Cloning Maduro Brown

Tomorrow I’m taking a second stab at cloning Cigar City’s Maduro brown ale. There isn’t a whole lot of guessing involved with this, since Cigar City shared the basic recipe when someone asked. You can find discussion about it on Reddit. So for me, getting this right comes down to process and minor tweaks to the recipe at homebrew (5 gallon) scale.

This is what I’m brewing tomorrow:

9.25 lbs. Maris Otter
1.75 lbs. caramel 60L
1 lb. flaked oats
1 lb. Victory malt
0.75 lbs. brown malt
0.5 lbs. chocolate malt
1 oz. East Kent Goldings (6% AA) for 60 minutes (18 IBUs)
1 oz. Fuggle (4.2% AA) for 15 minutes (6 IBUs)
White Labs WLP002 English Ale yeast

Download the BeerXML Recipe

Mash in with 4.5 gallons of water for 45 minutes at 156°F. Batch sparge with 1 gallon, then 3.75 gallons at 168°F. Boil for 60 minutes, adding the hops as above. Chill, transfer to the fermenter, oxygenate, pitch yeast, etc.

The last time I tried, the amounts were a little more awkward, because I tried to follow the percentage breakdown more closely. I missed my numbers enough that I ended up with a 4.3% ABV beer, instead of the 5.5% predicted by BeerSmith. I’ve rounded the amounts and the prediction for tomorrow’s recipe is closer to 5.8%. The previous batch was a little thin and had a small, but detectable, off-flavor.

I’ll update tomorrow with notes and numbers.

Update Nov. 4:

O.G. 1.058 (BeerSmith estimated 1.068)
5.5 gallons into fermenter (estimated 5.0)

It occurred to me as the fermenter was filling past 5.0 gallons with wort still in the kettle that I need to revisit my equipment profile in BeerSmith. One thing I changed a few months ago was to replace a bazooka filter in the bottom of the kettle with a dip tube. Theoretically, this lets me get more clear wort, but it also saves me the work of cleaning out the filter screen. I’m guessing I need to change up some of the “loss” numbers. Less water volume means I get a bit closer to the estimated original gravity, although my mash efficiency still isn’t great.

Speaking of the mash: sparging continues to be my biggest process time sink. I was probably at it for an hour.

Update Nov. 16:

I took a couple of gravity readings this week and hit FG at 1.020. It went into a keg and will force carbonate at 35 PSI until tomorrow evening, when I’ll reduce it to serving pressure.

Update some weeks later:

I was very happy with this recipe. A friend had a couple of cans of the real Maduro and we did a side-by-side tasting. The differences were very minor and hard to pick out.