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Yooper 12-14-2006 02:21 PM

What do these beers have in common?
I'm fairly new to "good" beer. We've been enjoying trying lots of different brews in "research" for my brewing. My husband's favorite beer right now is Rogue's Dead Guy Ale. He also loves Left Hand Brewery's Sawtooth Ale. Rogue's website says Dead Guy is a Maibock-style ale (whatever that means). Sawtooth is an ESB. Both are smooth. He also loves the AHS Fat Tire clone I've done a few times (never had the original). I think it doesn't really taste like anything, but he disagrees saying he likes it.

Anyway, I'm trying to figure out the commonality between beers we like- so when I brew, I know what I'm looking for. I thought maybe it was the biscuit malt in the Fat Tire, but I didn't use that in my Dead Guy. I used Munich and Caramunich in that. My Sawtooth clone used Munich malt (extract) and toasted victory malt (steeped). All different yeasts (pacman in the Dead Guy) from liquid to dry.

So, does anyone know what the common elements are? Malty mouthfeel maybe? The smoothness? IBUs are: Dead Guy (40); Sawtooth (27); Fat Tire (16). They are all medium bodied, as far as I can tell. No Cascade or overpowering hops. Is that it? Is there anything else that I'm missing?

Thanks from a newbie;

the_bird 12-14-2006 02:26 PM

What I recall most about Dead Guy Ale was that it had a very strong, malty backbone. You may be getting some of that through the Munich in the Sawtooth. Does he like Oktoberfest-type beers? Those tend to be plenty malty, and I think usually use a decent amount of Munich.

I haven't had Fat Tire, so I can't speak to that one.

I would guess, though, that it's that strong malt character he likes. Time for more experimentation!

Dude 12-14-2006 02:31 PM

Yeah, I'd say malty is the prevalent common theme. All have adjuncts that will accentuate the maltiness. Although they are different, (Biscuit, munich, victory, etc.) all are designed to bring out the "malt" per se. That said though, it doesn't mean you can't use those malts in a HOPPY beer. They will also bring out the malt behind those hops.

So not only are the beers you mentioned tailored more to the malty side, they are brewed according to the style guideline of that particular beer.

the_bird 12-14-2006 02:37 PM

Yeah, I'm using three pounds of Munich in the IPA I'm brewing this weekend. I know that historically, IPAs were supposed to be extremely dry (fewer residual sugars = less chance of spoilage), but I really like IPAs that have some of that malty character behind them.

cweston 12-14-2006 02:38 PM


Originally Posted by Dude
That said though, it doesn't mean you can't use those malts in a HOPPY beer. They will also bring out the malt behind those hops.

Excellent point. We generally describe beers as either malty or hoppy, but that doesn't mean the malt profile is unimportant in a hoppy beer, or that the hops don't matter in a malty beer.

One of the best beers I ever made was an all-Columbus APA with an OG of about 1.048 and about 44 IBUs and lots of hops flavor. In other words, it was a hoppy beer. But I also used a couple pounds of munich and an unusual combination of crystal malts in that beer, and I think that was what reallly put it over the top. It was malty and rich behind the hoppiness.

I also think this is where a lot of micros scimp (in the grainbill), excedpt for the very best ones. I often find that even fairly decent APAs taste like a whoile lot of 2-row, a bit of crystal, and the hops: not much imagination (or expense) goes into the grainbill.

Wolf 12-14-2006 03:36 PM

Yup yup, Dead Guy and Fat Tire are both very malty, the Dead Guy is hoppier though and I think better balanced.

Yooper 12-14-2006 05:23 PM

Aha- I think you guys are right. Even the pale ales we like tend to have a malty character (I like SNPA). I'm going to have to try some IPAs just to get out of my comfort zone!

Bird- you're right. He LOVES Octoberfest style beers, even the Octoberfest I made as an ale. It was more complex than a lager, but still pretty "clean" tasting. He likes ESBs, too, and I think it's because the bitterness is all up front and very little hop aroma hits you. They are pretty balanced.


Dude 12-14-2006 07:37 PM


Originally Posted by lorenae
I'm going to have to try some IPAs just to get out of my comfort zone!

I'd start with a few that come to mind as a nice malty background:

Dogfish Head 60 and 90 minute
Oskar Blues brewery Dale's Pale Ale
Stone IPA

All of those beers are very bitter but have a nice malt background to them.

Ivan Lendl 12-14-2006 08:06 PM

Try Victory Hop Devil its an IPA using german 2-row that packs a mean malt punch. Very interesting take on an IPA, I think they use Tettnang hops as well.

Ive got a clone recipe I havent made yet if your interested...

Wolf 12-14-2006 09:13 PM

Dogfish Head's 90 minute IPA is too much hop for me.
Lorenae, if you want to try a couple I can smuggle them into the Dec 29th Admirals game for you ;)

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