Your favourite AK recipe?

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Miraculix

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Evening Gentleman,

I recently happened to stumble upon a few recipes from the Ron Pattinson blog for AKs.

I had no idea that AK was actually a British beer style, unfortunately extinct nowadays.

Anyway, plenty of AK recipes on Ron's blog, but have you brewed one and which one did you like the most?

From what I understand, ak is made from pale malt, invert syrup and flaked corn. Typical percentages are 80/10/10.
Please correct me if I'm wrong, I just read a little bit and have no idea if this is correct.

Which yeast would be best? Full blown English flavour bomb or something more restricted?

Any other info on AKs? I googled but information is scarce...
 

cyberbackpacker

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These are the three AKs from Ron's blog that I brew often. The Eldridge Pope and Russell recipes tend to skew higher on the percentage of invert to maize that you mention, whereas the Boddingon goes with a heavier dose of Maize respective to Invert.

That said, I use 1469 for all of my bitters, butrons, milds, etc. I have been using the same pitch for ~5 years now. I put it up against 8 other UK yeasts and it was the favorite, and has remained my favorite. Just a quality, consistent performer, malt presence and hop character are both distinct but balanced. I always recommend it.

For hops, I typically riff on some combination of UK Fuggles/EKG but may also do a Cluster/EKG or Target/Bramling Cross...

Nevertheless, I think if you start with one of the three mentioned you will be pleased right away, and then you can tinker as/if you see fit.

1896 Eldridge Pope AK
1911 Russell AK
1914 Boddington AK
 

kmarkstevens

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Nice recipes. West Yorkie is a wonderful yeast that is hard to go wrong with. I want to winnow down by English yeast bank, and W Yorkie is one of my keepers (not to be confused with Yorkshire Squares, which is too much yeast for me).

This was the first one I tried, only because it had a IBU = 56 and it remains in my regular rotation nearly a decade later. 1930 Whitbread AK (the page has 3 AK recipes so scroll down for the whitbread recipe.

These are my learnings after brewing up half a dozen recipes and looking at a whole flock of Ron's AK recipes. Full disclosure: off-the-cuff rather than the result of painstaking research. My kidlet also gifted me one of Ron's birthday beer recipes and specified a low ABV beer. Ron found one brewed on my birthdate but had to go back about 4 decades to find a low ABV recipe. Wonderful partigyled Fullers that had an PA (10.54), XK (10.40) and an AK (10.32). I thanked Ron for finding that, and got a nice email back. Shameless plug: if you like the Shut Up blog, least you can do is buy a book or gift a recipe.

AK guidelines:
  • English pale (50-75%)
  • 6 row (10-50%) for the graininess
  • Corn flaked (3-10%) for sweetness to balance the hopping rate
  • Invert or crystal (10-15%)
  • Do a dry hop
  • Mash lower 148-152F (BUT I personally prefer to mash high at 158F)
  • IBU 40-60 (owing to the corn, AK's can take high hopping without being overpowered. ordinary bitter is more like 20-35 as less sweet. I tried a side by side comparison with all things equal except for the corn. The one with corn was nicely balanced @IBU=57, the one without corn was way too hoppy and unbalanced)
  • OG no more than 1040 ish
  • Tend to finish dry at 1010 or lower
  • Any of these English yeasts: Notty, w yorkie, Fullers, Whitbread (S-04 & WLP017 combined or seperately), London Ale, etc. I would avoid the fruitier yeasts like Windsor for this style.

    My learnings or personal preferences
  • Corn sweetens the AK vs non-corn, therefore can support much hoppier IBU. BU:GU 1.0 - 1.5. The brew off was 1.25 and certainly not too hoppy
  • Ordinary bitters more like BU:GU 0.7 - 0.9
  • I prefer to keep the corn at the low end of the range around 5% (Maybe even 3%)
  • When compared with an ordinary bitter, the ordinary bitter without corn has a lot more hop taste and bitterness on the back end. Pale malt only (no corn or 6 row) probably should be BU:GU of .8 or .9 max
@Miraculix While there are AK recipes without 6 row, I humbly submit that 6-row is an essential ingredient for the style. 6-row imbibes a graininess that works well. Some recipes have continental malt instead, and I believe that was more true of the older recipes rather than those found in the 1920's and 1930's, which have 6-row.

Happy Brewing
 
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Miraculix

Miraculix

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These are the three AKs from Ron's blog that I brew often. The Eldridge Pope and Russell recipes tend to skew higher on the percentage of invert to maize that you mention, whereas the Boddingon goes with a heavier dose of Maize respective to Invert.

