Firestone Walker Brewing Company: Double Barrel Ale clone

Firestone Walker Brewing Company: Double Barrel Ale clone

(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.051   FG = 1.013
IBU = 33   SRM = 13   ABV = 5%

5 lbs. (2.27 kg) US 2-row pale malt
5 lbs. (2.27 kg) British pale ale malt
12 oz. (0.33 kg) Munich malt (10 °L)
10 oz. (0.29 kg) crystal malt (80 °L)
3.5 oz. (99 g) crystal malt (120 °L)
1.5 oz. (43 g) chocolate malt (350 °L)
3.5 AAU Magnum hops (60 min.) (0.25 oz./7 g at 14% alpha acids)
5 AAU East Kent Golding hops (30 min.) (1 oz./28 g at 5% alpha acids)
2.5 AAU East Kent Golding hops (0 min.)
(0.5 oz./14 g at 5% alpha acids)
2.3 AAU Styrian Golding hops (0 min.) (0.5 oz./14 g at 4.6% alpha acids)
1 oz. (28 g) East Kent Golding hops (dry hop)
1 oz. (28 g) medium toast American oak cubes (in primary fermenter)
1⁄2 Whirlfloc® tablet
White Labs WLP013 (London Ale) or Wyeast 1028 (London Ale) or Lallemand Nottingham yeast
3⁄4 cup (150 g) dextrose (if priming)

Step by Step
This is a multi-step infusion mash. Mix the crushed grains with 3.5 gallons (13 L) of water to stabilize the mash at 145 °F (66 °C) and hold for 60 minutes. Raise temperature of mash to 155 °F (68 °C) and hold for 15 minutes. Raise the mash to 168 °F (76 °C) and begin to lauter. Collect 6.5 gallons (24.6 L) of wort to begin your 60 minute boil. Add hops per the schedule in the ingredients list, adding the final hop addition just after turning off the heat. At the end of the boil, you should have 5.5 gallons (21 L) in your kettle. After the boil, give your wort a stir to create a whirlpool, then let the wort settle for 30 minutes prior to chilling. Cool your wort to 66 °F (20 °C) for fermenting, aerate well, then pitch your yeast along with the oak cubes. After seven days, rack the beer into a secondary vessel, then add the dry hops and wait 3–4 days. Bottle or keg as usual.

Extract with grains option:
Substitute the 2-row pale malt, British pale malt, and Munich malt in the all-grain recipe with 2.5 lbs. (1.13 kg) extra light dried malt extract and 3.3 lbs. (1.5 kg) Maris Otter liquid malt extract. Place crushed grains in a muslin bag. Begin heating 2 gallons (7.6 L) of water. Place the grain bag in the water when the temperature hits 160 °F (71 °C) and hold for 20 minutes. Remove the grain bag and wash with 2 qts. (2 L) of hot water. If your kettle can hold the water, top off to 6.5 gallons (24.6 L) and add all the malt extract. If your kettle can only do a partial boil, then add the liquid malt extract during the final 15 minutes of the boil. Total boil time is 60 minutes. Follow the remaining portion of the all-grain recipe

Tips for Success:
The team at Firestone Walker Brewing Co. created one of the only, if not the only, union brewing method in the United States. Inspired by the Burton union systems made popular by the breweries in Burton-Upon-Trent, Firestone Walker Brewing Co. dubbed their barrel union the “Firestone Union.” Using 60-gallon (227-L) American oak barrels, 20% of Double Barrel Ale is barrel-fermented for 6 days in these barrels before being blended back into the main batch. The remaining 80% is fermented in stainless conicals. This system makes it nearly impossible to duplicate the Firestone Union process at home. Instead homebrewers can opt to add 1 oz. (28 g) of American oak cubes in primary fermentation to simulate the barrel fermentation profile. Unfortunately for most of us, the only place to try Double Barrel Ale in its unblended, 100% barrel fermented state is at their brewery in Paso Robles or their Taproom Restaurant in Buellton. But that taste (and the rest of Firestone Walker’s stellar lineup of beers) is certainly worth a pilgrimage!

Matt Brynildson is known for dry hopping his beers prior to the termination of primary fermentation to try to take advantage of biotransformations, which hop oils can undergo in the presence of yeast. The goal is to add the hops with just a few gravity points left in fermentation. Also be aware of “beer volcanoes” as the hops can create a nucleation point to release dissolved CO2, creating a volcano effect on the beer, which can lead to a significant amount of beer loss and a giant mess. If you do go ahead with this form of dry hopping, be aware of this potential downfall.

Issue: September 2015

Double Barrel Ale utilizes the Firestone Union system, which will be very difficult to duplicate at home. But here is our best attempt at getting a Double Barrel Ale clone.