beerKT wrote:Gonna make a Kentucky common soon. Any advice, dos and don'ts, on this stile?
"Historical Beer: Kentucky Common
Overall Impression: A darker-colored, light-flavored, maltaccented
beer with a dry finish and interesting character malt
flavors. Refreshing due to its high carbonation and mild
flavors, and highly sessionable due to being served very fresh
and with restrained alcohol levels.
Aroma: Low to medium grainy, corn-like or sweet maltiness
with a low toast, biscuity-grainy, bready, or caramel malt
accent. Medium to moderately-low hop aroma, usually floral or
spicy in character. Clean fermentation character, with possible
faint berry ester. Low levels of DMS are acceptable. No
sourness. Malt-forward in the balance.
Appearance: Amber-orange to light brown in color. Typically
clear, but may have some light haze due to limited
conditioning. Foam stand may not be long lasting, and is
usually white to beige in color.
Flavor: Moderate grainy-sweet maltiness with low to
medium-low caramel, toffee, bready, and/or biscuity notes.
Generally light palate flavors typical of adjunct beers; a low
grainy, corn-like sweetness is common. Medium to low floral or
spicy hop flavor. Medium to low hop bitterness, which should
neither be coarse nor have a harsh aftertaste. May exhibit light
fruitiness. Balance in the finish is towards the malt. May have a
lightly flinty or minerally-sulfate flavor in the finish. The finish
is fairly dry, including the contributions of roasted grains and
minerals. No sourness.
Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-light body with a relatively
soft mouthfeel. Highly carbonated. Can have a creamy texture.
Comments: Modern characterizations of the style often
mention a lactic sourness or sour mashing, but extensive
brewing records from the larger breweries at the turn of the
century have no indication of long acid rests, sour mashing, or
extensive conditioning. This is likely a modern homebrewer
invention, based on the supposition that since indigenous
Bourbon distillers used a sour mash, beer brewers must also
have used this process. No contemporaneous records indicate
sour mashing or that the beer had a sour profile; rather the
opposite, that the beer was brewed as an inexpensive, presentuse
ale. Enter soured versions in American Wild Ale.
History: A true American original style, Kentucky Common
was almost exclusively produced and sold around the Louisville
Kentucky metropolitan area from some time after the Civil War
up to Prohibition. Its hallmark was that it was inexpensive and
quickly produced, typically 6 to 8 days from mash to delivery.
The beer was racked into barrels while actively fermenting
(1.020 – 1.022) and tightly bunged to allow carbonation in the
saloon cellar. There is some speculation that it was a variant of
the lighter common or cream ale produced throughout much of
the East prior to the Civil War and that the darker grains were
added by the mostly Germanic brewers to help acidify the
typical carbonate water of the Louisville area, or that they had a
preference for darker colored beers. Up until the late 19th
century, Kentucky Common was not brewed in the summer
months unless cellars, usually used for malting, were used for
fermentation. With the advent of ice machines, the larger
breweries were able to brew year round. In the period from
1900 to prohibition, about 75% of the beer sold in the
Louisville area was Kentucky Common. With prohibition, the
style died completely as the few larger breweries that survived
were almost exclusively lager producers.
Characteristic Ingredients: Six-row barley malt was used
with 35% corn grits to dilute the excessive protein levels along
with 1 to 2% each caramel and black malt. Native American
hops, usually about .2 pounds per barrel of Western hops for
bittering and a similar amount of New York hops (such as
Clusters) for flavor (15 minutes prior to knock out). Imported
continental Saazer-type hops (.1 pounds per barrel) were added
at knock out for aroma. Water in the Louisville area was
typically moderate to high in carbonates. Mash water was often
pre-boiled to precipitate the carbonate and Gypsum was
commonly added. Considering the time from mash in to
kegging for delivery was typically 6 to 8 days, clearly aggressive
top-fermenting yeasts was used.
Style Comparison: Like a darker-colored cream ale
emphasizing corn, but with some light character malt flavor.
Malt flavors and balance are probably closest to modern
adjunct-driven international amber or dark lagers, Irish red
ales, or Belgian pale ales.
Vital Statistics: OG: 1.044 – 1.055
IBUs: 15 – 30 FG: 1.010 – 1.018
SRM: 11 – 20 ABV: 4.0 – 5.5%
Commercial Examples: Apocalypse Brew Works Ortel’s
Tags: standard-strength, amber-color, top-fermented, northamerica,