Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Janet's Brown: A Classic Recipe

Mike "Tasty" McDole
There are some classic homebrew recipes out there that have carved a name for themselves in the community over time.  Their prowess is passed on by word-of-mouth (or click-of-mouse) and they represent both a legacy of innovation and a snapshot of past moments in homebrewing's evolution.  Two examples that come to mind are Dave Brockington's Sister Star of the Sun IPA and Charlie Papazian's Goat Scrotum Porter.  Many people have brewed them and they have gained notoriety and/or cache in the process.  They have staying power because they are groundbreaking.  Both recipes above have been around for decades.  While I haven't brewed Goat Scrotum Porter, I made my own version of Sister Star of the Sun, and it's not hard to see why homebrewers consider it special.  How many times has this beer been brewed? Thousands upon thousands of times, I would imagine.

I'd like to add Mike "Tasty" McDole's Janet's Brown Ale to the list of classic recipes.  It's a hoppy version of an American Brown Ale, and it features some classic American hops in Northern Brewer, Centennial and Cascade.  With an ABV above 7%, it falls into the fictional style category: Imperial Brown Ale.  I first tried this beer in homebrew form as made by Lewy in 2011.  It's smooth and nutty, with a slight creaminess to it that belies its ABV.  The color is a complex 28 - 30 SRM and the hops make themselves known in both the aroma and taste.  At NHC 2011 in San Diego I had a chance to talk with Tasty and he explained some of his thoughts about the recipe, most notably his attempt to keep the different flavors in balance.  I think he did an excellent job formulating his hop additions, and that it's the way that the hops combine that sets Janet's apart from imitators.  In 2012 I had a chance to try Janet's on tap as interpreted by Vinnie Cilurzo.  On a trip to the Bay Area, I stopped by Russian River and had a glass of Janet's that was one of the better beers I've tasted in a long while.

I brewed Lewy's version (#5) of Janet's Brown Ale earlier this month and have since started to condition it.  All signs point to it being a great (maybe even classic) beer.

1 comment:

  1. You know I love this beer. I'm on my 9th batch of it. I've always felt that the beer really hits it mark around the 2 month period. When the hops and the malt really blend together.


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