The astringency is mostly gone and the bitterness is just a bit higher than I would like but not offensive.
This low alcohol (session brown?) will be a great beer for quaffing on the roof top as the lazy days of summer wind down. If you are here in San Miguel, come by for a pint and give me some honest feed back on this secondary beer you might even get a taste of my traditional Mexican ponche that I fermented for an untraditional alcohol kick. Cheers!