Tweaking previous recipe help

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bosox

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UPDATED RECIPE:

Thanks for all the help, and the calculator was good. Here's a recipe I could use, what do you think?

Appx. Numbers:
OG: 1.050
FG: 1.012
IBU: 21
SRM: 12
ABV: 5.1%

3 lbs Light DME
3 lbs American Vienna
2 lbs Dark Munich
1 lb Crystal 60L
1 oz Hallertau Tradition (60mins)
1.5 oz Saaz (15mins)
2 oz Tettnanger (or 1oz Tettnanger + 1oz Cascade) 1min

Mash at 154F for 60mins, sparge. Add DME to boil to dissolve, then add Hallertau for 60mins, Saaz for 15min, Tettnanger at flameout. Still working on a yeast that will get the flavors I want. I'm thinking I'll go liquid for this one

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Original recipe used:
Appx. Numbers:
OG: 1.064
FG: 1.016
IBU: 43
SRM: 13
ABV: 6%

6lbs Muntons Amber DME
1lb American 6-Row Barley
1lb Dark Munich
1oz Magnum pellets (60mins appx. 14% AA)
1oz Williamette pellets (20mins appx. 4% AA)
1oz Mt. Hood pellets (1min appx. 4%)
.75oz Priming sugar (for conditioning)
SAFEALE American Ale Yeast.

The mash was done at somewhat higher temps from around 155-160F for 60mins, sparged, then dissolved extract, added hops. I did a basic single fermentation but the temps were on the high side, ranging from 72-77F for 9 days. I left it out in a very sunny area so it contributed to some skunky flavors and aromas.
 

Skyforger

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Use light DME instead of amber. It gives you more control over the process, and over your specialty grains.

I'm not sure what the 6-row is doing there. At 1 lb, it won't add any real flavor to the beer - it's a pretty generic base malt.

If you're looking to replace some the the DME with grain, replace as much as possible with a flavorful base malt - such as mild malt, vienna, or marris otter. To compensate for the lighter base malt (if you take my advice there), you could use amber malt - in sparing quantities, as it has a powerful flavor - or a crystal malt. Bear in mind that many commercial amber ales are made with only pale malt and medium crystal. You could consider this the standard to deviate from.

Also bear in mind that the stats you gave for this beer are somewhat stronger all around than the BJCP guidelines for the American Amber style. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; the BJCP isn't God. But it does indicate that your recipe produces a beer that is stronger than most commercial amber ales.

If you mix up hops at all, just use aromatic hops for bittering and flavor/aroma. I personally think it gives less resiny harshness, and at the homebrew scale the difference in hop cost is minimal. Leave the high AA hops for the large-scale brewers, who they were designed for. But then, I tend to follow the European style of hopping more, so if you're going for a bold American hopping style this may be just fine.

Above all, have fun and drink hearty (but not while conducting the mash; it screws things up).
 
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bosox

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Thanks for the response! I've used high alpha hops in nearly all my brews so far, and haven't really used any aromatic/flavor hops for bittering as well. I might want to try and sub them in for the Magnum definitely and possibly just change most of the hop arrangements in general.

As for the grains, I was originally going to use a 2-row but was suggested the 6-row would add more flavor. At the time of me brewing this (6 months ago) I had just ventured into grains and was weary of taking on a larger amount, so now I'm more comfrotable with using more pounds.

I could definitely do the Light DME, but if I up my grain bill and use some Crystal malt or something, should I also lower my DME total?

And yeah, some of the numbers are high, the OG was much higher and the IBU was pretty high. I subbed Saaz hops in and the IBU's fall right in line, if not on the low end which I think is what I want. I don't mind a bold taste, just so long as it's balanced. 've yet to brew a beer I find truly balanced in my own opinion yet, but this might have been the closest I've come.
 

