Extract American Brown recipe suggestions

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JWasheville23

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I have been brewing 5 gallon extract kits for the past year since I started homebrewing. I got bored of only brewing my LHBS recipes (with a small tweak here or there) and decided it was time to start developing my own recipes.
I started with an American Brown Ale. I was going for a something leaning more towards the malty side, at the low end of IBU's for the style. I wanted something sweet with a rich, complex body - caramel, slightly nutty, roasty, with a good depth of flavor.

My first attempt turned out to be a solid brew - very drinkable. Yet I was left wanting more depth of flavor. So, I was hoping I could get some suggestions for how to develop more body and depth of flavor - more caramel/toffee/toasted flavor. Here is the first recipe:

6.6 lb DME - golden light
.75 lb dark brown sugar
.5 lb caramel/crystal 15L
.5 lb chocolate
1 oz Mosaic 50 min (29.47 IBU)
1 oz Willamette 5 min (2.32 IBU)
Wlp001 - California Ale Yeast

Steeped grains at 158 for 45 min. Added fermentables at start of boil and proceeded with hop schedule. Fermented at 68 for 9 days and bottled. Did not take OG or FG cause my hydrometer broke I didn't get around to getting another one. Probably should have let it sit in fermenter longer, but there was pretty much no visible bubbling and the yeast looked very settled.

So in re-working this recipe I wanted to:
1) Lower the IBUs
2) Choose different specialty grains for more depth of flavor.
3) Maybe bump up the ABV slightly and discard the sugar as it could "lighten the body" of the beer?
4) Maybe do a simple partial mash to get more body? Using 2-row with the specialty grains?

Here is the re-worked recipe

6.6 lb LME - Amber
1 lb DME light
1 lb Caramel/Crystal 90L (upped in volume and lovibond)
.5 lb Special B
.25 lb Chocolate
.5 Victory
.5 centennial 60 min (12.16 IBU)
.5 cascade 45 min (7.82)
.5 Willamette (2.72)
.5 Willamette (1.09)

Keep same fermentation temp, but maybe let it sit longer before bottling.
I would appreciate some ideas/suggestions/comments for how to keep re-working this and develop the beer I am looking for.
 

CUrchin

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I'd forget the amber malt extract and use the specialty grains plus light extract to get to the color you want. This will generally get you better tasting beer. The amber extract is probably colored with Caramel anyway,so why not have that be fresh?
 

chickypad

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I think your reworked recipe looks better for complexity, though I agree with just using all light DME as you have 1.5 crystal already in your specialty grains. I'd probably tweak the crystal a bit, rather than going with 2 fairly dark malts go with a light and a dark and maybe drop the total a bit. Then I think I'd keep the chocolate at 0.5 lb (or go with 0.5 lb pale chocolate). So something like:

.75 to 1 lb C-40
.25 to .5 lb c-90 or special B
.5 lb chocolate
.5 lb victory

1.25 lb total would put your crystal around 12-13% which IMO is a good range. The other thing you might consider is changing up your yeast a bit. WL001 is pretty clean and usually attenuates well, you might try a different American yeast like 051 or Denny's Favorite.
 
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JWasheville23

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Thanks for the suggestions! I will switch back to light malt extract (7.7 total) and do two different colors of crystal as you suggest (.75 40L and .5 special B) Might as well try a different yeast strain if you think it will add a bit more complexity, Denny's favorite sounds good. Will be brewing this one fairly soon and will post my tasting notes comparing the two brews when the time comes around.
 
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