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Flint Hills Farm House Ale?
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,468
    Need moral support, suggestions, to re-create an old family recipe… Flint Hills Farm House Ale


    So apparently I have a lot of brewers in my ancestry… going back at least to the early 1600s…. I have no idea what any of them made except for my Great Grandfather…. And that is sketchy……

    From the 1880s (or earlier) until the early 1900s he made beer on his farm in the southern Flint Hills of Kansas. Far as I can tell, from the bits and pieces I’ve heard…. He brewed once or twice a year… in big crocks (there were a couple of like 15-gallon ones out in the barn when I was a kid) covered with cheesecloth for fermenters, down in the root cellar. Malted grain in his pole barn, and boiled in a huge big copper kettle. My Grandfather’s oldest brother was the only family member that I was ever able to get to talk about it in any detail, and that was before I started brewing. From all accounts his beer was “kind of darkish, with a reddish tint”, and was the best beer around back then. It was pretty wild around there until 1910 or so. I was told that he paid for his favorite “cartridge rifle” with his beer… (weird European single shot thing in 30-something caliber… only other one like it I’ve seen is cradled in the arm of Annie Oakley in an old photograph).The old boy grew a small plot of Barley for his beer, as well as winter wheat (his main crop). To make his Barley go farther, he malted some wheat also…. I’m thinking he used about 30% or so. He went to great pains to keep from getting a lot of smoke flavor in his malts, but I’ll bet there was a good touch of it…. He used Pecan and some Burr Oak for fuel. From the descriptions, he made some roasted barley, and what had to be a dark crystal malt (made no sense to me at the time, but looking back it had to be, he soaked it in hot water for a while before roasting dry).
    He grew a few hops…. Variety unknown…. That “struggled” in the climate. (and were gone long before I came along). They would not have been available there that early, so they had to have been brought with them when they moved west. The family started out in Massachusetts in the 1600s (between 1620 and 1642), and lived in Indiana (from sometime after 1807 to between 1867 and the mid 1870s) before heading to KS…. So they could either be wild or something like Cluster hops? from Indiana, or English Hops that were brought along from Mass. The family showed up at The Plymouth Colony about the same time that Hops first came over…. … the first commercial cultivation of Hops in North America (no connection that I know of, but cool anyway). I would think that Cluster or wild hops would thrive there, but English hops would suffer in the heat. Best I know he only used bittering Hops. I was told that he put a little chicory in there too….. late in the boil?
    No idea what he used for yeast….. But…. There was an “applesauce apple” tree near the house that the old boy was “very protective” of, and always allowed a few apples to fall, and would whip anybody that dared to pick them up…. Was he “cultivating” yeast????? (that tree was still there as late as the 1970s, and made the best dang applesauce on earth…. No idea what the variety was, they were small, yellowish green, and tart as hell…. and were only ever used to make applesauce, I would kill to be able to make Cider from them).
    I’m thinking that his beer was an evolution of something passed on for generations…. That branch of my family were Scots from Aberdeenshire that ended up in Northern England (Barnstable) around the mid 1500’s, before they came over here. Anyway, sad, that the Beer, like so many other things, was lost with the coming of the “modern age”…..

    So, from what little I know…. I’m thinking something like a Brown Ale in color, with a reddish cast from a small amount of roasted barley. Base malt would not have been too pale, kilning would have been very crude. With a touch of Pecan/Oak smoke, low on hops (bittering addition only)…. and a bit of chicory. Gravity shouldn’t be too high, but since it was “pretty potent stuff” (compared to BMC), maybe 1.055 to 1.060 or so (I’ll shoot for the high end of this)…. Probably would not have had real high attenuation…. Low carbonation. (I think I just wrote the style guidelines…. )

    Anyway my thoughts to replicate it are a grain bill of 2-row Barley, with a bit of Crystal 90, a touch of Crystal 20, some roasted barley, and about 30% red wheat malt. I see that AHS is now selling Pecan smoked malt….. (kind of what got me thinking of this….. )

    Hops I’ve been going back and forth between either Cluster or Fuggles…. Since they will only be used for bittering, probably doesn’t matter….. so Fuggles it is.

