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"Imperial" American Amber Ale Critique

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Jamo99

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So, I'm thinking of brewing up a big AAA this weekend. It's based on a Jamil recipe, but has been tweaked. Let me know how my grist and hopping schedule look. I've only been getting around 62-65% efficiency. This will be fermented with S-05.

6# light DME
5# 2-row
1# munich
1 1/2# crystal 40L
1/2# crystal 120L
1/2# victory

1/4 oz chinook FWH
1/2 oz simcoe FWH
3/4 oz columbus FWH
1/2 oz amarillo 15
1 oz centennial 10
1 oz amarillo 5
1/2 oz simcoe 0
1/4 oz columbus 0

SG = 1.085
IBU = 77
Edit: Mashing at 155 degF

Edit #2: Upped the OG a bit and reworked the hopping schedule based on what I have on hand. Are my amounts of crystal appropriate? More? Less?
 

944play

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That seems like a LOT of C40 to me. I'm no expert, but I'd want a dry enough beer for those hops to pop. My PA/Cascade SMaSH, a 1.072 -> 1.012 beer, is sweet enough with only base grain (~15% lightly home-toasted) and 5oz 6% hops (~50 IBU).
 

King of Cascade

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So, I'm thinking of brewing up a big AAA this weekend. It's based on a Jamil recipe, but has been tweaked. Let me know how my grist and hopping schedule look. I've only been getting around 62-65% efficiency. This will be fermented with S-05.



Edit: Mashing at 155 degF

Edit #2: Upped the OG a bit and reworked the hopping schedule based on what I have on hand. Are my amounts of crystal appropriate? More? Less?
Is your 62 -65% efficiency on your mini mash before or after your DME addition?
 
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Jamo99

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Is your 62 -65% efficiency on your mini mash before or after your DME addition?
That is based on my gravity in the fermenter after any DME addition.

That seems like a LOT of C40 to me. I'm no expert, but I'd want a dry enough beer for those hops to pop. My PA/Cascade SMaSH, a 1.072 -> 1.012 beer, is sweet enough with only base grain (~15% lightly home-toasted) and 5oz 6% hops (~50 IBU).
I've got some pale ales and ipas around, so I wanted to do a west coast red style that utilizes a bunch of crystal. Something hoppy, but not as in your face. I was thinking something along the lines of Rogue's Santa's Private Reserve Ale. I know that beer is Chinook and Centennial, but I'm not going for a clone and I have most of these hops on hand.

I haven't seen many recipes for red ales in the 1.08 range, so I wasn't sure I had a nice ratio of crystal. Or if anyone thought I should add some roasted barley or something.
 

King of Cascade

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That is based on my gravity in the fermenter after any DME addition
.



I've got some pale ales and ipas around, so I wanted to do a west coast red style that utilizes a bunch of crystal. Something hoppy, but not as in your face. I was thinking something along the lines of Rogue's Santa's Private Reserve Ale. I know that beer is Chinook and Centennial, but I'm not going for a clone and I have most of these hops on hand.

I haven't seen many recipes for red ales in the 1.08 range, so I wasn't sure I had a nice ratio of crystal. Or if anyone thought I should add some roasted barley or something.
I haven't done an extract batch in a while but shouldn't you get 100% efficiency with extract? Maybe check your volumes....are you sure your getting 5 gallons of wort becuase that will throw off your efficiency?

On the crystal issue...use all the c120 but cut back on the c40 and a little roasted barley will give you a nice red.
 
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Jamo99

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I haven't done an extract batch in a while but shouldn't you get 100% efficiency with extract? Maybe check your volumes....are you sure your getting 5 gallons of wort becuase that will throw off your efficiency?

On the crystal issue...use all the c120 but cut back on the c40 and a little roasted barley will give you a nice red.
I'm collecting 5 1/2 gallons. Determining my efficiency, I've just been plugging the recipe into ProMash and adjusting the efficiency until I hit my actual OG. The program does take the extract being 100% efficient into account. I know because I've forgotten a recipe at home and have had to work out long hand my grain bill at work using the efficiency given by ProMash. I know places where I can improve my efficiency, but haven't gotten around to it yet. Right now I'm consistently getting 63-65%, so I can build/adjust recipes based on that.

here's the tweaked recipe:

6# light DME
5# 2-row
1# munich
1# crystal 40L
1/2# crystal 120L
1/2# victory
2 oz roasted barley

1/4 oz chinook FWH
1/2 oz simcoe FWH
3/4 oz columbus FWH
1/2 oz amarillo 15
1 oz centennial 10
1 oz amarillo 5
1/2 oz simcoe 0
1/4 oz columbus 0

SG = 1.083
IBU = 77
Thanks for the input so far. If anyone else has an opinion, I'd be glad to hear it.
 

