Firestone Walker's Double Barrel Ale

>> Sunday, January 16, 2011

My in-laws got me a gift certificate to More Beer for Christmas. In addition to several gadgets, I ordered Firestone Walker's Double Barrel Ale kit which is part of their Brewmaster's Series. I searched the Internet a bit and used a mash schedule of 145 for 60 minutes followed by a step at 155 for 15 minutes which is supposed to be based on the same schedule used by Firestone Walker. This brew is aged on oak chips to simulate the aging in oak barrels that the commercial brew goes through. I've been wanting to try an oaked beer for a while now. Below is the recipe:

6.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) UK
4.00 lb Pale Malt, Maris Otter
0.63 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 75L
0.38 lb Munich Malt
0.13 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L
0.13 lb Chocolate Malt, Pale
1.00 oz Williamette (60 min)
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent (5 min)
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent (1 min)
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent Dry Hop
2.00 oz Oak Chips (Primary 4.0 days)
1.00 oz Oak Chips (Secondary 12.0 days)
1.00 items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 min)
1 Pkgs British Ale (White Labs #WLP005) - 1 liter starter made made 4 days in advance on stir plate

Brewing notes: I tried whirlpooling again, this time without any screen or filter on the pickup tube and it worked fine. I think this is the method I'll go with in the future as long as I'm not using whole hops. I used stainless steel tea balls to contain the oak chips. These were loaded with the oak and placed in my vegetable steamer for about 15 minutes to sanitize. A lot of people say this isn't necessary but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Tasting notes:  I picked up a commercial bottle and was able to do a side by side tasting with this one.  The commercial version was noticeably maltier than mine.  The color was very close.  The commercial version was much brighter whereas mine was fairly cloudy.  I preferred the maltier commercial version to mine however I'd still describe it as a so-so beer...nothing I'd go out of my way to find a drink again.  I was expecting something similar to Jamil's No Short Measure (Ordinary Bitter) but with some oak character; it definitely paled in comparison.  I'd give this one a C