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Ask A Brewer | Rob Lemery, Head Cellarman

Once a month, we’ll be soliciting your beer questions on Facebook for a member of our talented brewing team to answer on the Brooklyn Bloggery. This month, it’s Head Cellarman & avid safety-goggle-wearer Rob Lemery. 

I love Brooklyn Brewery Local 1. Is there a clone recipe I can use for homebrewing? – Kjetil R, Norway

First… thank you!  Second, I can’t provide all of the specifics of the recipe, but I can provide some details.  The grist bill is 100% pilsner malt, but we also add demerara and dextrose to boost the Original Gravity to about 18 degrees Plato. The bittering and flavoring hops are German Perle and the aromatic hop addition is a mix of Styrian Golding and Aurora.  We use our house Belgian yeast strain to ferment the beer, we bottle condition with champagne yeast, and have a resulting final ABV of 9.0%.

Local 1 is a Belgian Strong Golden Ale, so doing a little research into the beer style (and other similar styles) should help you develop your recipe. Of principal importance will be a long, low saccharification rest; this will give a very fermentable wort. Local 1 is strong, but also very dry – it finishes in the bottle at about 1.7 ° Plato. With all of these things in mind you should be able to get pretty close to a Local 1 clone.  If not, then we have plenty available here for you to drink! Let us know how you do!

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Photo courtesy of Brett Casper

What would be a good food pairing for Winter Ale & Sorachi Ace? – David B, New York

Winter Ale is a toughie, great question! I like to pair sweet with sweet, specifically something robust like a dark chocolate anything, or something with spice notes like cinnamon ice cream or pumpkin pie.  If you are looking for a meal, I would stick with comfort foods and traditional pub fare like bangers and mash or shepherd’s pie.  Both have a nice sweetness to pair with – and a nice earthy spice note to level out – the sweetness of Winter Ale.

For Sorachi Ace I would keep the fare light rather than robust.  The lemongrass notes of the Sorachi Ace hop lends itself perfectly to Thai food, especially curries. Or, if you feel so inclined (and trust me, you do), steam your shellfish in Sorachi Ace as a replacement instead of white wine!

Rob AAB3

How long does it take to perfect a recipe? What’s the process of recipe testing like? – Alex B, Pennsylvania

Recipes evolve to account for seasonal changes in environment, brewing processes, and ingredients so they are never quite “perfect”. Getting close is something that can take a couple of weeks to a couple of months. For the “couple of weeks” scenario, it’s typically a beer style we’re familiar with, have made before, and would just like to tweak slightly.  We can typically nail it on the first try, and it’s only a weeks-long process because that’s how long it takes to make beer!  If we are trying a new style or changing an old recipe drastically, the new recipe can take months to develop. We constantly perform sensory analysis on the beer to discover if the flavors and aromas are what we hoped for.

What’s the temperature you usually dry hop at? Does hopping happen during the final fermentation? How long are the hops in contact with the beer? – Eduardo S, Brazil

There is much debate about dry-hopping these days. We’ve taken our combined wealth of knowledge as brewers as well as published materials and decided on 60 degrees Fahrenheit for our dry-hopping.  At this temperature, you extract the aromatic oils but don’t leech out too much of the grassy, chlorophyll vegetal aromas that we don’t like.  Dry-hopping should occur after fermentation has completed and yeast has been removed.  Yeast cell walls will adsorb the aromatic oils from the hops that we want in the beer, so you want most of the yeast gone by the time you add hops.  We leave the hops in contact with the beer for 5 days – long enough to get what we’re looking for, but not so long that we start getting those grassy notes.

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photo courtesy of Brett Casper

 

  • Paul Crooks

    We’re looking for beers that are made without GMO’s, coloring, corn syrup, etc. Does Brooklyn Brewery have their ingredients available for review by the public?

    • Paul Crooks

      The reason I ask is because we have just learned that one of our favorite beers, Newcastle Brown Ale, contains caramel coloring! Now we come to find one of our local’s is carrying Brooklyn’s Brown Ale. I’d like to be able to recommend it to my brown ale loving friends. Thanks for feedback on this inquiry.

  • Dominic

    Hi, is the Soriachi Ace still available in the big bottles? I heard the big bottles have been discontinued. Thanks, DB

    • Tim Rozmus

      Sorachi Ace is available on draft and in 12oz and big bottles alike.

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