StunnedMonkey

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Thanks for the input so far. If anyone else has an opinion, I'd be glad to hear it.
I think you'll like it quite a bit. I brewed one very similar (12.4 lbs 2-row, and the exact same supporting grains except for 3 oz pale chocolate vs your 2 oz roasted barley) and I thought it turned out quite nicely. You're hopping is a bit more aggressive (77 IBU vs my 62) but your anticipated gravity is also higher (1.083 vs my 1.066). So it'll be a little bigger and bolder, with an extra touch of roast. I say it'll be great.

Report back. Or better yet send me some.
 

King of Cascade

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I'm collecting 5 1/2 gallons. Determining my efficiency, I've just been plugging the recipe into ProMash and adjusting the efficiency until I hit my actual OG. The program does take the extract being 100% efficient into account. I know because I've forgotten a recipe at home and have had to work out long hand my grain bill at work using the efficiency given by ProMash. I know places where I can improve my efficiency, but haven't gotten around to it yet. Right now I'm consistently getting 63-65%, so I can build/adjust recipes based on that.

here's the tweaked recipe:



Thanks for the input so far. If anyone else has an opinion, I'd be glad to hear it.

As long as it's consistent Right!!!!!!!!!!! Looks like a winner. can't wait to hear the report.
 

Blender

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I have never used quite that much Crystal malt. I think I would scale back the 40L to a pound and see how it went.

Are you using Promash's calcs for the FWH? I always read that one should use a 20 minute addition as the point of bitterness in FWH but notice that Promash calculates it higher.

Good Luck with it. My next brew is going to be the Amber from Jamil.
 

King of Cascade

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I have never used quite that much Crystal malt. I think I would scale back the 40L to a pound and see how it went.

Are you using Promash's calcs for the FWH? I always read that one should use a 20 minute addition as the point of bitterness in FWH but notice that Promash calculates it higher.

Good Luck with it. My next brew is going to be the Amber from Jamil.
We need to avoid giving advice it we can’t give accurate advice. First wort hopping reportedly gives 20 minute hop addition flavor with more IBU than 60minute addition if it’s boiled for longer than 60 minutes.

Read #4
First Wort Hopping Summary
 

Blender

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We need to avoid giving advice it we can’t give accurate advice. First wort hopping reportedly gives 20 minute hop addition flavor with more IBU than 60minute addition if it’s boiled for longer than 60 minutes.

Read #4
First Wort Hopping Summary
I got my impressions and information from threads such as this one and Denny Conn in particular.
 

King of Cascade

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I attended this seminar in June at the National Homebrew Conference and Denny Conn went into depth on first wort hopping in person. He took questions and gave detailed answers on first wort hopping. If you wonder why the calculations in promash calculate the IBU’s higher its’ because they are higher. If you read the response Denny posted it states he gets a 20 minute hop flavor it never said that the bitterness is that of a 20 minute addition he simply said it has a more rounded bitterness.
 

King of Cascade

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Scroll down the link you posted, here is Denny Conns Exact Quote.

As I said before if we can't give accurate advice don't give any at all.


You've got it! In an analysis I had done, beers with FWH actually measure about 10% more IBU than beers with a 60 min. addition, but due to the chemical changes that happen during the FWH process, they don't taste as bitter. FWH emphasizes different hop compounds than a 60 min. addition.
 

gxm

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That seems like a LOT of C40 to me. I'm no expert, but I'd want a dry enough beer for those hops to pop. My PA/Cascade SMaSH, a 1.072 -> 1.012 beer, is sweet enough with only base grain (~15% lightly home-toasted) and 5oz 6% hops (~50 IBU).
I'd agree with that. I've been mostly extract so far, and I've found that using too much crystal results in a much sweeter beer. Turns out that the sugars in crystal aren't fermentable, and since extract is typically 80% fermentable, the resulting beer can have too much sweetness (referring here to my beers and my taste :) If we were mashing, we could adjust the mash to increase the fermentability.
Some recipes that call for a lot of Crystal malt, such as JZ's American IPA (only 1.25#), suggest replacing some of the extract with corn sugar to hit the target FG.