That said, I use 1469 for all of my bitters, butrons, milds, etc. I have been using the same pitch for ~5 years now. I put it up against 8 other UK yeasts and it was the favorite, and has remained my favorite. Just a quality, consistent performer, malt presence and hop character are both distinct but balanced. I always recommend it.

For hops, I typically riff on some combination of UK Fuggles/EKG but may also do a Cluster/EKG or Target/Bramling Cross...

Nevertheless, I think if you start with one of the three mentioned you will be pleased right away, and then you can tinker as/if you see fit.

1896 Eldridge Pope AK
1911 Russell AK
1914 Boddington AK
Thanks for the info!

I think I will brew the third one, Matthew a tiny bit adapted. It is fairly simple, I like that. Unfortunately I have no access to 6row. As there's no specification there regarding the pale malt, I hope to get away with mo.

Nice recipes. West Yorkie is a wonderful yeast that is hard to go wrong with. I want to winnow down by English yeast bank, and W Yorkie is one of my keepers (not to be confused with Yorkshire Squares, which is too much yeast for me).

This was the first one I tried, only because it had a IBU = 56 and it remains in my regular rotation nearly a decade later. 1930 Whitbread AK (the page has 3 AK recipes so scroll down for the whitbread recipe.

These are my learnings after brewing up half a dozen recipes and looking at a whole flock of Ron's AK recipes. Full disclosure: off-the-cuff rather than the result of painstaking research. My kidlet also gifted me one of Ron's birthday beer recipes and specified a low ABV beer. Ron found one brewed on my birthdate but had to go back about 4 decades to find a low ABV recipe. Wonderful partigyled Fullers that had an PA (10.54), XK (10.40) and an AK (10.32). I thanked Ron for finding that, and got a nice email back. Shameless plug: if you like the Shut Up blog, least you can do is buy a book or gift a recipe.

AK guidelines:
  • English pale (50-75%)
  • 6 row (10-50%) for the graininess
  • Corn flaked (3-10%) for sweetness to balance the hopping rate
  • Invert or crystal (10-15%)
  • Do a dry hop
  • Mash lower 148-152F (BUT I personally prefer to mash high at 158F)
  • IBU 40-60 (owing to the corn, AK's can take high hopping without being overpowered. ordinary bitter is more like 20-35 as less sweet. I tried a side by side comparison with all things equal except for the corn. The one with corn was nicely balanced @IBU=57, the one without corn was way too hoppy and unbalanced)
  • OG no more than 1040 ish
  • Tend to finish dry at 1010 or lower
  • Any of these English yeasts: Notty, w yorkie, Fullers, Whitbread (S-04 & WLP017 combined or seperately), London Ale, etc. I would avoid the fruitier yeasts like Windsor for this style.

    My learnings or personal preferences
  • Corn sweetens the AK vs non-corn, therefore can support much hoppier IBU. BU:GU 1.0 - 1.5. The brew off was 1.25 and certainly not too hoppy
  • Ordinary bitters more like BU:GU 0.7 - 0.9
  • I prefer to keep the corn at the low end of the range around 5% (Maybe even 3%)
  • When compared with an ordinary bitter, the ordinary bitter without corn has a lot more hop taste and bitterness on the back end. Pale malt only (no corn or 6 row) probably should be BU:GU of .8 or .9 max
@Miraculix While there are AK recipes without 6 row, I humbly submit that 6-row is an essential ingredient for the style. 6-row imbibes a graininess that works well. Some recipes have continental malt instead, and I believe that was more true of the older recipes rather than those found in the 1920's and 1930's, which have 6-row.

Happy Brewing
Thank you!

I think I have no access to 6 row here in Germany. Is there any equivalent, taste-wise? I will have Maris Otter and Chevalier on hand plus some unspecified pale malt from Germany.

To be honest, I never looked for 6row, there might even be some in the online shops here... I'll have a look.

Anyway, thanks for the info, I guess my first ak will be something like 85% Pale, 10% corn (I really want to see what the corn brings to the table) and 5% homemade invert. Og around 1.04, I like low abv beers. Yeast probably Imperial pub, as I'm going to have it on hand, after my next bitter.
 

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Ron's book, The Homebrewer's Guide to Vintage Beer has one AK recipe in the chapter on Bitter while some of his blog posts show it as a Pale Ale and then Kristen on Ron's blog calls is a Pale Mild. Elsewhere on Shut Up About Barclay Perkins Mr. Pattinson says "Lot's of stuff thrown around about what this style was so we won't go into it." but he is pretty enthusiastic about it and for good reason. Damn fine beer.

