Phillips Brewing Blue Buck Pale Ale clone

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mtbmatt

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This is my attempt at a Phillips Brewing Blue Buck Pale Ale clone, anyone from British Columbia (Canada) will be familiar with this beer. I would say it is at least 80% of the way there and I would love to get some feedback from anyone interested in further refining the recipe. I am brewing this using BIAB but it should work fine for any all-grain method.

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Batch Size: 5.10 gal
Boil Size: 6.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.047 SG
Estimated FG: 1.009 SG
Estimated Color: 7.0 SRM
Estimated IBU: 32 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
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Amount Item
6.00 lb Marris Otter Malt
1.50 lb Vienna Malt
0.50 lb Munich Malt
0.25 lb Crystal 15
0.25 lb Crystal 60

0.50 oz Cascade [8.50 %] (60 min)
0.50 oz Amarillo [8.20 %] (15 min)
0.50 oz Cascade [8.50 %] (10 min)
0.50 oz Amarillo [8.20 %] (5 min)
0.50 oz Cascade [8.50 %] (0 min flameout)
1.00oz Cascade [8.50 %] (Dry hop, add at day 9 of fermentation and remove after 5 days)

1 packet US-05 dry yeast

Notes:
Malt - The malt profile is close to Blue Buck but the flavour is slightly more bready. For my next version I plan to switch to 2-row for my base malt and will also likely halve (or possibly remove?) the Munich malt to reduce the bready flavour. Interestingly, I find that Blue Buck has a biscuity smell that I hadn't noticed before trying to clone it. This version doesn't have the same aroma and I'm not sure how to replicate it.
Color - Blue Buck is slightly darker. If I decrease the Munich by 0.25lb I will probably bump up the Crystal 60 by the same amount.
Hops - I have done this as an all-Cascade brew which I enjoyed (same hop schedule) but I found the hop flavour quite one-dimensional. The amarillo has added depth and is close to Blue Buck, although I can't say with confidence that it's what they use in theirs.
Yeast - I haven't played around with yeast for this recipe. I don't have amazing temperature control (just use a swamp cooler) and I find US-05 is fairly resistant to higher temperatures, so that is why I have used it here.

This recipe started out as Da Yoopers House Pale Ale recipe ( American Pale Ale - Da Yooper's House Pale Ale ). Although I enjoyed it, it was too malt dominant for my tastes. My second attempt was the all-Cascade version of this recipe and at that point I realised I was starting to close in on something similar to Blue Buck. This recipe is my 3rd version and is something I plan to refine further, although I want to play around with a few other styles so it might be a while before I attempt version 4.
 
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mtbmatt

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So I tried making this again with the following grain bill:

6.50 lb 2-row
1.50 lb Vienna Malt
0.50 lb Crystal 60
0.25 lb Crystal 15

It made a very tasty pale ale but it was noticeably further away from Blue Buck. A lot lighter in colour and lacking in the caramel flavour I got from trying it beside a Blue Buck. It needs some Munich put back in and the Crystal 60 bumped up. Next version I will still use 2-row but will add 0.25lb Munich back in, bump the Crystal 60 to 1lb and drop the Crystal 15.....or something like that....I'll have to punch it into a recipe and see what the numbers look like.
 

Galactik

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Being from BC, I am looking forward to your results with this. Please post with your updates!
 

IslandLizard

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Have you tried contacting the brewery or better, the head brewer? If not the complete recipe, they may give you hints of what they use.

Then tweak your process/ingredients trying to get closer each time.
 
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mtbmatt

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@sixt3 - I haven't seen that recipe before, not sure how good it would be.

@IslandLizard - they are a fairly big brewery, I'd be surprised if I would get a response to an email. I'd like to go there in person sometime but they are on Vancouver Island. I don't get over there very often and when I do I'm not in their area.
 

IslandLizard

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@IslandLizard - they are a fairly big brewery, I'd be surprised if I would get a response to an email. I'd like to go there in person sometime but they are on Vancouver Island. I don't get over there very often and when I do I'm not in their area.
I understand. The size of operation may make it much more difficult to get the answer you're looking for. You could send them an email and see what rolls out? Nothing to lose, really, but yeah, the larger the outfit the less they may be inclined to divulge their secrets...

Interestingly, I find that Blue Buck has a biscuity smell that I hadn't noticed before trying to clone it.
A little Biscuit Malt, such as Victory may do it. I'd seriously doubt Munich being used in Pale Ales.

They're a malting company too, so that could make exact cloning a bit more difficult unless you use their malts. Then there is process, process, process...

From some browsing I stumbled upon this:

Instead of finding or brewing the ultimate clone, maybe you can surpass it with something of your own?
Also by tasting/drinking more and different beers one develops their palate, and after a few years what used to be perceived as the pinnacle of beer may have shifted markedly. Don't stare blind on finding the one while you could be enjoying a plethora of other offerings, including your own homebrew efforts.
 
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