Flying-By-The-Seat-Of-Our-Pants Dry Brown Ale

While often we try to produce a certain type of beer, immitating a certain style, or build a beer with a particular concept in mind, sometimes, raw experimentation and whimsy can lead to a decent brew. Making sure your beer fits the style guide, having just the right amount of CO2, final gravity, etc., is fun and a challenge (artists learn to immitate the greats before they go off and do their own thing), but the most important thing about brewing beer, that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle is this: Beer is for drinking. You don’t need to stress about having just the right grain bill, or just the right length of boil, etc. Just go out there and brew something.

That’s the methodology in this beer. With no idea for what to brew, I happened to be driving by Adventures in Homebrewing, where we generally buy our supplies, and, since it’s normally 45 minutes away from where we live, I thought that I should swing by and pick something up. While many of our beers have had a focus on unique or interesting flavor profiles, I set out on this beer with more of a focus on the aroma, and this is what I threw together.


  • 6lbs 2 Row Malt
  • 2lb Belgian Aromatic Malt
  • 1lb Flaked Rye
  • 1lb Victory Malt
  • .5lb 40L Crystal

75 minute, mash at about 165ºF


  • 2/3oz Kent Goldings at 60 minutes


  • White Labs WLPoo8 East Coast Ale Yeast
  • 4/3 oz Kent Goldings Dry Hop

Fermentation really took off on this beer. While the spewing CO2 wasn’t quite to the level of the Barley Wine, the WLP008 rapidly took the beer down from an OG of ~1.052 to our FG of 1.002, which was pretty impressive, considering the attentuation should be around 70-75%

The East Coast Ale yeast has a neutral character that wouldn’t get in the way of the other ingredients allowing us to get a better sense of how each part of the grain bill came out in the nose.

Tasting Notes

This beer is kind of weird, but certainly not in a bad way. When I think of a brown ale, a malty sweetness along with a full body usually comes to mind. With this beer, almost all the sweetness is in the aroma, where it is very forceful. The taste of the beer itself is quite dry with a decent malt backbone. There are some hops, but those too come out mainly in the nose. At about 5.4% ABV, this is, for us, a nice session ale that can provide a bit of refreshment after a couple pints of our chili pepper beer.

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