    Yeast is the hardest decision…… I have even been thinking of using a sweet cider yeast…. (No, I’m not going to consider doing a “wild” beer)…. But will most likely end up using S-04, and ferment on the warm end of the range…

    So, for a tentative stab at a recipe for a 5-gallon batch…….

    5 ½ -pounds 2-Row Barley
    3-pounds Red Wheat Malt
    0.5-pounds Crystal malt 90
    1-pound Pecan Smoked Malt
    0.25-pounds Crystal 20
    0.25-pounds Black Roasted Barley

    This would put my O.G. at 1.058 and an SRM of around 19.
    I’ll keep the IBU around 30….
    Figure mash at 156…..

    No idea how to handle the chicory…… but figure 2-oz (?) or so of the roots, roasted in the oven, and added with 15-min. left in the boil….. ??????????? or should I steep it in boiling water, cool, and add late in fermentation??????????? Kind of leaning towards the later….

    Reality check????? Suggestions?????


    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,628
    This is so far out of my realm of brewing knowledge I can be useful for little advice. But moral support... I think It's fantastic. It's amazing that you were able to get this much information about you family history.
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,417
    Being from Aberdeenshire, I'm think this beer could be a Scotch Ale.
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,468

    This is so far out of my realm of brewing knowledge I can be useful for little advice. But moral support... I think It's fantastic. It's amazing that you were able to get this much information about you family history.



    I'm lucky..... I have an aunt that became obsessed with the geneology stuff..... she has traced my mom's line back to the early 1500s........
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,468
    jlw said:

    Being from Aberdeenshire, I'm think this beer could be a Scotch Ale.



    I would guess it started out as one.... and evolved here in North America over a few generations...
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,417
    I'm very fascinitaed with re-creating these old brews. Probably why one of my favorite beers I have created and made is my George Washington Porter.
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,468
    jlw said:

    I'm very fascinitaed with re-creating these old brews. Probably why one of my favorite beers I have created and made is my George Washington Porter.


    Historical brews are a blast ....... you should post your Porter recipe ...
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,417
    ceannt said:

    jlw said:

    I'm very fascinitaed with re-creating these old brews. Probably why one of my favorite beers I have created and made is my George Washington Porter.


    Historical brews are a blast ....... you should post your Porter recipe ...


    It's here somewhere. I'll find it and repost
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,468
    Cool
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,468
    Oh.... did a little digging ..... the old boys rifle was a Flobert ... made in Belgium
    They came in .32 rimfire .....
    Paid for with homebrew .....
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • JerryJerry
    Posts: 75,496 Accepted Answer
    Sounds like your equipment is all wrong... If he was using a direct fire mash tun, rather than a plastic cooler you'll have some noticeable difference there. Home malting is also quite the project, where things rarely go as well as it would in a malt house. To make it more authentic adding some unmalted barley may be fitting (4-10%). Now home made crystal, there is nothing like it available. If you really don't want to make it (it isn't hard to make) you should mix every kind of crystal you can get 20L up to 150L. I mean it's a carp shoot, so you might as well make your own... it makes it easier to pick what to use.
    And yeast is also a shot in the dark... The apples may be unrelated, and he just made some cider on the side (and didn't tell you damn kids about it). One thing I can say, it's unlikely it was a true strain like we all use. Pitching a pack of a few things may get you closer. Yeast blends that you would get wild are different though. Any yeast used for brewing has some alcohol tolerance, many of the wild one's have little, so they only work for the first day or so. This all adds up to normal attenuation. So you should start harvesting wild yeast.