Good Luck!
 

Blender

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Scroll down the link you posted, here is Denny Conns Exact Quote.

As I said before if we can't give accurate advice don't give any at all.
Yes, I read that but he also says this in the same thread.
You get some bitterness out of it (I count it the same as a 20 min. addition), but it's mainly for hop flavor. The bitterness you get has a smoother quality than a 60 min. addition.
 

King of Cascade

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OK Blender you win. Keep calculating the IBU's of FWHing the way you have been and I will do it my way.

Oh... and don't forget to disregard your promash calculations because they are wrong and never mind the common sense that tells you that if you boil hops beyond 60 minutes you get more bitterness and totally disregard the fact that the guy who first started FWHing said you get 10% more bitterness from FWHing. The one post that could be interpreted as give less bitterness or giving hop flavor of a 20 minute addition is correct.

Blender I’m not trying to be combative just trying to keep the advice we give people accurate. If you want to post something to get the last word…fine but read the info on this subject entirely and see what you could come up with. First wort hopping is an awesome technique when used properly and has won me plenty of awards for IPA’s and hoppy beers.
 
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Jamo99

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Well, this one is in the fermenter. Mashed at 156F. Nailed my specific gravity and pitched two packs of US-05. I'm already looking forward to tasting this one in February!
 

King of Cascade

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Well, this one is in the fermenter. Mashed at 156F. Nailed my specific gravity and pitched two packs of US-05. I'm already looking forward to tasting this one in February!
February???? You have more patients than I do. Let us know how it turns out. Did you use all the crystal to balance the hops?
 
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Jamo99

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February???? You have more patients than I do. Let us know how it turns out. Did you use all the crystal to balance the hops?
Yeah, February would be the ideal...brewing every weekend since June helps in that department. It could very well get broken into a little earlier. I used the 1.5# of crystal and the exact hopping schedule. I think that the flavor from the FWH plus the flavor additions should work really well with that caramel maltiness. I'm thinking the 40L and 120L should give me some interesting depth on that front, and the hop flavor should come screaming through. I kept the IBU/OG ratio a bit under 1 to push the malt, but I tried to squeeze every last drop out of flavor out of the amount of IBU's that I "spent." This will sit for a month now, before getting tasted and possibly dry hopped.

With regard to FWH, I've used it on my house IPA and the bitterness is there, but is definately different. It's tough to explain, but the balance is still there. It's just that the bitterness isn't poking you in the tounge saying "Hey, look at me". I didn't do a 60 minute addition this time because I didn't want that assertive character. Next time on my house IPA, I would probably do the FWH, then add a minor amount of a high alpha variety, millenium maybe, for the 60 min addition. Only .1 or .2 oz. You get a different bitterness that gives the IPA an attitude that wouldn't work as well in this style.
 

King of Cascade

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Yes, I read that but he also says this in the same thread.
I hate to keep bringing this up but the link was not available a few days ago when we had this discussion. As I mentioned Denny Conn gave a presentation on FWHing among other thing but here is the link to the seminar. See page 29 and especially 32 on the bitterness of FWHing.
 
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Jamo99

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Just pulled the first pint of this and it is quite tasty. First creation is officially in the database!
 
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Jamo99

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Entered this one in a comp. Thought people would like to see the comments regarding bitterness since I had no 60 min additions. I added the comments to the recipe in the database.

With all the 1.5# of crystal malt I should have had a lower mash temperature (something like 152F). Both judges made it clear that it seemed a bit underattenuated. At FG 1.024 I can see their point. Will be making again with some tweaks. (Lower mash temp and a yeast with a little more character like Wy 2450 Denny's Fav 50.

You can see the recipe in my dropdown for the rest of the judges' comments. Here are the flavor comments that reference bitterness specifically.

Judge 1:

Flavor: Full, rich malt flavor. Caramel and toffee. Firm earthy hop bitterness followed by resin hop flavor. Very nice but seems a bit underattenuated. Slight ethanol flavor at finish. (12/20)

Judge 2:

Flavor: Very assertive bitterness, especially in the finish. Malt is definately in the background here, but still provides a counterpoint to the hops. Finish could be dryer. (12/20)
 

rickfrothingham

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Thanks for looping back on this one! I'm thinking about brewing an American Amber recipe thats mostly based off of this one, but probably just less crystal 40 and mashing around 151 or 152... i like my beers dry.
 
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