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Don't know if you want to deviate completely, and I realize this doesn't relate to your desire to just tweak your current recipe.... but for a comparison to your recipe, here is the extract recipe (frees you up from doing a partial mash by the way) for an American Amber "West Coast Blaster" from the book Brewing Classic Styles:

OG 1.067
FG 1.015
IBU 66
Color 16 SRM
ABV 6.8%
Boil 60 min
Post boil volume 5.5 gal
Pre boil volume 7 gal
pre boil gravity 1.057

Extract:
English Pale Ale LME (3.5L) 8.75 lb
Munich (9L) 0.7 lb

Steeping Grains:
Crystal 40L 1 lb
Crystal 120L 5 lb
Victory 28L 0.5 lb
Pale Chocolate Malt 200L 3 oz

Hops:
Horizon 13% AA, 60 min
Cascade 6% AA, 10 min
Centennial 9% AA, 10 min
Cascade 6% AA, 0 min
Centennial 9% AA, 0 min

Yeast:
WLP001, 1056, or US-05

Ferment 67F

Carbonate at 2 to 2.5 volumes
 
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bosox

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Hmm that seems like a pretty serious recipe for me! Haha, this may sound like a somewhat rookie question here, but I thought a partial mash was any beer brewed with some grains but mostly extract? Or does the mash only refer to beers that are mashed in the 150F range instead of the "steeping" you mentioned at like 130F or so?

Also, with that recipe the hops are all mainly hops I've used before, and the high alpha variety again. I'm not saying I wouldn't try that recipe, I'll definitely save that, as I do like hoppy beers, but I wanted to try and go for a beer with more delicate/subtle flavors, and get some real hop aroma and flavor rather than IBU's.

I think I should use some Crystal malt though as it's been suggested in your post and Skyforger's.

Perhaps I could get rid of the 6-row and put some Crystal and Munich/Choclate malt, or maybe have something like 5lbs 6-row for a base, and have 1lb Crystal and 1lbChocolate/Munich?
 

Frodo

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... I thought a partial mash was any beer brewed with some grains but mostly extract? Or does the mash only refer to beers that are mashed in the 150F range instead of the "steeping" you mentioned at like 130F or so?
The answer to the first question is no, and to the second question is yes(ish). Basically a "mash" is conversion of starches to sugars both fermentable and non-fermentable by enzymes. Steeping simply dissolves sugars and flavors in the grain into the liquid. Mashing can happen anywhere from 120ish to 160ish, but typical yes in the 150ish area. Those temps are the temps that the enzymes in base malts will convert starches to sugars. Can't convert starch to sugar without the necessary enzymes and without the temp to make those enzymes active. When steeping grains you just have to dissolve the goodness from them... as I recall just keep the water below 170F for a period of time (20 min?) and the sugars etc will dissolve. Don't go above 170F with steeping or you'll likely extract tannins from the grain husks (the books and googles say it is so).

Some grains (like the 6-row in your recipe, but also any other "base malt" like 2-row, pilsner malt, wheat malt, rye) need to be mashed to get much out of them. These base malts have a high "diastatic power", and provide more than enough enzymes to convert the starch in themselves and the starch in other types of malts that don't have the necessary enzymes themselves. This is where mashing comes into particular importance. And when mashing, the consistency of the mash is really important to ensure enzyme and starch contact. The consistency of an effective mash is 1 to 2 qts of water per lb of grain. With steeping, the consistency doesn't matter.

Other malts, kilned malts, should be mashed but some flavors can come out by steeping (like Vienna, Munich, Aromatic, Biscuit, Victory, Special Roast). Base malts are necessary for most of these kilned malts to get the starches converted, as these malts do not generally have the diastatic power to convert the starches themselves.

Other malts, "roasted" malts and "kilned and roasted" malts can be steeped only or mashed (all the crystal malts, honey malt, special B, chocolate malts, roasted barley, black malts, etc).

Also, with that recipe the hops are all mainly hops I've used before, and the high alpha variety again. I'm not saying I wouldn't try that recipe, I'll definitely save that, as I do like hoppy beers, but I wanted to try and go for a beer with more delicate/subtle flavors, and get some real hop aroma and flavor rather than IBU's.
Sounds like you're really shooting for something to highlight the malt, not the hops. Have you tried a Scottish, Scotch, or Irish Ale? These don't provide much hop aroma or flavor, but highlight the malt instead.
 
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bosox

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So the steeping process is just 170F heat for a not so long period of time, and it extracts sugars, so fermentable sugars? Or is that just the flavoring non-fermentable sugars? I have some books I can look this up in so I'll do that as well, as I think your explanation shed some light on what exactly I want to be looking for in the first place! Haha

And yeah, I am leaning more towards a malty beer than a hoppy one, but I am interested in getting a nice aroma though from the hops. I would like subtle bitterness, and mostly malt delicate flavors, but enough low alpha hops in it to highlight their unique aroma, maybe some noble hops.
 

