Thursday, April 3, 2014

Barons' Brew - 2014

To commemorate the first full calendar year of the Indiana Beer Barons, The Big Guy decided to brew a special beer (which will hopefully become an annual tradition).  For this first "Barons' Brew" we solicited input from all the Barons.  Each of us picked one hop and one added flavor, with The Big Guy picking the yeast and base malt.  As an additional twist, we each made our choices in isolation, so none of these were picked to work well together.  It sounds like a train wreck waiting to happen, and this probably won't allay your suspicions:

The Big Guy chose to use Saison yeast, and a characteristically diverse malt bill which included Pale Malt, 2 Row, Caramel/Crystal Malt, Munich Malt, Cara-Pils/Dextrine, Flaked Rye, and Victory Malt.

We mixed all the hops together and added at several times during the boil:
Mosaic hops - The BrewniBomber
Galaxy hops - El Duque
Noble Hops - The Little Lady
Citra hops - O-Dawg
Centennial hops - Professor Beer

The following items were also used in the Barons' Brew:
Oak Chips - The BrewniBomber
Mango - El Duque
Amaretto - The Little Lady
Grapefruit - O-Dawg
Honey - Professor Beer

It sounds like quite the mess, and I wasn't expecting much out of the Barons' Brew.  However, my first thoughts on tasting it were "surprisingly, not terrible."  The Barons' Brew pours a cloudy, golden straw color.  Only two of the added flavors really come through, the honey and amaretto; there isn't much oak, mango, or grapefruit to the beer. The hop medley also turned out well, ultimately creating a fairly solid beer.  Though the process for creating future Barons' Brews will almost certainly be different, I'm excited to see what other concoctions we come up with.

Here's the recipe for those daring (or foolish) enough to attempt creating their own 2014 Barons' Brew:

6.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)
3.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 30L (30.0 SRM)
2.00 lb Munich Malt (9.0 SRM)
1.00 lb Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM)
1.00 lb Rye, Flaked (2.0 SRM)

3.00 lb clover honey added to boil

.5 oz Saz Hops
.5 oz Citra hops
.5 oz Mosaic hops
.5 oz Galaxy hops
.5 oz Centennial hops
(hops were mixed together and dropped at 20 and 40 minutes)

3 oz grapefruit rind @ 50 minutes

Pitch French Saison Yeast 3711

1 cup of amaretto in the primary at day 1
2 cups Lightly toasted oak chips at day 1
1 lbs of mango in secondary at day 14

total fermentation time = 21 days

The Big Guy: If you are crazy enough to replicate this beer, I have a few suggestions. First, make sure you use a yeast starter. The brew finished a little bit sweet, and with as much honey as we added there was room for the final gravity to be lower. Second, I would add more mango. I love mango and we could barely taste it. When adding fruit, I freeze it first to break apart the cells, then I let it sit in high proof booze to sterilize everything. Third, I would have added the amaretto at the very end of the boil instead of during fermentation. The Baron's Brew 2014 turned out better than we expected and I can't wait to do it again next year.


  1. You guys are seriously obsessed.....and entertaining:-).

  2. I will make sure Steve brings a bottle by for you to try. Its a truly unique experience.