The 3 hour boil. That’s easily the most noticeable thing about this recipe. Well that and the 3lbs of Maple Syrup. In reality, I didn’t add any Maple Syrup to the boil, instead all of the liquid going into this beer was pure maple sap which had already been boiled down.
This is the third maple sap based beer I’ve done and the second which was a brown ale. My first Maple Sap Brown Ale wasn’t that successful, the maple was completely lost in it and the overall recipe just didn’t work. The second beer was a Belgian Tripel, again on pure Maple Sap. It has a bit of maple character, but not really what I was looking for.
This time I set out to make sure the maple character stays in the beer, in addition the base recipe is an attempt to incorporate flavors that invoke some complementary breakfast tastes. A solid base of Maris Otter to bring it’s slight bready, nutty character to the beer. To further emphasis this bread and maple syrup background I added a pound of Amber Malt for it’s biscuit flavor. Finally, to bring it all together with a bit of more of a toasted bread character instead of regular crystal malt I instead used CaraWheat. A bit of Dehusked Carafa Special III brings the color of the beer beer in line with the style without introducing too much dark roasted character.
Our Maple Belgian Tripel last year had it’s sap reduced prior to mashing in, which I thought might account for it holding onto some of it’s maple character. For that beer I boiled 12g of sap down to 9g prior to mashing in. For this batch, I’ve decided to concentrate more maple character into the beer by reducing 20 gallons of sap down to just 10g before mashing in.
To be able to anticipate the final gravity I took a hydrometer reading of the sap in the kettle at this point. I then calculated roughly how much of BeerSmith’s maple syrup would have to be added to the water to get to this gravity which came out to almost exactly 3lbs. After final adjustments to the recipe I measured, crushed the grain, and mashed in. In order to reduce gallons to the volume I wanted I needed another 3 hours of boil time. Fuggles for bittering were added during the last 60 minutes of this extended boil.
3/22/2015 – Brew day went relatively smooth. Since it was Maple Sap I didn’t make many water adjustments, just threw in 1.75g of Canning Salt to help accentuate the malt character. I was a tad short on Maris Otter in the house so I ended up needing a bit of american 2-row which is reflected below. Ideally I’d just use all Maris Otter.
I pitched a starter of WLP-007 Dry English Ale yeast which is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Fermented at 67 degrees, raised it to 72 at the end of fermentation to allow the yeast to fully clean up.
4/8/2015 – Kegged it today. Thanks to all the simple sugars contributed by the Maple Syrup even though I mashed in at a moderately high temperature (154F ) it finished at 1.009 which is a really high attenuation level for this yeast. At kegging time a sample still had a hint of maple character in the beer which makes me pretty hopeful it will still be evident after carbonation. To help give that character a bit more of a boost I’m primed the keg with 1/2 a cup of pure maple syrup.
5/15/2015 -Tapped today, beer could use more bit body, but it’s not bad. It likely thinned out in part due to high attenuation from all the maple sugars. Not much maple character in the beer, it’s there in the flavor a bit in the finish, but not really what I was hoping for. That said it does have a nice toasted bread character to it and with the hint of maple in the flavor it works. That said, it would probably be worth exploring just using Maple Flavored Extracts instead.
Pale Malt, Maris Otter
Brewers Malt 2-Row (Briess)
Amber Malt (Mutons)
Carafa Special III (Weyermann)
Victory Malt (Briess)
Maple Sap (10g @ 1.010 )
Dry English Ale (WLP007)
65°F - 70°F
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