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Old 11-14-2012, 09:59 AM   #1
colincbn
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Default Looking for input, Japanese "Momiji Ale"

So I have limited options for recipes as I can't get most malts/hops/yeasts. But I came up with this as an attempt to capture the feeling of a Japanese Autumn.

I know, artsy fartsy BS but hey, I'm trying to impress my wife.

So the idea is that when Japanese Maples change color in autumn they get this great bright copper thing going on. Also in Japan they roast chestnuts in fall and burn the leaves that pile up.

So I this is supposed to have a slightly smoked, very slightly roasted, earthy, but still pretty sweet flavor. I have so far made three versions of this beer and all three have been way off. One of the worst things has been color, but I think have found a combination that should give me what I am looking for. But before I buy the ingredients I wanted to see if anyone else had made something like this:

Ingredients:
------------
Amt Name
3.00 kg Maris Otter (Crisp) (7.9 EBC)
0.50 kg Crystal 75, 2-Row, (Great Western)
0.20 kg Smoked Malt (Weyermann) (3.9 EBC)
0.10 kg Crystal 150, 2-Row, (Great Western)
0.05 kg Roasted Barley (650.0 EBC)
15.00 g Magnum [14.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min
10.00 g Northern Brewer [8.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop
0.15 g Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins)
15.00 g Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] - Boil 5.0 Hop
1.0 pkg Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) Yeast

Same recipe in U.S. units:
6 lbs 9.8 oz Maris Otter (Crisp) (4.0 SRM)
1 lbs 1.6 oz Crystal 75, 2-Row, (Great Western)
10.6 oz Smoked Malt (Weyermann) (2.0 SRM)
3.5 oz Crystal 150, 2-Row, (Great Western)
1.8 oz Roasted Barley (329.9 SRM)
0.53 oz Magnum [14.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min
0.35 oz Northern Brewer [8.50 %] - Boil 15.0 min Hop
0.15 g Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins)
0.53 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] - Boil 5.0 Hop
1.0 pkg Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)
-

All together the amounts of crystal come to about 15% of the total, but I think it will give me the deep, bright copper color and malty sweetness I am looking for.

So any opinions or ideas?

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Old 11-14-2012, 05:04 PM   #2
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A few questions for you
- In what way were your previous versions off and what is the difference in recipe?
- What was your OG and FG on the previous batches?
- What temp did you mash at?
- What temp did you ferment at?

On first glance, crystal 75 seems high - you might get a bunch of raisiny/toffee notes off of that.

You might be able to get closer to your target with less specialty grains and a higher mash temp, but you may have tried that already.

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Old 11-15-2012, 12:50 AM   #3
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Ok this is the last one I tried. It was far too dark, too brown, a little too roasted, and did not have the sweetness I was looking for. In the end it made a damn good smoked porter*, and I may even make it again, but it was not the color/flavor I wanted for something named 'Momiji' (Just means Japanese Maple in Japanese).

Rather than tweaking this recipe I figured I should go right back to the drawing board.


Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Boil Size: 25.80 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.75 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 20.00 l
Bottling Volume: 18.49 l
Estimated OG: 1.036 SG
Estimated Color: 32.3 EBC
Estimated IBU: 28.5 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 82.2 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amt Name
2.30 kg Maris Otter (Crisp) (7.9 EBC)
0.50 kg Carared (39.4 EBC)
0.30 kg Smoked Malt (17.7 EBC)
0.20 kg Roasted Barley (670.0 EBC)
15.00 g Magnum [14.00 %] - Boil 55.0 min
0.15 g Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins)
15.00 g Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] - Boil 5.0
1.0 pkg Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) Yeast -


Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body, No Mash Out
Total Grain Weight: 3.30 kg
----------------------------
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 8.61 l of water at 73.8 65.6 C 75 min

Sparge: Fly sparge with 21.44 l water at 75.6 C

My equipment profile is as close as I can get it, but it is probably not exact.
My OG was about 1.035 so I am getting pretty close.

This time I am using the crystal 75/150 combo because I used it in a pumpkin beer that had this awesome deep orange/red glow to it. I used whole pumpkin chunks in it, so some of the color probably came from that. But if I can get close to that then this beer should at least have the color I am looking for.
After that I guess just imagine the Fall somewhere where the leaves change. I imagine smoke in the air from people burning leaves and clearing their crop fields etc. Roasted pecans and chestnuts. Sweetness from maple, and other treats. And kind of an Earthy background to everything.

So that is basically what I'm going for. Do you think a little raisiny toffee character might work in something like this?

Also this is the full list of grains I have available:

2-row
Pilsner
Munich Malt
Vienna Malt
Maris Otter Pale Malt (this is my standard base malt)
Crisp Malting Pale Ale Malt
Wheat Malt
WEYERMANN Smoked Malt
Crystal 15/40/60/75/150
CaraRed
Munton's Chocolate Malt
Black Malt
Roasted Barley
Flaked Barley
Flaked Oats
Flaked Rye
Rice Hulls

This is a complete list. Unfortunately this is all I can get here unless I have it shipped from the US etc. I have a similarly restricted hop selection, but since they weigh less I am more willing to pay for international shipping.


*It was probably way too low in alcohol for a porter for most people's tastes (4% abv), and I may tweak that up next time, but I prefer lower alcohol session beers to big beers that knock your socks off.

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Old 11-15-2012, 03:51 AM   #4
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I can appreciate what you're attempting here, although I think you'd be better off going more towards a (lighter colored) nut-brown style of beer if you want to highlight the smoke and the chestnut-like nuttiness. My suggestions would be to go with a lighter crystal (35-45L) for some toffee flavors and back that up with smoked malt and roasted barley for color. I probably wouldn't go with the dark crystal, as once you add in the MO, roast, and smoked malt you're going to get a much heavier, darker flavor. A simplified malt base will help everything stay distinct and then you can add earthiness with your hopping and/or yeast. Your second recipe looks like a great start...

I would think something like this would work pretty well:

85% Maris Otter
8% Crystal 40L
5-10% Smoked Malt (depending on how smokey you want it)
1-2% Roasted Barley (for color)

If you can get them, all Fuggles or Willamette would be great for bitterness and aroma. I'd aim for an 1.045-50 O.G and go no higher than 12-14 SRM... 13 is about the sweet spot for that vibrant, coppery-red color. IBU's around 20-25max.

Or, if you want to go in a totally different direction with the recipe, a mix of Munich and Vienna with a decent amount of smoked malt (10%) and a touch of roasted barley, with a long, caramelized boil would be interesting; sorta approaching a rauchbier. You'd need a clean, neutral hop for that tho.

Whatever you choose to do, good luck!

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Old 11-15-2012, 01:51 PM   #5
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Additionally, how about using some actual chestnuts in the mash? I know they are in season right now, assuming you can get them.

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Old 12-27-2012, 02:28 AM   #6
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Default Try smoking some of your own base malt perhaps?

I think if you can get the color and everything else down, you could simply take some of the base malt and smoke it with the type of wood you want. I did that with sakura chips this fall and got a smoked porter on the go. I don't have a smoker so I put foil packs of chips on my shichirin bbq and guided the smoke over a cookie sheet with 1/3 of my base malt. Next time I will try a higher proportion of base malt or use a better smoking setup as the finished beer was a bit lighter on the smoke than I intended.

Also, sorry I never spotted this thread before; I'd like to invite you to join the Japan group over here: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/groups/japan/ we have begun sharing information to help each other brew in Japan, and are even making plans to share hops rhizomes/bulk purchases, etc...

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