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Old 08-08-2011, 04:55 AM   #1
takethecake
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Default Advice for a novice brewer attempting an American ESB (AG)

Hello guys, I've just put my 4th brew (an attempted DFH 60 min clone) into the fermenter, and I'm thinking about what I'd like to brew next. One of my friends suggested I try a Left Hand Sawtooth clone, and while I haven't gotten my hands on it to try yet, it sounds like a beer I'd enjoy. From reading some of the other threads around here, and with some information from Left Hand's website, I put together this recipe on BeerSmith. It's not meant to be a clone, persay, just something inspired by the beer with my own twist.

8 lbs US 2 Row Pale
2 lbs 60L Crystal Malt
1/4 lb Biscuit Malt
1/4 lb Chocolate Malt
1/2 oz Magnum (60 min)
1/2 oz East Kent Goldings (20 min)
1/2 oz Willamette (20 min)
1/2 oz Cascade (5 min)
Wyeast Labs #1056 - American Ale

Est. OG: 1.054 SG
Est. ABV: 5.3%

Since this is the first recipe I've done myself, I would really appreciate some feedback. I'm going for somewhat of a darker amber (BeerSmith lists the SRMs at 18.7), which is the main reason for the chocolate malt, even though it's not that typical of the style. The 60L variety of crystal was kind of arbitrary, if there's a good reason to pick one over the other let me know. Beersmith tells me the IBUs for the bittering and flavor hops, which come out to about 35.3, but I don't know exactly what the 1/2 oz of Cascade will do. A hoppier beer would be fine with me; the main thing I need help with is balancing the maltiness/hoppiness of this beer. I'd love to hear what you guys think!

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Old 08-08-2011, 05:51 AM   #2
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That's an American Brown Ale... I also wouldn't try calling something an American ESB since it would be an American Pale Ale (ESB is an English Pale Ale too)... The 'Bitter' designation is a British thing...

I would be careful about using that much crystal malt in a batch. Not saying to not do it, just be aware of what you'll end up with. It's right at the edge of the recommended limit (limit is 20% of the grist, you're at 19%). It's going to be a dominant flavor element in the batch. You might want to check out the info on the How to Brew site about the malt characteristics... Better to adjust your recipe now to get your target than brew something you're really not sure of what you're going to get.

For the hops, any reason why you're going with the ones listed? Seems like a very odd mixture to me. Especially since Willamette and EKG are interchangeable. Why not just go with a full ounce of either one? I'm not a big fan of Cascade hops. Every brew I try that has it listed (for flavor/aroma) all I get is grapefruit in the brew. IMO, it's so widely used these days it's sickening. But that's just me. Obviously enough people enjoy that in their brews...

Even if you change nothing, and brew it as it stands, post up the results once it's in glass.

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Old 08-08-2011, 06:18 AM   #3
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I disagree with EKG and willamette being interchangable. Willamette and Fuggles yes. It is a fuggles derivative anyway. I use willamettes whenever the recipe calls for fuggles. As a matter of fact, I make my ESB with willamettes and EKGs so I think you will be fine. The cascade will give it a slight american touch.

As for the malt bill, hes right about the caramel malt. 1lb is more than enough. Sub the other lb with more base malt. Also, no need for chocolate malt. You will have a nice amber just from the caramel malt. If you add the chocolate you will be more of a brown ale. If you want a little darker amber, I would suggest maybe using a blend of caramel malts to add some complexity, but its certainly not necessary. Heres my suggestions based on both thoughts

9lb 2-row
1lb crystal 60
.25lb biscuit

or

9lb 2-row
.75lb crystal 60
.25lb crystal 120
.25lb biscuit

hop schedule is fine

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Old 08-09-2011, 02:41 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses! Like I said, I really don't have the first clue about recipe making, so I appreciate the tips. I think with your advice, I'm going to attempt the following:

9 lbs Pale 2-row
.75 lb 60L Crystal
.25 lb 120L Crystal
.25 lb Biscuit
.5 oz Magnum (60 min)
1 oz Willamette (25 min)
.5 oz Cascade or Amarillo (5 min)
Wyeast #1056

Est. OG: 1.053
IBUs: ~37

Some thoughts:
-I like the advice about the grains, although BeerSmith is calculating this at 10.5 SRM. For some reason I'm kind of hooked on getting a deeper amber, so would it mess the the malt flavor to add an oz or two of chocolate or maybe half an oz of black patent? I know Sawtooth ale has a smidgen of BP in it...
-Since at my LHBS hops are sold by the oz, I think that I'm just going to go with a full oz of Willamette for flavor.
-For the aroma hops, I was wondering what other American hops you might suggest Golddiggie, rather than Cascade. Would Amarillo (a very similar hop, from what little I know) be a better choice in your opinion?
-It is easy to determine how much bittering hops to use, because it's pretty much a function of the IBUs you want. For aroma hops, it's less apparent to me, because there's no number quantifying it. What would the effect be of using more or less than a half an oz of my finishing hop in this beer?

Thanks for all the help so far guys; I'll definitely let you know how it turns out. Think I'm going to brew this Friday...

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Last edited by takethecake; 08-09-2011 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 08-10-2011, 03:54 AM   #5
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Carafa 2 is dehusked. It will add color without the roasty bitterness that black patent can. A few ounces goes a long way in color.

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