    So basically, your first step in brewing should be to plant some wheat and barley.... oh was is a summer or winter barley? I always think of barley just being a winter crop, but if I recall there are summer kinds too.
    "Again?"
    CurlyFat's 60,000th post
  • JerryJerry
    Posts: 75,496
    I'll be trying to culture some wild yeast off apples when the apple's come in... so if that works out i'd be happy to send you a sample (that's a big "if" in there).
    "Again?"
    CurlyFat's 60,000th post
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,468

    Sounds like your equipment is all wrong... If he was using a direct fire mash tun, rather than a plastic cooler you'll have some noticeable difference there. Home malting is also quite the project, where things rarely go as well as it would in a malt house. To make it more authentic adding some unmalted barley may be fitting (4-10%). Now home made crystal, there is nothing like it available. If you really don't want to make it (it isn't hard to make) you should mix every kind of crystal you can get 20L up to 150L. I mean it's a carp shoot, so you might as well make your own... it makes it easier to pick what to use.
    And yeast is also a shot in the dark... The apples may be unrelated, and he just made some cider on the side (and didn't tell you damn kids about it). One thing I can say, it's unlikely it was a true strain like we all use. Pitching a pack of a few things may get you closer. Yeast blends that you would get wild are different though. Any yeast used for brewing has some alcohol tolerance, many of the wild one's have little, so they only work for the first day or so. This all adds up to normal attenuation. So you should start harvesting wild yeast.

    So basically, your first step in brewing should be to plant some wheat and barley.... oh was is a summer or winter barley? I always think of barley just being a winter crop, but if I recall there are summer kinds too.



    I was actually thinking of adding some flaked Barley..... good call on the un-malted ....
    I know nothing about what he used as a mash tun.... he brewed in late summer, so he may have just used a barrel or something... heat loss would not have been much of an issue....
    Barley would have been a winter variety...
    I have always wanted to make my own crystal.... and other toasted/roasted grains..... I really need to get a mill.......

    obviously a lot of speculation here on my part.... what I end up with may be nothing like the original.... (and I would never know the difference....)
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • JerryJerry
    Posts: 75,496
    I should do a write up on cooking crystal... what I say? It's not hard at all, and makes your house smell great. It takes some time, but you don't really need to do much, just be around and check it now and then.
    "Again?"
    CurlyFat's 60,000th post
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,628

    I should do a write up on cooking crystal... what I say? It's not hard at all, and makes your house smell great. It takes some time, but you don't really need to do much, just be around and check it now and then.


    Do it. I would like to try it.
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • FuzzyFuzzy
    Posts: 46,877
    "Oh, you were serious? I was drunk."-C_B
  • FuzzyFuzzy
    Posts: 46,877
    and for the lazy folks that don't click links:

    For Crystal/Caramel Malt soak 1-2 lbs of pale 2 row in just enough water to cover plus about an inch (make sure you use distilled, filtered tap, or spring water). Let soak for a few hours, but no less than 2 hours and no more than 24, I soak for 3 hours. Then Put grains into a pan and keep grains about 2″ deep then place into a preheated 180 degree oven (make sure you have a probe thermometer in the oven and not to let the temps inside the stewing grain to go above 160. If they do reduce your ovens temperature) for 1 1/2 hours. Then spread out grain into 2 separate pans and make sure the grains are no more than 1″ deep. Then increase temperature in over to 250 and let bake for 2 hours or until dry. Then if desired remove from oven for light crystal, or use the roasting guide above to create your own darker versions of crystal malt. Personally I like the 350 degrees for 45 minutes for a sweet roasty crystal malt. Experiment with 1lb batches and see what you like. I find that 1.5lbs is perfect, 2lbs seems to take way to long to dry. To minimize any foul flavors, use distilled or filtered water. EDIT: I would like to add that based on some recent experiments, I am having much better results by Soaking my grain for 3 hours in filtered water, then transferring that grain and water to pot and bringing the temperature up to 154 degrees. Then let it rest at 154 for an hour (applying heat as needed if it dips below 149 degrees). Then Bring the grain up to a solid boil, then drain the water. Lay the grain in a thin layer and dry in the oven at 260 degrees. Then roast to desired color. This has been working much better than mashing in the oven. Pics will come in my 3rd installment on home roasting coming soon. I just wanted to post this prior to compiling my 3rd post on the topic.
    You can also do what I call Sudo-Caramel malts. To do these you just wet the grain a bit to change the flavor and aroma profile and add a bit of sweetness to the grain. You will not get as much sweetness as if you do a full caramel malt process above, but you will make a great grain for both all grain and steeping grain for extract. Generally what you are going to do is soak the grain for under an hour, I find a half hour works well to impart a bit of wetness to the grain. You can use the same temperatures above to produce similar grains but add a touch of sweetness.
    "Oh, you were serious? I was drunk."-C_B
  • JerryJerry
    Posts: 75,496
    I think that's the same write up I read before I made my own. I do things a little differently than that now, but only a little different.
    I now do the mash in a cast iron enamel Dutch oven. Keeps the temps better, and nothing drys out. It's difficult to get it to the right temp, but once it's there...
    Also I roast it at a much lower temp for greater control.
    "Again?"
    CurlyFat's 60,000th post
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,628

