Amber Ale (first time recipe help)

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radtad

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So I've decided to give it a shot at making my own recipe for a beer. I'm trying to make a sweet caramel amber ale with a little bit of spice and citrus to offset the sweetness. This is my recipe I came up with:

Batch size: 5.5 gallon

7.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 10L
4.00 lb Munich Malt - 10L
1.00 lb Honey Malt
0.75 lb Caramel Wheat Malt
0.25 lb Caravienne Malt
1.00 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] (60 min)
0.50 oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker [4.00 %] (30 min)
0.25 oz Tettnang [4.50 %] (15 min)
0.25 oz Saaz [4.00 %] (5 min)
1 Pkgs SafAle American Ale (DCL Yeast #S-05) Yeast-Ale

Est Original Gravity: 1.062 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.016 SG
Bitterness: 32.0 IBU
Est Color: 16.0 SRM

I'm wondering if this is going to be way too sweet or if anyone thinks I should substitute or increase / decrease amounts of anything in the recipe.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Thanks
 

Nugent

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A few issues to consider:

First and foremost, I'm not sure how well this would convert with using crystal malt as your 'base' malt. My understanding is that Munich has just enough diastatic power for saccrification, and it's a significantly smaller part of the grain bill. I think that your efficiency would really suffer. You should use a two-row malt as a base and add sweetness (whether sugary or caramelly) through the addition of much smaller amounts of specialty malts (medium crystal, honey malt, etc.) or process changes.

Second, and nearly first, the grain bill that you have would make a cloyingly sweet beer (that's if the conversion works). The pound of honey malt alone would make this a sweetly flavoured beer, let alone all of the crystal malt. I would think that this beer would be undrinkable (?).

If you want sweetness, add something like lactose, which is what is used in a sweet stout.

I'd search the forum for info on adding sweetness without dropping the specialty malt nuclear bomb. Others will no doubt chime in with further/other advice and, more importantly, recipe adjustments/ideas.

Good luck
 

jescholler

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I agree it would be too sweet. Ray Daniels has a really good book about how to design beers. Look into getting a hold of "Designing Great Beers" by Ray Daniels.
 
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radtad

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Thank you guys for the suggestions. I will definitely look into getting that book jescholler. I've never really known where to start with a recipe so that will definitely help. As for now, I modified the recipe to a little bit more of a "normal" approach to an Amber Ale. :p

Code:
Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Batch Size: 5.50 gal      
Estimated OG: 1.060 SG
Estimated FG: 1.016 FG
Estimated Color: 16.7 SRM
Estimated IBU: 30.4 IBU

Ingredients:
------------
Amount        Item                                      Type         % or IBU      
9.00 lb       Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)            Grain        73.05 %       
1.75 lb       Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM)     Grain        14.20 %       
1.00 lb       Munich Malt - 10L (10.0 SRM)              Grain        8.12 %        
0.25 lb       Caramel/Crystal Malt - 10L (10.0 SRM)     Grain        2.03 %        
0.19 lb       Honey Malt (25.0 SRM)                     Grain        1.54 %        
0.13 lb       Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM)                Grain        1.06 %        
1.00 oz       Amarillo Gold [8.60 %]  (60 min)          Hops         26.3 IBU      
0.25 oz       Hallertauer Hersbrucker [4.00 %]  (30 min)Hops         2.4 IBU       
0.25 oz       Tettnang [4.50 %]  (15 min)               Hops         1.7 IBU       
0.25 oz       Saaz [4.00 %]  (5 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep)  Hops          -            
1 Pkgs        SafAle American Ale (DCL Yeast #S-05)     Yeast-Ale
I was also thinking about putting a little cardamon or cloves in the primary. Thoughts?
 

MattHollingsworth

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This is your first recipe, right?

You should simplify it. You don't need to throw a million things in there. And I would definitely NOT spice it. If this is your first time, you don't know any of these grains or hops and you're just throwing a bunch of different stuff in there. Pick one or two hops and use those. If you're going for an American Amber, try one or two of the usual, Cascade, Willamette, Centennial, Chinook etc. Those hops you used won't give you citrus. The American ones will.

IMHO, you still have too much crystal. 8-10% TOTAL will be enough with a little bit of chocolate. Nothing wrong with honey malt, but I'd get rid of that and make a simpler beer so you can learn what flavors are coming from what.

It's up to you of course. But the natural inclination when you first start is to experiment right away. It's better to learn what stuff tastes like though so then you know what you're getting out of what. You can make an excellent Amber with a complicated recipe too, but you might also end up with a lot of muddled flavors without any balance. It might not SOUND as exciting to make a basic Amber but you're more likely to end up with a very nice beer than if you throw in spices and too many ingredients. When you learn to play an instrument or how to draw, you have to learn some basics first. Brewing is like that too, IMHO.

Anyway, for my 2 cents, I'd try along these lines. It's not that simple at all in the grain bill, but eliminated the honey malt.

Pale Malt 86%
Crystal malt, of whichever kinds you wanna try: total of 9%
Munich 4%
Chocolate malt 1%

If you want to simplify further you can get rid of the Munich and Chocolate malt and up the Pale malt, leaving the Crystal at 8-10%. Then next time you brew it, use Munich and see what the difference is.

.5 oz of whatever hops you choose at 0 minutes from the end of the boil.
.5 oz of whatever hops you choose at 10 minutes from the end of the boil.

With the hops, pick one hop to lead and use more of that one than the other if you use two hops.

Then whatever hops you need for bittering to get you to around .7 to IBU/OG ratio. With an OG of 1.060, that would be 42 IBUs. Personally, 30 IBUs is not going to be enough for a 1.060 beer.

If you want it sweeter mash between 154 and 156 or something. And you can use a less attenuative yeast, say Wyeast 1318 if you want some sweetness left.

