How to brew Maple Brown Ale

Brown ales are an often forgotten and underrated style. they can have a rich malt backbone and to use they’re a perfect beer for a cool fall day. And to bring home those fall flavors were going to be adding in real maple syrup. As well as testing some other techniques to incorporate that smokey sweetness.

For more fall flavors try to make this easy How to brew Dry Irish Stout Easy Guide.

The Recipe

A glass of brown ale surrounded by fallen yellow leaves.
Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KmRg0wOuDY

For this recipe, we are making a 5-gallon batch using the brew in a bag method. To start heat up 6 gallons of water to 160 F. Once the water is heated up we add the grain bag and the grains.

  • 78.4% Maris Otter
  • 7.8% Victory Malt
  • 3.9% Crystal Malt 60 L
  • 3.9% Chocolate Malt
  • 5.9% Maple Syrup at the end of the boil

For the brew in a bag method, you can mill your grains much finer since you don’t have to worry about getting a stuck mash. We plan to mash at 152 F for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes we heat up 2 gallons of water to 170 F. This hot water is for rinsing our grains. The added sparge water will increase our extraction but will also increase the total wort volume and lower our current specific gravity.

Once the sparge water is added we bring the wort to a boil for 30 minutes. At the start of the boil, we add 0.5 oz of Magnum hops for clean bitterness. Then at the 15 minutes mark, we add 0.5 oz Willamette hops. Were not looking for a ton of flavor from these hops, just mainly bitterness.

Adding flavors to beers

A glass of and a bottle of brown ale themed with Games of Thrones show.
Credit: https://www.brewbound.com/news/brewery-ommegang-hbo-to-release-my-watch-has-ended-imperial-brown-ale/

Also at the 15-minute mark, we add a wort chiller. When the 30 minutes is up we turn off the heat and add 12 oz of maple syrup. Since maple syrup is a sugar most of the flavor will be gone by the time yeast has eaten through it. Our thought by adding it here at the end of the boil will get more flavor and aroma.

Now we turn on the wort chiller and cool it down to 65 F. When the wort is cooled we transfer it into a fermenter. For this beer, we are using AafAle US-05 American Ale yeast. We put an airlock on and let this ferment at 65 F for 7 days.

There are other ways to add maple flavor. Ingredients often used to mimic maple flavor in pancake syrups or other maple products is something called Fenugreek. It often comes in a seed form and it’s used in Indian cuisine. The best way to extract flavor out of spices or other adjuncts that will be added post-fermentation is to make a tincture.

We transferred the beer to a keg. After a few days, it was ready to drink. Immediately after the keg, we get a whiff of roast, sweet, smokey flavor. The color is deep brown from that chocolate malt we used. There is a decent amount of bitterness there which balances up the sweetness we got from our malts.

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