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Sweet Potato Brown Ale

Written By Culinary Pen on Sunday, March 6, 2011 | 6:09:00 AM

This isn't the most appetizing photo I've ever posted on my blog, but let me explain. What you're seeing here is the bottom of my fermenting bucket after I've siphoned off the beer. What's left behind is called the trub, which is spent yeast, hop sediment, etc. But the stuff that looks like pulled pork is what makes this beer unique.

My brother Steve is having a wedding celebration this summer and I wanted to brew a beer for the occasion. His wife, Youngjoo, is from Korea. I wanted to add something from Korea culture to the beer, while following a basic style they like (hoppy brown ales). Soju is a popular distilled alcohol in Korea, which is made from sweet potatoes. In October all the homebrew shops feature "pumpkin ale" recipes, so why not a sweet potato? That's what you're seeing at the bottom of the bucket right now.

To add the sweet potatoes, I baked two large sweet potatoes at 425 F for an hour. These were peeled straight from the oven, then added in the last 15 minutes of the boil. My goal is to get a medium-bodied, reddish-brown ale with some sweetness and a spicy, hoppy finish. I'm using Wyeast British Cask Ale to ferment. Here's the grain bill:

6lbs NB Amber Malt Extract
8 oz Caramel Briess 90L
8 oz Carared
4 oz Warminster Maris Otter
4 oz Weyermann Cararoma
4 oz Torrified Wheat (to help with head retention)

1 oz Palisade Hops (60 min)
0.5 oz Kent Golding (15 min)
0.5 oz Fuggles Hops (15 min)
0.5 oz Kent Golding (5 min)
0.5 oz Fuggles Hops (5 min)

We'll see how it goes when I bottle in a week! With a little tweaking based on Steve and Youngjoo's feedback, this may be what I brew later this summer for the actual wedding.
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4 comments :

Matt F said...

Was the Maris Otter used to help convert the wheat? The cara malts can just be steeped without the base malt.

One thing that might be worth trying is a little mini-mash with like 2lbs of base malt and a couple baked sweet potatoes. Many pumpkin recipes call for mash and boil pumpkins. It will probably make a mess, but might be worth it if you don't get much flavor from the boil.

Carla said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Culinary Pen said...

Honestly, no. I did all the grains in a mini mash, with the Maris Otter included to add a bit of toasty, biscuity flavor. I thought that would play off the hops better than the cara.

Matt F said...

Most of what I've read says that any base malt needs to be above 20% of the grain bill to add character. Victory or biscuit malt is good at about 10% for a toasty flavor, and special roast works good at even smaller amounts and can be steeped.