And skip any spices.

Best of luck.
 
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radtad

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This is your first recipe, right?

You should simplify it. You don't need to throw a million things in there. And I would definitely NOT spice it. If this is your first time, you don't know any of these grains or hops and you're just throwing a bunch of different stuff in there. Pick one or two hops and use those. If you're going for an American Amber, try one or two of the usual, Cascade, Willamette, Centennial, Chinook etc. Those hops you used won't give you citrus. The American ones will.
Well, I've done a few Amber Ales already, but just never my own recipe. I agree, I probably should simplify it.

IMHO, you still have too much crystal. 8-10% TOTAL will be enough with a little bit of chocolate. Nothing wrong with honey malt, but I'd get rid of that and make a simpler beer so you can learn what flavors are coming from what.

It's up to you of course. But the natural inclination when you first start is to experiment right away. It's better to learn what stuff tastes like though so then you know what you're getting out of what. You can make an excellent Amber with a complicated recipe too, but you might also end up with a lot of muddled flavors without any balance. It might not SOUND as exciting to make a basic Amber but you're more likely to end up with a very nice beer than if you throw in spices and too many ingredients. When you learn to play an instrument or how to draw, you have to learn some basics first. Brewing is like that too, IMHO.
I've read in some other threads that 10-15% of crystal is ideal. I think I want to give it a try with a little bit higher crystal. If it turns out great, awesome, otherwise I'll probably always follow you're guidelines.

Anyway, for my 2 cents, I'd try along these lines. It's not that simple at all in the grain bill, but eliminated the honey malt.

Pale Malt 86%
Crystal malt, of whichever kinds you wanna try: total of 9%
Munich 4%
Chocolate malt 1%

If you want to simplify further you can get rid of the Munich and Chocolate malt and up the Pale malt, leaving the Crystal at 8-10%. Then next time you brew it, use Munich and see what the difference is.

.5 oz of whatever hops you choose at 0 minutes from the end of the boil.
.5 oz of whatever hops you choose at 10 minutes from the end of the boil.

With the hops, pick one hop to lead and use more of that one than the other if you use two hops.

Then whatever hops you need for bittering to get you to around .7 to IBU/OG ratio. With an OG of 1.060, that would be 42 IBUs. Personally, 30 IBUs is not going to be enough for a 1.060 beer.

If you want it sweeter mash between 154 and 156 or something. And you can use a less attenuative yeast, say Wyeast 1318 if you want some sweetness left.

And skip any spices.

Best of luck.
I've made some other pale ales like the Bee Cave Haus Pale Ale from EdWort and it tasted great and I ended up with an IBU/OG ratio of .61. I really appreciate the input and what I think I might do is use a lot of your suggestions with subtle things I wanted to do. Here's the revamped recipe:

Code:
Batch Size: 5.50 gal      
Estimated OG: 1.055 SG
Estimated Color: 15.3 SRM
Estimated IBU: 33.2 IBU
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amount        Item                                      Type         % or IBU      
9.00 lb       Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)            Grain        79.51 %       
1.50 lb       Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM)     Grain        13.25 %       
0.50 lb       Munich Malt - 10L (10.0 SRM)              Grain        4.42 %        
0.19 lb       Honey Malt (25.0 SRM)                     Grain        1.68 %        
0.13 lb       Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM)                Grain        1.15 %        
0.70 oz       Centennial [10.00 %]  (60 min)            Hops         22.2 IBU      
0.45 oz       Centennial [10.00 %]  (30 min)            Hops         11.0 IBU      
0.75 oz       Cascade [5.50 %]  (0 min)                 Hops          -            
1 Pkgs        SafAle American Ale (DCL Yeast #S-05)     Yeast-Ale
If you still think I have something wrong, please let me know. I really do appreciate the feedback. :)
 

permo

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I would split the caramel malts out....that is a lot of 60.

Maybe try .50 pound C40 and .50 pound C120, then up the munich to 1.00 pounds, if you can, I would sub pale choco for the choco as well. Good recipe though. Here is what I would do for a nice first original amber

9 pound two row
.50 C40
.50 C120
.50 victory
.125 Pale Chono

simple and delicious
 
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radtad

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So I made the amber ale (with the last recipe I posted). I just tried it and it turned out pretty well. Honestly, it tastes similar to a Fat Tire (not complaining because I like Fat Tire), but I was trying to go with something more of my own.

I think Matt was right on the Crystal, I'd probably go with less next time. The beer ended up being a little on the sweet side, a little bitter after taste (not too much though), but definitely has a lot of flavor. It is a little darker than I would have liked it however. I don't really get much hop flavor and may want to dry hop with it next time. All in all, I don't think it was a bad beer for my first designed recipe.

Thanks all!
 

jescholler

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Glad to hear. I also like that you updated the thread. It gives the people who helped you a chance to see where their efforts went, and it will help people in the future who need similar help.

Good work.
 

oldschool

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Eveyone just keep in mind that munich IS a base malt. The original recipe just had 1 pound of crystal in a 1.060 beer. What's going to be too sweet about that?
 

MattHollingsworth

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Eveyone just keep in mind that munich IS a base malt. The original recipe just had 1 pound of crystal in a 1.060 beer. What's going to be too sweet about that?
Go reread the recipe. It listed the first ingredient as 7 lbs of Crystal. You probably visually skipped over that thinking it was the base malt, some 2 row or something, but he lists 7 lbs of Crystal, THEN another 1 lb.
 

oldschool

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Go reread the recipe. It listed the first ingredient as 7 lbs of Crystal. You probably visually skipped over that thinking it was the base malt, some 2 row or something, but he lists 7 lbs of Crystal, THEN another 1 lb.
I see it now. You are right I just thought I read something else.
 
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