Recipe: Von Steuben’s Colonial Stock Ale

With the Continental Army at Valley Forge in mind, Josh Weikert brews this historically reimagined stock ale with molasses, spruce tips, and a portion of smoked malt.

Josh Weikert Jul 4, 2021 - 3 min read

Recipe: Von Steuben’s Colonial Stock Ale Primary Image

Photo: Matt Graves/

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For more on brewing colonial stock ale—or coming up with your own experimental beer that doesn’t quite fit into other style boxes—see this edition of Make Your Best.


Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%
OG: 1.078
FG: 1.016
IBUs: 26
ABV: 8.3%

3 lb (1.4 kg) Maris Otter
3 lb (1.4 kg) rye malt
3 lb (1.4 kg) rauch/smoked malt
2 lb (907 g) flaked maize
2 lb (907 g) biscuit malt
1 lb (454 g) pale chocolate

1 lb (454 g) dark molasses at runoff
1 oz (28 g) Cluster at 60 minutes [20 IBUs]
1 oz (28g) spruce tips at 30 minutes
1 oz (28 g) Cluster at flameout/whirlpool [6 IBUs]
1 oz (28g) spruce tips at flameout/whirlpool

Wyeast 1318 London Ale III

Mill the grains and mash at 152°F (67°C) for 60 minutes. Vorlauf until the runnings are clear, then run off into the kettle and add the molasses. Sparge and top up as necessary to get about 6 gallons (23 liters) of wort, stirring to ensure that the molasses is dissolved. Boil 60 minutes, adding hops and spruce according to the schedule. After the boil, stir the wort for 5 minutes to conduct a whirlpool, add whirlpool hops and spruce, then allow 20 minutes to steep and settle. Chill to about 60°F (16°C), aerate well, and pitch plenty of healthy yeast. Ferment at 65°F (18°C) for the 7 days, then allow the temperature to rise over a couple days to 68°F (20°C) and hold there for a week, or for 2–3 days after reaching terminal gravity. Then cold-crash, package, and carbonate to about 2 volumes.

Avoid spruce extracts—use fresh spruce tips if possible, otherwise order them vacuum-packed. Remember to set some bottles aside for aging.