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Old 05-21-2010, 03:08 AM   #1
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Default First Crack at a Recipe: Sweet American Amber

Hey Folks,

I've whipped up a first shot at a recipe. A friend of mine is having a graduation/birthday party in a few months, and her husband asked me to make a batch of beer for the shindig.

She's a big fan of Yuengling lager, but I'm still a bit of a noob, so I'm not nearly comfortable or well-equipped enough for lagering, so even a clone is out.

I thought a nice substitute would be an American Amber Ale that leaned toward the sweet side of things. Here's the recipe I put together as a first shot:

Extract:
5lbs Light LME

Partial Mash:
2lbs American Crystal 30L
1lb American 2 Row

Hops:
60 Min: .5oz Nugget
15 Min: .5oz Centennial

Yeast: Safale S-04. It did me great on my EPA. Any reason not to?

This will only be my second partial mash brew, and I'm using a bottling bucket as a makeshift mash and lauter tun, so I'm going to assume a 60% efficiency on the mash. That means I should be looking at an OG of about 1.048, and a Final of about 1.013.

The 30L Crystal should give it a nice light brown color and a bit of sweetness, due to the unfermentables (right?). The 2-Row is there to add a bit more character to the mostly-extract brew.

I'm using Nugget and Centennial mostly because that's what I've got growing outside right now, and I figure that if I love the recipe, I can use home-grown hops on the next batch.

So, my first question is: Anything glaringly wrong here? Am I about to whip up a lousy beer? The Hopville recipe calculator says I'm rocking an American Amber, though on the sweeter and less-bitter side of things.

Second question: Will a 60-minute, 150*F mash do me fine here? It's what I used for the stout I just did, and that's coming along nicely, but I'm not too experienced in the finer points of partial mash just yet.

Thanks guys!

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Old 05-21-2010, 04:18 AM   #2
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Seems like a lot of crystal to me, typically you don't go >20% of the grain bill with crystal. I'd cut it back at least to 1lb. Also, I'm not too sure how much 1lb of 2-row would add to this, vienna or munich might give you more of what you're looking for.

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Old 05-21-2010, 01:34 PM   #3
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Thanks for the tip. I think I was relying too much on the crystal for sweet/maltiness. Vienna sounds like exactly what I'm looking for.

If I ditched the 2-Row for 2 pounds of Vienna, and went down to a pound of Crystal, say 40L, do you think that would make for a better recipe?

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Old 05-21-2010, 01:38 PM   #4
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How many IBUs are you looking at? Nugget is a pretty high AAU hop, so I'd be concerned it might be a bit too bitter (or not enough bittering with .5 ounce) so take a look at the IBUs you're getting.

What's the OG? You'll want to make sure you balance the bittering with the gravity of the beer. A lower OG amber will need to have the IBUs on the low side of the style. Adding two pounds of crystal to a beer that already has low IBUs might be too sweet.

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Old 05-21-2010, 01:59 PM   #5
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Well, with the 2lbs Vienna and 1lb Crystal 40, I'm still looking at an OG of 1.048, and Hopville's calculator is calling for about 26 IBUs.

On a wee side note: How good is Hopville's beer calculus application? I think it's totally friendly, and pretty whiz-bang, but I know enough about recipe formulation to know if it's on the mark with its estimates for color, IBU, OG, and whatnot.

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Old 05-21-2010, 02:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NyQuil_Driver View Post
Well, with the 2lbs Vienna and 1lb Crystal 40, I'm still looking at an OG of 1.048, and Hopville's calculator is calling for about 26 IBUs.

On a wee side note: How good is Hopville's beer calculus application? I think it's totally friendly, and pretty whiz-bang, but I know enough about recipe formulation to know if it's on the mark with its estimates for color, IBU, OG, and whatnot.
What size boil will you be doing? That will affect IBUs also. I can compare it to Beersmith, to see how the compare with the IBU, OG, SRM.

With a 3 gallon boil, Beersmith gives me 22 IBUs, 1.049 for OG, and SRM of 10.6. The IBU/OG ratio is .443. It's going to be pretty sweet, especially with all that crystal, but that may be what you're looking for?
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Old 05-21-2010, 02:40 PM   #7
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I'd definitely be doing a 3 gallon boil. My Brew pot and stove won't handle more than that.

I love a nice, bitter brew, but for this one, I was gunning for something that was a bit more accessible to folks who might be new to homebrew. I'm betting that a lot of folks at the party will be in the BMC crowd.

So yeah, I'm looking for "Not too bitter" but I'm definitely not looking for candy beer, you know?

According to Hopvilles Beer Calculus app, this recipe is about 1/3 down the scale between sweet & malty vs hoppy & bitter.

EDIT: Oh wow! I just realized that the hopville calculator accounted for a 3 gallon boil. I tested by bumping that number up to 5 gallons, and the IBUs jumped, so I'm gonna assume that the 26 IBU number is fairly accurate.

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Old 05-21-2010, 02:49 PM   #8
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Hopville assumes a 3 gallon boil if you don't change it. Rager is most accurate for partial boils. I use it and get the expected results. Keep in mind any software program is just guessing. Different process can change the outcome of the beer quite a lot.

As for your recipe I prefer Munich to Vienna in an Amber. I also like a mix of crystals for more depth of flavor. Something like 1 lb German Munich, 1 lb two-row, 12 oz Crystal 30L and 4 oz Crystal 80L or 120L.

I also think you need some aroma hops in there. .5 oz Cascade at flame out would work well.

http://hopville.com/recipe/240978/american-amber-ale-recipes/nqd

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Old 05-21-2010, 11:13 PM   #9
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If you want it to be an American Amber, use US-05 instead of S-04. S-04 is an English yeast.

Although you mentioned you wanted it a bit on the sweeter side, and the US-05 will attenuate just a bit more. From my experience with experimenting with the US-05 and S-04 (splitting 10 gal wort into two fivers w/ two diff yeasts), the S-04 was only half to one percent less alcohol.

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