Frodo

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I don't want to give bad advice, so i'd look into the particulars of steeping yourself... been too long for me to remember exactly what I did when steeping, but check out How to Brew if you need to, available online http://howtobrew.com/

Also in your OP you mentioned high fermentation temps as I recall. Keeping fermentation at the appropriate temp is probably the #1 important thing to making good beer. Use a cold water bath if necessary, even in the tub. Definitely don't go above 170F for most yeasts/styles, unless it's necessary for that particular yeast/style.
 
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bosox

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Yeah the temperature got crazy. I had it fermenting in an un-insulated indoor porch, with lots and lots of sunlight during May, so the temps and sun exposure were bad. Just keeping those in control will probably help greatly, but I'd like to switch up the recipe, as I've never re-visited a recipe before, but thank you for your advice though!
 

Skyforger

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So far as the mashing vs. steeping goes: you can steep if you're just using specialty grains - that is, grains that are used to add flavor and color rather than fermentable sugars. Just have them in hot water for a while, below 170F. It's like making tea; you're just getting flavors and stuff from the grain, not really changing much in the grain. If you have base grains - i.e, the grains that provide the sugar to the beer - you need to mash to turn the starch into sugar, or do other conversions if necessary. This requires more specific temperature control to get the results you want. The most basic mash would be to just hold the temp around 150F, give or take 5F or so, for 45 minutes.

If you start using more pounds of grain in a mini-mash, you will need to adjust the amount of DME you use as the grains in the mash will provide some the the sugar. How much depends on the sort and amount of grain you mash. Online calculators can help you with this, such as the one found at http://beercalculus.hopville.com Just put in the correct quantities of each ingredient in the mash, then fiddle with DME quantities until the OG is where you want it.

For instance, here's a grain bill I think you could use:

Mash at 150F:
-3 lbs Vienna malt (a base malt with a light toasty flavor)
-2 lbs dark Munich malt (to add color and nutty sweetness, as in original)
-1 lb Crystal 60L (compensates for color lost by using light DME instead of amber; also, nice caramel flavor with a hint of roast)

Add 3 lbs light DME at boil.

This gives you a beer with an estimated 14 SRM, and an approximate OG of 1.059.
 
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bosox

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Thank you both so much for the help, I think I'm really starting to get a good final recipe for this beer. I'll fiddle with that calculator and with the one I usually use on Brewmasters Warehouse. I'll be sure to post the final recipe I decide on, it may be mostly different than the first, but the same starting point and basic flavors. Thanks again for all the help!
 
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bosox

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I updated the first post to show the recipe I think I've come up with, please let me know if you think it all balances out good for a nice delicate malty flavored American Amber Ale, with good hop aroma and flavor
 

dcp27

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UPDATED RECIPE:

Thanks for all the help, and the calculator was good. Here's a recipe I could use, what do you think?

Appx. Numbers:
OG: 1.050
FG: 1.012
IBU: 18 or 24
SRM: 12
ABV: 5.1%

3 lbs Light DME
3 lbs American Vienna
2 lbs Dark Munich
1 lb Crystal 60L
1 or 1.5oz Hallertau Tradition (60mins)
1 oz Saaz (15mins)
1 oz Tettnanger (1min)

Steep Munich and Crystal at 170F for about 45mins, then mash Vienna at 150F for 45-60min. Add DME to boil to dissolve, then add Hallertau for 60mins, Saaz for 15min, Tettnanger at flameout. Still working on a yeast that will get the flavors I want. I'm thinking I'll go liquid for this one.
why are you treating the malts differently? just mash them all at 154F for 60mins in around 2gallons. follow DeathBrewers guide if you haven't seen it yet: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/easy-partial-mash-brewing-pics-75231/

as for the yeast, id go british, something like S-04
 
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bosox

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I thought that you had to steep them at 170F to extract most of the flavors and aromas and the 150F temps were for mostly fermentable sugar extraction?
 

dcp27

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nope and 170F is actually bad in this circumstance cuz it'll denature the enzymes in the munich and you won't be able to extract any sugar from it. plus when you get into the 170s you risk extracting tannins from the grains
 

Skyforger

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True, you can bring the specialty grains up to higher temps than the base grains (though probably not more than 170, because of the tannins dcp27 mentioned), and if that's all you're using you may as well so you can reach boil faster afterward. But it's much easier to bring them all up to the same temperature together when you're actually mashing. You'll get the same flavors from the specialty grains while simultaneously mashing (making sugar from) the base grains.

