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BIAB mash
BIAB mash

Brewing a Kitchen Sink beer

Selection of grains
Selection of grains

Most of the beers that I brew are usually to style using the BJCP guidelines and based on recipes produced by prominent authors in the homebrew industry or winning entries from the National Homebrew Competition.

It is commonly expressed by homebrewers, bloggers, and producers of beer-related podcasts that throwing a lot of different grains and hops at a beer, or Kitchen Sink beer as it is frequently referred, is a bad idea… so I thought I would give it a go!

The main thinking behind this experiment was to use up some ‘odds & ends’ of ingredients that I had left over from various recipes and basically see what happened for myself.

Recipe formulation

HopShot & pellet hops
HopShot & pellet hops

Rather than just throwing any ingredients into the recipe I did have an idea on what I was aiming for and style wise it was an English Old Ale so this did somewhat influence my choice of ingredients and also the level of bitterness and alcohol content that I was targeting.

Here are the statistics of an Old Ale (style 17B) which is within the Strong British Ale category of the BJCP 2015 Style Guidelines:

  • OG: 1.055 – 1.088
  • FG: 1.015 – 1.022
  • ABV: 5.5 – 9.0%
  • IBUs: 30 – 60
  • SRM: 10 – 22
Yeast ready to pitch
Yeast ready to pitch

Using the BeerSmith app I added a variety of grains and hops that I believed would contribute positively to this style whilst also using up remnants plus keep the statistics within the above ranges.

Here is the final recipe used:

  • 8.0 oz Rice hulls
  • 7.0 Lbs Maris Otter malt
  • 14 oz Patagonia Pale malt
  • 9 oz Borlander Munich malt
  • 4 oz Aromatic malt
  • 4 oz US 2-row Pale malt
  • 4 oz Torrified Wheat
  • 3 oz Amber malt
  • 2 oz Chocolate malt
  • 1.6 oz Flaked Barley
  • 1.6 oz Flaked Oats
  • 1.4 oz Vienna malt
  • 1 oz Black malt
  • 1 oz Cara-Pils
  • 1 oz Stout malt
  • 1 oz Chocolate Wheat malt
  • 0.5 oz Crystal 60L malt
  • 0.3 oz Caramunich malt
  • 4.5 Lbs Pale Liquid Extract
  • 12 oz Corn Sugar
  • 1 oz HopShot (bittering – 60 mins)
  • 0.25 oz Horizon hops (bittering – 60 mins)
  • 0.1 oz Chinook hops (bittering – 60 mins)
  • 0.1 oz Magnum hops (bittering – 60 mins)
  • 0.25 oz Challenger hops (flavoring – 15 mins)
  • 0.15 oz Mt Hood hops (flavoring – 15 mins)
  • 0.25 oz Liberty hops (aroma – 5 mins)
  • 0.1 oz Styrian Goldings hops (aroma – 5 mins)
  • American Ale (Wyeast 1056) yeast

Process & results

Carboy of wort
Carboy of wort

The process used was as follows:

  • Mash @ 152 deg F for 75 mins
  • Mash pH 5.4
  • Boil for 60 mins
  • Ferment @ 68 deg F in primary for 2 weeks
  • Add 1 oz of American medium toasted oak chips soaked in 3 oz Bourbon for 1 week in secondary*
  • Force carbonated to 2.5 volumes of CO2

* when the beer was tasted after fermentation was complete it tasted like a cross between an English Brown Ale and an English Old Ale so I bourbon-oaked it to make it taste like a wood-aged Old Ale.

The final statistics of this beer were as follows:

  • OG: 1.071
  • FG: 1.015
  • ABV: 7.4%
  • IBUs: 42**
  • SRM: 16**

** as estimated by BeerSmith

Taster sample of Kitchen Sink beer
Taster sample of Kitchen Sink beer

All the above statistics were nicely within range and the beer tasted as follows:

Hazy amber in color that cleared after slight warming with a cream head that dissipated slowly. A fruity and bourbon aroma. Flavor is fruity and oaky with a vanilla finish. Medium carbonation with a medium body.

For my first Kitchen Sink beer I have to say that I am ecstatic with the results, in my opinion this is like a lighter version of Founders Curmudgeon. I would most definitely brew it again!

If you have any comments or questions about this article, please place them below.

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