1980s Newcastle Brown Ale

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marshbrewer

Out on the marshes, wailing at the moon.
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I've looking for a Newkie Brown clone recipe, to recreate how it tasted when I started drinking it around 1986.

Ive seen a few, but none of them appear to contain sugar, which I'm convinced the original did, caramel at the very least because they recently removed it from the recipe to satisfy the American paranoia about caramel and cancer. Any ideas?

Pale malt, #3 invert and Fuggles? Or something more commercially viable for mass production like Target?

What do people think?
 
The Dave Line book brewing beers like you buy has a recipe that contains soft dark brown sugar. It also uses Fuggles and the recipe is in old imperial as well so may be one of the older recipes
It was first published in 1978
 
I've had a play with Dave Lines recipe in Brewfather. As he gives set weights for the ingredients and not percentages I've had to mess around with it a bit to match my brewhouse efficiency. Ive messed about a lot with the hop additions as a) he uses a hop extract and b) his additions are crazy for Newkies reported IBU. I suspect hops available to home Brewers in the 70s were a bit pants. I'm also not going to add the saccharin tablets. Just need to find a moment to brew it now!
 
I found an old newkie brown bottle after a farmer had cut back some gorse. Had the lid on and a small amount of beer. The label had gone but the lid was an old black screw on, can't remember what decade that put it in but a fair while back. I got in touch with brewlab to see if they were interested in trying to culture the yeast. They weren't :laugh8:
 
I found an old newkie brown bottle after a farmer had cut back some gorse. Had the lid on and a small amount of beer. The label had gone but the lid was an old black screw on, can't remember what decade that put it in but a fair while back. I got in touch with brewlab to see if they were interested in trying to culture the yeast. They weren't :laugh8:
Does it look like this..
 

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I believe Dave Line resorted to saccharin tablets 'cos the yeasts back then, which was Boot's own more times than not, were extraordinarily aggressive (yes ... I remember them!). I'd dream of having finishing gravities of 1.010. These days it's easy to pick out a yeast that is as "attenuative" (not a word I recall from them days) as you want. Not that I'd find saccharin was an answer back then either.

I wouldn't worry about lack of caramel; the amount must have been minute 'cos newkie brown ain't exactly dark. My preferred "brown ale" is made next door (in Tadcaster, not Newcastle!) by Sam Smith's (not John Smith's pathetic drizzle ... cough, spit) and finding proper caramel ("burnt" sugar) may be essential to the flavour, but Sam Smith's brown ale is quite a different drink (and you do have to ignore the dated name ... "Nut Brown Ale" ... everything was "nut" back then; "nut brown", "sweet as a nut", ... yeuky!).

Ron Pattinson picked out Vaux's "Double Maxim" as comparable to newkie brown? I'd have a look at US recipes too ... the US style of "brown ale" is more attenuated, stronger in alcohol and often paler than UK "browns" (which descended into a weak, sweet, dark, nasty substance, often just a fizzy bottled version of the brewery's "mild ale"). And the USians like ("liked?") Newkie Brown and their own "brown ales" too.

I pity "Brown Ale". As I see it (historically) it had its place nicked by a usurper "Mild Ale" and so limped behind as "Mild Ale" lost its way and is now disappearing taking "Brown Ale" with it.
 
Yeah I shuddered at that.
I suppose we have to remember the poor quality of ingredients available to Dave when we wrote the book: Hops would have been old and horrific (thus the huge quantities) and even though he specifies Brewers Yeast, it wouldn't be what we have available to us now. So with the saccharin tablets I guess he's trying to add back some residual sweetness that would have been eaten away by the yeast - even EDME yeast (aka s-33) was years away. If you read what he writes about sugar in beer, it's clear he knows his stuff, but is hampered by poor ingredient availability.

So, this is my starter for 10, with liberal interpretation of Davies hopping schedule!

