|Good thing I had my Albany Brew Crafters hoodie – it was chilly out.|
Back in early September, Craig partnered with Ryan Demler, the brewmaster at Albany Pump Station, to brew an early 20th Century version of Albany Ale - “Amsdell’s 1901 Albany XX Ale.” The recipe was based on files found in the archives at The Albany Institute of History and Art, but not an exact replica since some of the details just weren’t available. In fact, the tapping of the first cask of Albany Ale in over a century will be held at The Albany Institute on November 2. It will then go on tap at the Pump Station and several bars and restaurants throughout the area.
|The Homebrew Emporium’s recipe for DIY Albany Ale|
|Scott prepares his all-grain homebrew|
As you can see, it was a fun and interesting process. Though the directions weren’t exactly clear and straightforward. First of all, the ingredients mistakenly list 2-Row malt when it’s actually 6-Row malt. Secondly, the ingredients call for .25lbs of “invert sugar” (not the same as table sugar or Belgian candi sugar), but the directions say to use 1lb of raw sugar and 3 tablespoons of water. We got confused and thought that meant you had to use one pound of invert sugar per brew, which is what we wound up doing (that’s FOUR TIMES the recommended amount – oops!).
|The “invert sugar” (turbinado sugar melted in water and lemon juice).|
What’s also weird is that you need actual corn syrup in this brew. The recipe calls for .625lbs of it, though it’s much easier to measure when you realize that’s equal to 10oz (good thing I had my food scale). I’ve never used sugar or corn syrup in a homebrew before, so I’m curious to see what affect they have on the final product (I’m thinking this is going to be a very sweet beer).
Since I brewed with liquid malt extract, my wort was dark brown, while Scott’s all-grain was more of a maize hue. My gravity was also higher at 1.066 compared to his 1.052. My wort was quite bitter and gritty whereas his was slightly sweet and cleaner. Our friend Ryan brought us a vial of East Coast Yeast “Old Newark Ale” to use for fermentation, which is probably close to the type of yeast used back in the Albany Ale heyday. Both of our vessels are fermenting in Scott’s temperature-controlled chamber. The starting temperature will be quite low at 60 degrees and it will be slowly raised over time. We’re not planning on doing a secondary fermentation. Scott will be kegging his brew while I’ll be bottling mine. We’re both eager to see how they’ll compare in terms of taste, body, and alcohol.
There will be an Albany Ale homebrew tasting event at the Albany Pump Station on November 10 from 4 to 6pm. I actually wasn’t aware of this event until recently, mostly because the promotional material about it seems to be limited to the store’s newsletter. Had I known about it earlier, I would’ve brewed my own Albany Ale much sooner. I’m not sure if it’ll be ready in time.
|My extract brew boiling.|
MASH (45 minutes @ 130-152 degrees*):
1lb Briess 6-Row malt
2lbs Corn Grits
1oz black patent malt
*the directions didn’t say how long to steep the grains for an extract brew, so we guessed.
BOIL (3.5 gallons @ 60 minutes)
60 minutes 6.6lbs Muntons Marris Otter Light liquid malt extract
30 minutes Irish Moss 1 teaspoon
20 minutes 1lb inverted sugar (melted turbinado sugar)
20 minutes 10oz corn syrup
15 minutes Yeast energizer 1/2 teaspoon
60 minutes 1.5oz Cluster
1 minute .5oz Cluster
East Coast Yeast ECY10 “Old Newark Ale”
5 gallons tap water
NOTE: The ingredients for the extract version cost $44 for the malts, hops and extract, plus another ~$3 for the sugar and corn syrup from the supermarket.