For each Brewers of Indiana Guild festival, a ReplicAle recipe is selected. For the 2011 Winterfest, the recipe was created by New Albanian Brewing Company's Jared Williamson. In advance of the ReplicAle tapping at the Tomlinson Tap Room on February 23rd (see details below), we decided to ask Jared about the recipe and the ReplicAle program:
What can you tell us about the Ackerman brewery?
Ackerman’s, also known as The Southern Indiana Brewing Company, operated from 1933 to 1935 at the site of the former Paul Reising Brewing Company premises on the corner of West 5th and Spring Streets in New Albany. NABC has recreated several of the historic beers created at that location including Kaiser Pre-Prohibiton Pilsner and Hop-O Common.
How did you find out that Ackerman did a Double Imperial Stout?
We have had a copy of the label for as long as I have worked at NABC, and it is also mentioned in Louisville Breweries: A History of the Brewing Industry in Louisville, Kentucky by Peter R. Guetig & Conrad D. Selle.
How did you determine the recipe for the re-creation?
Based on info found in the book, and what types of malt were common in that era, the recipe design was meant to replicate American brewers going extreme during that time period. So several specialty malts were chosen to provide a depth of character to the body. The inclusion of smoke malt was not to make a smoked stout, but rather to add the notion that dark roasted malts inevitably had a bit more smokiness back then due to the roasting techniques than their modern counterparts. With the hops, I figured that brewers of that era often had to use what they had available instead of being able to pick and choose varieties like modern brewers, so it was left to the participating brewers to decide. And for a final touch, I decided to cask condition the entire NABC batch to keep with the historical nature. I also have a Bourbon barrel filled with Ackerman's, because being as close to Kentucky as they were, they probably had a few Bourbon barrels hanging around.
What did you think of the final result?
The beer has a full, robust body with just a slight hint of smoke lingering in the background. It has the characteristics of what would have been a very big beer by historical standards, but more tame by modern extreme beer standards. Which for me was the intent. Yes, we could have made a 14% monster stout, but that would have been taking the original idea way out of its historical context. In the end, I am quite pleased with results and feel the stout is a honorable tribute to our brewing forefathers.
Have you had a chance to try others' ReplicAles?
I did get to try several of the replicales at Winterfest and was impressed at the overall similarities found in each. Of course my palette was overloaded that day so I look forward to tasting these again at the Tom Tap room event.
What do you think about the ReplicAle program? Why is it a good program to have? And what should the drinking public discover with ReplicAles?
I'm a big fan of looking back and recreating historical beers, and was honored that the Guild wanted to go with my suggestion. Indiana has a wonderful brewing history and there are so many beers that could and should be recreated. With our ever expanding Guild, it may be some time before NABC gets to design another, but I look forward to seeing what my fellow brewers dig up and bring to the table for future replicales.
And to me that is the essence of the project: knowing and replicating our past brewer's achievements, and allowing the public to share in our collective celebration of brewing treasures of yesteryear. We really have an amazing brewing culture here in Indiana.
There will be a tapping of Indiana Winter 2011 ReplicAles on Wednesday, February 23rd at 6pm at the Tomlinson Tap Room in the City Market, 222 E. Market Street, Indianapolis. The recipe is a recreation of the Imperial Double Stout that was brewed by the defunct Ackerman’s Brewery in New Albany. Jared Williamson from New Albanian Brewing Company will be on hand to talk about recreating historical beers.
Along with tapping a firkin of New Albanian’s Ackerman’s Imperial Double Stout, other versions will be on tap, including: Broad Ripple Brewpub, Crown Brewing, Great Crescent Brewing Company, People’s Brewing Company, Rock Bottom Brewery and Restaurant – both College Park and Downtown, Sun King Brewing Company, Upland Brewing Company, and other Indiana breweries to be confirmed.
The Indiana ReplicAle program is presented by the Brewers of Indiana Guild with support from Brewers Supply Group and Briess Malt & Ingredients Company.
Ackerman’s Imperial Double Stout recipe, as recreated by Jared Williamson and Jess Williams:
Original Gravity: 20 degree Plato
Alcohol By Volume: Circa 8%
International Bittering Units: 35 – 40
Grist Bill: 80% Rahr 2-row Pale Malt
5% Briess Aromatic Malt
5% Briess Dark Chocolate Malt
5% Briess Roast Barley
2.5% Briess 80-degree Caramel Malt
2.5% Briess Cherry Smoked Malt
Hops: Single addition at boil of your choice of hop, to achieve 35 - 40 IBU