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Old 11-25-2008, 08:47 PM   #1
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Default American Special Bitter (ASB) -- I'm Going to Make One!

I often find myself thinking up new recipes and sometimes they even sound good! I've been thinking about doing this one for a while. The concept is an ESB, but using completely American ingredients. I've not decided about yeast yet though, will probably go with an English yeast. I thought I was smart and witty coming up with "ASB" but of course when I did a quick google search it seems that a brewery has already come up with the name. I dont care, I'm using it anyway.

So here is the basic idea:
American Pale 2-row
American Caramel 60
and Willamette hops

Gonna aim for a OG around 1.055 or so and bitter to about 40 IBU.

I'd like suggsetions on maybe another grain or two to add to the bill. Something really American. I was thinking something like some American Victory malt or a bit of American chocolate but I'm not sure. And I'm not a huge fan of American chocolate anyway. So let's have it. What really typical American grain should I add, but in keeping with the ESB style?

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Old 11-25-2008, 09:01 PM   #2
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Flaked corn. ~1lb

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Old 11-25-2008, 09:11 PM   #3
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My first brew back in August was 10 lbs of 2-row and 1 lb crystal 60. I used Goldings and hopped to about 45 IBU's.

It was OK, but it was missing something, and I think maybe something like Victory would be a nice addition. Chocolate would darken it a bit too much for a Special Bitter and veer towards a brown. I'd give some Victory a shot.

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Old 11-25-2008, 09:11 PM   #4
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Default not a bad idea...

Hmmmm... How about just a small amount of the chocolate, say 1.5oz for a 5-gallon batch. How about using cascade for bittering hops?

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Old 11-25-2008, 09:34 PM   #5
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Go with the Victory. Nice warm, nutty flavor contribution, and it gives a nice color, too. Don't go more than a half-pound in five gallons; hell, even that much is pushing it for a beer like this.

I don't want to p!ss in your Kool-aid, but you do realize the style you're talking about is American Amber Ale, right? Or American Pale Ale, depending on the level of crystal/caramel malt used. If you strip AAA and APA to their roots, they're English Pale Ale styles brewed with American ingredients.

Just sayin'.

Bob

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Old 11-25-2008, 09:45 PM   #6
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No worries. I always take my kool-aid with one of those little umbrellas in it -- piss proof! I realize what you're saying, my goal was to use american ingredients to make a beer that tastes similar to an ESB from England. Most american ambers and pales use C-hops for that citrusy character. By sticking to Willamette, I was hoping for a more British character. But beer styles are always overlapping so a particular beer could technically be classified under several styles.

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Old 11-25-2008, 11:44 PM   #7
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Awesome!
I've been working on the same plan!

But I call mine APB = American Premium Bitter.
Thinking of Whitbread Pale Ale with less caramel
and more hop flavor.
I'm shooting for about 1.050 OG and 25 IBUs,
which is well short of ESB range.

Here's one version:
9# Breiss Pale Ale Malt
8oz Gambrinus Honey Malt ( well Canada is in North America ....)
4oz Briess Crystal 120L
Mashed 60 min at 149

Willamette 6.6% AA leaf hops:
0.5 oz First Wort Hop
0.5 oz 60 min
1.0 oz 15 min

I used my in-case-of-emergency packet of Nottingham
(don't ask), sprinkled directly on the wort, and fermented at 65.
The next batch is getting WLP008.

FG 1.010

Hop flavor and aroma up front.
Balanced by a mild maltiness and a hint of sweetness.
Very mellow bitterness at the finish.

I have some dialing-in to do,
but I think I'm definitely on the right track

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Old 11-26-2008, 01:53 PM   #8
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OP recipe + 4oz of Victory would be great. Ferment with the Fuller's strain (WLP002). Or you could use the Pacific Ale (WLP041) which is the Americanized British ale yeast RedHook uses in their brews; slightly less fruity but still produces esters and diacetyl like the Fullers strain.

Victory malt is STRONG stuff. I used 8oz in a similar brew to your recipe and it was too much, even after a few months it still stuck out above everything else.

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Old 11-26-2008, 02:14 PM   #9
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I did something similar, malt-wise, except I added some rye and carapils to the mix. I really like Willamette hops, and I think they pair great with Sterling, if you're looking to up the bittering. Your ASB project sounds like a good one. Hope to hear some great results in a month or tow.

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Old 11-26-2008, 04:05 PM   #10
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For the yeast as an American Special Bitter my vote is on the White Labs East Coast Ale. should give it more esters and some character compared to the West Coast or Cali ale.

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