So just do a single rest at 154 for 60 mins, like dcp27 suggested. That should do well. As far as the recipe goes....well, I like it, but then, I helped suggest it, so perhaps I'm no judge. I note you're using European rather than American varieties of hops for aroma. Personally, I would prefer that; I tend to like noble hops more than American hops in most styles. But American amber ales usually display American varieties such as Cascade in the aromas.

This is no fault; like I said, I personally would probably prefer it the way you have it. Just pointing out something I saw that doesn't match typical American ambers, to be sure you're aware of it.
 
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bosox

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Thanks for the help again dcp27 and skyforger. And yeah I noticed about the foriegn hop usage, but I wanted to try to get some nice aromas liek we talked about, and they seem to have the best. I thought about using Cascade too though, maybe I could use that as the flavoring hop. I'm not sure really. Maybe I should just change styles to a kind of English Ale or something, as it seems like that's what I'm aiming for.

Also, I was messing around with the calculators and reading more books, and I've noticed that they say adding more hops for flavor and aroma than bittering is better. So maybe I'll use 1 oz for bittering, 1.5oz for flavoring, and 2oz for aroma? I wonder if I could use a Tettnanger and Cascade for aroma or if that would just conflict themselves too much?
 

dcp27

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Maybe I should just change styles to a kind of English Ale or something, as it seems like that's what I'm aiming for.

Also, I was messing around with the calculators and reading more books, and I've noticed that they say adding more hops for flavor and aroma than bittering is better. So maybe I'll use 1 oz for bittering, 1.5oz for flavoring, and 2oz for aroma? I wonder if I could use a Tettnanger and Cascade for aroma or if that would just conflict themselves too much?
don't get caught up in following styles & such unless you're entering it into a competition. the fun of homebrewing is getting to make beer exactly how you want it.

you can bump up those hops if you want, but that looks like an IPA without the bitterness. not that thats a bad thing, personally I like it
 

Skyforger

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Well, adding more hops for flavor/aroma than bittering isn't necessarily better. It creates more hop aromas and flavors. Is that what you want? Then do that. It would be the way you would make an on-style czech pilsner, for example. It wouldn't be a good way to make an abbey dubbel. Heavy hop aroma/flavor isn't typical for an American amber, but is certainly acceptable.

Adding both Tettnanger and Cascade....I feel that the Cascade would tend to overwhelm the more delicate Tettnanger. The result, I suspect, would be mostly like an American hop addition with a bit of complexity underneath. It could be nice. But using all noble hops would be really nice too.

As the recipe stands now, what we basically have is this: German/Czech hops, German grains, and a British yeast all recruited to make an American style of ale. Kind of cool. I wouldn't go re-catagorizing it as anything but an amber ale, though; that's what this recipe is at heart. It should just have little flourishes from the old world about it.

I don't mean to be vague. But there are no cut-and-dried 'answers' in recipe formulation - especially not if you're willing to bend the stylistic bounding boxes a bit. A world of traditions and ingredients lies open to you.

Isn't that awesome?
 
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bosox

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Yeah haha I think we've taken this recipe to many places, and all of which I like. I'm definitely going to brew this beer. I like the idea of using noble hops, and upping the aroma and flavors, and want some delicate ones at that. The sweet toasted maltyness of it will be great I think too.

Eventually I'd like to keep tweaking this recipe (maybe 1-2 more batches) and just enter it in the Sam Adams Long Shot competition later on. I'll have to just call it an Old World Amber haha
 

Skyforger

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Yeah, it does seem to kind of have the balance between accessibility and interest they tend to look for. Keep working at it! I like the concept.
 
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bosox

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Yeah I tasted the winner for this season at one of the Patriots games, it was surprisingly sweet for it's appearance and aroma though....and it cost me $10 xP

But I'll keep fooling around with this recipe, I really hope I can brew this soon within the next month or so maybe.
 
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