Newcastle Brown Ale (Dave Lines)

4.7% / 11.9 °P

62% efficiency

Batch Volume: 20 L
Boil Time: 90 min


Mash Water: 12.69 L

Sparge Water: 19.86 L / 22.46 L HLT water @ 75 °C
Total Water: 35.15 L
Boil Volume: 29.5 L

Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.033


Vitals
Original Gravity: 1.048
Final Gravity (Fixed): 1.012
IBU (Tinseth): 22
BU/GU: 0.47
Colour: 34.5 EBC


Mash
Strike Temp — 78.8 °C
Temperature — 66 °C — 90 min


Malts (4.23 kg)
3.86 kg (80.9%) — Warminster Maris Otter — Grain — 6 EBC
260 g (5.5%) — Muntons Crystal Malt — Grain — 133 EBC
110 g (2.3%) — Muntons Chocolate Malt — Grain — 835 EBC
Other (540 g)
540 g (11.3%) — Brown Sugar, Dark — Sugar — 98.5 EBC
Hops (90 g)
10 g (13 IBU) — Target 10.5% — Boil — 60 min
80 g (10 IBU) — Fuggle (Whole) 2.1% — Boil — 15 min

Yeast
1 pkg — CML Clipper 77%
Fermentation
Primary — 20 °C — 14 days
 
1.) Lots of years ago I remember having to 'run' to the canteen one morning when getting my motor bike exhaust fixed @ work. The welder scoffed bacon sarnie washed down with a bottle of 'dog' before welding. :eek:
Great job though! but I bet he's not around now,,,

2.) Working@ S&N brewery in N'cle west end on the big circular 'dog' bottle filler. Bottles exploding every so often. The QC engineer said they had to keep taking the filler out and rebuilding as the 'dog' eroded the concrete dome supporting the filler.:eek:

Maybe some recipes should not be 're-discovered'?,,,

🤣 wink...
 
Have you tried the Northern and Southern brown ales in the Bible.
I have the Southern and very nice it was
I dont have the bible; which is odd because I have tons of brewing and beer related books and its a popular choice. Perhaps I should get it next time im in a book buying mood.
 
Ron Pattinson picked out Vaux's "Double Maxim" as comparable to newkie brown?

Absolutely this, except it's now from the Maxim Brewery, rather than the Vaux brewery; although it's arguably still brewed by the same people who originally brewed it. I'm not sure how far outside the region it's available, but it's universally regarded locally as the best broon, since Newcastle Brown became property of Heineken and, thus, turned to Pißwasser. It really is lovely.

As an aside, in case anybody local is interested, it's Sunderland Beer Festival on the 26th and 27th July at The Fire Station in Sunderland, which will be run in partnership with the Vaux brewery.

Sunderland Craft Beer Festival 2024

There's also a beer tasting evening with an opportunity to meet the brewers, next door at The Dun Cow pub on Thursday the 25th July.

Meet The Brewer: VAUX Tasting Evening
 
Maxim's Double Maxim is nice, and closer to the old school Newkie than the current stuff. It's sometimes available in Asda, I grab it when I can. Aldi used to do their own knock off Newkie Brown a few years ago that wasn't awful as well, but that's disappeared.
 
Absolutely this, except it's now from the Maxim Brewery, rather than the Vaux brewery; although it's arguably still brewed by the same people who originally brewed it. I'm not sure how far outside the region it's available, but it's universally regarded locally as the best broon, since Newcastle Brown became property of Heineken and, thus, turned to Pißwasser. It really is lovely.

As an aside, in case anybody local is interested, it's Sunderland Beer Festival on the 26th and 27th July at The Fire Station in Sunderland, which will be run in partnership with the Vaux brewery.

Sunderland Craft Beer Festival 2024

There's also a beer tasting evening with an opportunity to meet the brewers, next door at The Dun Cow pub on Thursday the 25th July.

Meet The Brewer: VAUX Tasting Evening

I used to work for Vaux. I wasn’t involved in the beer making. If they are still there I know a few of the people at Maxim brewery.
 
Double Maximum is available at Morrisons, at least if you have food delivered, I haven't checked on the shelves yet but will next time I pass by.
I absolutely love the drink tbh
 
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