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Old 07-09-2013, 01:40 AM   #1
RadicalEd
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Default Recipe double check for a competition

Hey fellas--

A local brewpub is putting on a single-style, pseudo BJCP style competition. The desired style is an "American Dark Ale", detailed below:

Quote:
we want this one to be between 8 and 9% ABV, ideally. In any
case, please try to not be below 7% or above 10%. Ok, here’s the description:

Aroma: malt-forward, with aromatic sweetness or caramel-like notes and hints of dark roast malt, chocolate, or coffee, but without “burnt” or astringent aromas. Low hop aroma is optional, of piney or citrusy character, preferably from American grown varieties. No alcohol “warmth” should be perceived.

Appearance: Dark brown with ruby/garnet highlights to opaque black, with off-white to tan head. Fair to good head retention, with good lacing down the glass.

Flavor: Caramel, toffee, coffee, and chocolate flavors are all good options for an up-front impression, but with no roast/burnt grain astringency or bitterness. Gives way gradually to more balance between the malt and the American variety hops but stays on the malt side of the dividing line. Relatively dry finish from a fairly well-attenuated beer. Hop bitterness is low to moderate. Hops play a supporting role in this one, working to balance the rich maltiness but definitely stay in the background. No yeast derived esthers, spice, or higher alcohols. While high in alcohol content (remember, we want this one to be between 8-9% ABV), this should not be apparent in the flavor profile.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body. Moderate carbonation. Smooth, no astringency or harshness, despite the use of darker malts.

Overall impression: A rich, thick, winter-night warmer, which emphasizes caramel/coffee/chocolate malt notes, specially up front. Relies on American hops with citrus or pine character to provide some balance to the malt and not let it completely take over. Has a hard time being called a porter, a stout, or a dark strong ale, but combines elements from all three.

Commercial Examples: Dark Horse’s Reserve Special Black Ale is very close, but may have a bit more burnt/dry character than what we are shooting for here.
Now, one part plagues me in particular. They want a dry beer that is medium to full bodied and malt forward. So I as for feedback on the following recipe:

Malt:
12 lbs 2 row
1 lb Crystal 120L
2 lbs Vienna Malt
0.5 lb chocolate malt
0.5 lb flaked oats

Hops:
1.5 oz Centennial FWH
0.5 oz Centennial @ 20 min

Yeast:
US-05

Mash: 60 minutes @ 150ºF

OG: 1.085
FG: 1.025
IBU: 61
Est. alcohol: 7.8%


My hope is that the crystal and the chocolate provide the dark malt flavors they want while avoiding burnt characteristics, while the Vienna and flaked oats round out the malt profile and body. The hops are a bit high (at an estimated 61 IBU) but should help to increase the perceived dryness, I think.

Your thoughts are welcomed and appreciated
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Old 07-09-2013, 02:15 AM   #2
Malticulous
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I can't really fault your recipe but I think you need to pay attention to the choice of chocolate malt. Briess would the best choice IMO. Even that might be a bit too burnt or astringent.

I thinking of a all Munich malt base with 10% crystal 40L and debittered black malt to get a color of 30 SRM.

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Old 07-16-2013, 03:00 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malticulous View Post
I can't really fault your recipe but I think you need to pay attention to the choice of chocolate malt. Briess would the best choice IMO. Even that might be a bit too burnt or astringent.

I thinking of a all Munich malt base with 10% crystal 40L and debittered black malt to get a color of 30 SRM.
Sorry for taking so long to reply

That is quite a simpler recipe...but I have two concerns for it.

1. Is it going to dry out enough?
2. they're really pushing the toffee/chocolate; is there going to be enough of that in there?

It does sound like a tasty beer, though. Maybe I'll need to brew both and enter the better!

Now where did I put all my spare time...
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Old 07-16-2013, 03:14 AM   #4
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Do a hot steep of your chocolate malt. Put cracked grain in a muslin bag in about a pint of water at 165 degrees for about 5 minutes. Pour the chocolate "tea" into the brew pot at flame out or just before cooling. This will still gives you the coffee/chocolate flavors without astringency. Learned from Brewing Better Beer by Gordon Strong.

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Old 07-17-2013, 01:04 AM   #5
Malticulous
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My recipe is nothing more than me thinking aloud. Like I sort off said your is good too.

Now I read it again I see what could just be an imperial amber with too much color and no or little late hops. Color form light chocolate malt can give coffee flavor.

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Old 07-17-2013, 01:31 AM   #6
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A strong brown ale comes to mind for me. Somethings like:

85% Marris Otter
5% Biscuit Malt
2.5% Chocolate Malt
2.5% Special Roast
5% remaining with any crystal to adjust for color

Since the focus is the malt character, I would keep the hop schedule simple. Maybe equal amounts of cascade at 60, 30, 15 mins to whatever IBU is desired.

Just my thoughts.

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Old 08-25-2013, 09:48 PM   #7
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Just in case anyone was wondering, I did eventually brew both my original recipe and another following Malticulous' suggestion. I'll post back up when results are more apparent!

First fermentations with temperature control...shiny!

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