    and for the lazy folks that don't click links:

    For Crystal/Caramel Malt soak 1-2 lbs of pale 2 row in just enough water to cover plus about an inch (make sure you use distilled, filtered tap, or spring water). Let soak for a few hours, but no less than 2 hours and no more than 24, I soak for 3 hours. Then Put grains into a pan and keep grains about 2″ deep then place into a preheated 180 degree oven (make sure you have a probe thermometer in the oven and not to let the temps inside the stewing grain to go above 160. If they do reduce your ovens temperature) for 1 1/2 hours. Then spread out grain into 2 separate pans and make sure the grains are no more than 1″ deep. Then increase temperature in over to 250 and let bake for 2 hours or until dry. Then if desired remove from oven for light crystal, or use the roasting guide above to create your own darker versions of crystal malt. Personally I like the 350 degrees for 45 minutes for a sweet roasty crystal malt. Experiment with 1lb batches and see what you like. I find that 1.5lbs is perfect, 2lbs seems to take way to long to dry. To minimize any foul flavors, use distilled or filtered water. EDIT: I would like to add that based on some recent experiments, I am having much better results by Soaking my grain for 3 hours in filtered water, then transferring that grain and water to pot and bringing the temperature up to 154 degrees. Then let it rest at 154 for an hour (applying heat as needed if it dips below 149 degrees). Then Bring the grain up to a solid boil, then drain the water. Lay the grain in a thin layer and dry in the oven at 260 degrees. Then roast to desired color. This has been working much better than mashing in the oven. Pics will come in my 3rd installment on home roasting coming soon. I just wanted to post this prior to compiling my 3rd post on the topic.
    You can also do what I call Sudo-Caramel malts. To do these you just wet the grain a bit to change the flavor and aroma profile and add a bit of sweetness to the grain. You will not get as much sweetness as if you do a full caramel malt process above, but you will make a great grain for both all grain and steeping grain for extract. Generally what you are going to do is soak the grain for under an hour, I find a half hour works well to impart a bit of wetness to the grain. You can use the same temperatures above to produce similar grains but add a touch of sweetness.


    I really thought there would be more to it than that. That seems really doable.
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • FuzzyFuzzy
    Posts: 46,877
    it's a bit time consuming, but it's pretty easy and it really does produce a depth of flavor that's just not available in commercial malts.
    "Oh, you were serious? I was drunk."-C_B
  • JerryJerry
    Posts: 75,496

    it's a bit time consuming, but it's pretty easy and it really does produce a depth of flavor that's just not available in commercial malts.



    I'm not going to say its better than commercial malt, but it is crystal and Works as such. Its much less consistant than commercial which oFten works well
    "Again?"
    CurlyFat's 60,000th post
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,468
    Ingredients should get to me tomorrow ....
    Too bad I can't brew this weekend
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,468
    Have to use commercial crystal this go round ....
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 77,628
    ceannt said:

    Have to use commercial crystal this go round ....


    That just gives you an excuse to brew it again.
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,468
    SeaBee said:

    ceannt said:

    Have to use commercial crystal this go round ....


    That just gives you an excuse to brew it again.


    Yep..... but only if its good ...
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • JerryJerry
    Posts: 75,496
    ceannt said:

    SeaBee said:

    ceannt said:

    Have to use commercial crystal this go round ....


    That just gives you an excuse to brew it again.


    Yep..... but only if its good ...

    Well if it's not good it just needs changes, big ones. You can still call it the same thing....
    "Again?"
    CurlyFat's 60,000th post