C.H. Evans Brewing Company Kick Ass Brown Ale: Replicator

Dear Replicator, I am fortunate in my line of work to travel around the world and sample some fantastic beers. Recently, I found myself in Albany, N.Y. at the C.H. Evans Brewing Company at the Albany Pump Station. While there I tried their award-winning Kick Ass Brown Ale. To be honest, I am not a fan of brown ales but this was truly exceptional. It was well balanced and just hoppy enough. I would gladly brew more brown ales if I could find a recipe close to their Kick Ass Brown. Any chance you could help me replicate this fantastic beer?
Doug McCabe
Douglas, Massachusetts

It is difficult to find a U.S. brewery with a 225 year history but that is exactly what the C.H. Evans Brewing Company can claim. With Neil Evans at the helm this now represents five generations of the Evans family brewing tradition. The original brewery was started in 1786 in Hudson, New York. The Great American Experiment of Prohibition proved to be too much of a burden and the brewery closed in 1920. In the late 1980s Neil started to develop a plan to revive the brewery and produce the Evans’ beers that had been so loved by the eastern New York locals. As a first step he began homebrewing in 1990.

After acquiring the famous Albany Pump Station in Albany, New York, Evans Brewery officially opened in 1999. Neil had been successful with homebrewing but soon discovered that he would need much more actual brewing science education to brew on a large commercial scale. He was fortunate to find professional brewer George DePiro who stayed on with him until just this May when he left to open his own brewery. George was responsible for re-creating many of the recipes and for development of the Kick Ass Brown Ale. The new brewer, Ryan Demler, began homebrewing in 2003. After working at the Old Saratoga Brewery in Saratoga Springs, New York for two years he became a production brewer at Cameron’s Brewery in Oakville, Ontario before coming home to the Albany area to be C.H. Evans’ sole production brewer.

This brown ale is brewed to fit the American style category. Its deep mahogany color is accented by dark ruby highlights and is topped by a fine light tan head. Munich and Caramunich® malts combine to build a heavier body than its English Brown counterpart. Dry hopping leads to a very hop forward nose. The flavor is well balanced and exhibits medium chocolate and caramel flavors.

C.H. Evans Brewing Company Kick Ass Brown Ale clone

(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)
OG = 1.056 FG = 1.014 IBU = 35 SRM = 14.7 ABV = 5.5%


3.3 lbs. (1.5 kg ) Briess light, unhopped, malt extract
1.5 lbs. (0.68 kg) dried malt extract
2 lb. 6 oz. (1.08 kg) Pilsner malt
10 oz. (0.28 kg) CaraMunich® II malt (50 °L)
7 oz. (0.19 kg) Victory® malt (25 °L)
2 oz. (57 g) Carafa® II malt (425 °L)
9.2 AAU Columbus hop pellets (60 min.)
(0.65 oz./18.4 g of 14.1 % alpha acid)
1.7 AAU Cascade hop pellets ( 10 min.)
(0.3 oz./8.5 g of 5.75 % alpha acid)
1.1 AAU Crystal hop pellets ( 10 min. )
(0.3 oz./8.5 g of 3.6 % alpha acid)
1.7 AAU Cascade hop pellets (0 min.)
(0.3 oz./8.5 g of 5.75 % alpha acid)
1.1 AAU Crystal hop pellets (0 min.)
(0.3 oz./8.5 g of 3.6% alpha acid)
10 AAU Amarillo® hop pellets
(1.0 oz./28 g of 10 % alpha acid) (dry hop)
5.25 AAU centennial hop pellets
(0.5 oz./14 g of 10.5 % alpha acid) (dry hopped)
1⁄2 tsp. yeast nutrient (last 15 minutes of the boil)
1⁄2 tsp. Irish moss (last 30 min.)
White Labs WLP 001 (American Ale) or Wyeast 1056 (American Ale) yeast
0.75 cup (150g) of corn sugar for priming (if bottling)

Step by Step

Steep the crushed grain in 2 gallons (7.6 L) of water at 151 ºF (66 ºC) for 30 minutes. Remove grains from the wort and rinse with 2 quarts (1.8 L) of hot water. Add the liquid and dry malt extracts and boil for 60 minutes. While boiling, add the hops, Irish moss and yeast nutrient as per the schedule.
Now add the wort to 2 gallons (7.6 L) of cold water in the sanitized fermenter and top off with cold water up to 5 gallons (19 L).

Cool the wort to 75 ºF (24 ºC). Pitch your yeast and aerate the wort heavily. Allow the beer to cool to 68 ºF (20 ºC). Hold at that temperature until fermentation is complete. Transfer to a carboy, avoiding any splashing to prevent aerating the beer and add the Amarillo® and Centennial dry hops. Allow the beer to condition for one week, remove the dry hops and then bottle or keg. Allow the beer to carbonate and age for two weeks and enjoy your Kick Ass Brown Ale.

All-grain option:
This is a single step infusion mash using an additional 2 lbs. 6 oz. (1.08 kg) of 2-row pale malt and 6 lbs. (2.72 kg) of Munich malt to replace the liquid and dried malt extracts. Mix the crushed grains with 3.7 gallons (14 L) of 172 °F (78 °C) water to stabilize at 151 ºF (66 ºC) for 60 minutes. Sparge slowly with 175 ºF (79 ºC) water. Collect approximately 6 gallons (23 L) of wort runoff to boil for 60 minutes. Reduce the 60 minute hop addition to 0.55 oz. (16 g) of columbus hop pellets (7.8 AAU) to allow for the higher utilization factor of a full wort boil. The remainder of this recipe and procedures are the same as the extract with grains recipe.

Issue: September 2012