The recipe in the aforementioned book is the first AK recipe Ron ever found. It comes from Fuller's brewery in 1910...

Pale malt 2 row - 37.847%
Pale malt 6 row - 37.84%
Flaked corn - 5.41%
No 2 invert sugar - 5.41%
No. 3 invert sugar - 13.51%
Cluster 90 min - 1oz
Fuggles 60 min - 1oz
Golding 30 min - 1oz
OG 1045
FG 1009
ABV 4.76
SRM 10
Mash 150F (65.6C)
Boil tie 90min
Pitching temp 60F (15.6C)
Yeast Wyeast 11968 London ESB or White Labs WLP002 English Ale
Apparent attenuation 80.00%
 
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kmarkstevens

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I think I have no access to 6 row here in Germany. Is there any equivalent, taste-wise? I will have Maris Otter and Chevalier on hand plus some unspecified pale malt from Germany.

To be honest, I never looked for 6row, there might even be some in the online shops here... I'll have a look.

Anyway, thanks for the info, I guess my first ak will be something like 85% Pale, 10% corn (I really want to see what the corn brings to the table) and 5% homemade invert. Og around 1.04, I like low abv beers. Yeast probably Imperial pub, as I'm going to have it on hand, after my next bitter.
6-row has a grainy taste. It might be labeled as a distillers malt such as "Kentucky distiller malt."

I would hop your recipe to at least BU:GU ratio of 1 if not 1.25.

Have never tried Chevalier and I have not seen it listed at any of the major homebrew suppliers. Is it really "noticeably" better than MO or GP? Or about equivalent? Or to say this a different way, would you recommend I go out of my way and pay 5x the cost of Maris Otter to try some?
 
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Miraculix

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6-row has a grainy taste. It might be labeled as a distillers malt such as "Kentucky distiller malt."

I would hop your recipe to at least BU:GU ratio of 1 if not 1.25.

Have never tried Chevalier and I have not seen it listed at any of the major homebrew suppliers. Is it really "noticeably" better than MO or GP? Or about equivalent? Or to say this a different way, would you recommend I go out of my way and pay 5x the cost of Maris Otter to try some?
Short on time, so the short version:

It is completely different!!! It has more character than any other base malt I ever tried. It could be best described as if there is a hint of crystal malt goodness inside, without the sweetness.

You can buy it at themaltmiller.co.uk, I don't know about any retailer in the us unfortunately...
 

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I can get floor Crisp Chevalier at my lhbs in St. Louis via a regular group buy. Full sack for $79 vs $67 for their floor malted MO. Distributed by BSG.
 

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Chevalier is a bit too raw grain/cereal for me. When I first tried it I thought it would be good for those folks searching for the "it" flavor.
 
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might be perfect for a AK. 6-Row may provide what might be an equivalent raw grain/cereal taste?
Chevalier is THE old school barley for British ales. After it disappeared, crystal malt was invented, some say there might be a connection as the missing extra flavour from Chevallier must have been compensated for somehow.

It has a higher protein content then modern barley varieties and it leaves a bit higher fg then mo, for example. I love it. You can brew a goldings/chevallier smash as a bitter and wouldn't miss a thing.
 

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Chevalier is THE old school barley for British ales. After it disappeared, crystal malt was invented, some say there might be a connection as the missing extra flavour from Chevallier must have been compensated for somehow.

It has a higher protein content then modern barley varieties and it leaves a bit higher fg then mo, for example. I love it. You can brew a goldings/chevallier smash as a bitter and wouldn't miss a thing.
Oh, I've heard about Chevalier, and it was the dominant malting barley from something like 1820 - 1920. There was a yield or disease issue which led to it being kept alive in a seed bank, and it was recently revived for the Obadiah Poundage Goose Island beer.

Anyhoo, now that I've located a brewshop that has it, I ordered 10# to see for myself. Note: the shipping the brewshop quoted was local to the Houston area, and I'm several zones away in Seattle. So, bit the bullet and ordered 10#, with the shipping just about equal to the grain cost. Works out to only double the price of MO. ;)

Anyone with a good recipe to showcase the Chevalier? I assume an ordinary or best bitter, favorite english hops and yeast? Mash Temp?
 
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Oh, I've heard about Chevalier, and it was the dominant malting barley from something like 1820 - 1920. There was a yield or disease issue which led to it being kept alive in a seed bank, and it was recently revived for the Obadiah Poundage Goose Island beer.

Anyhoo, now that I've located a brewshop that has it, I ordered 10# to see for myself. Note: the shipping the brewshop quoted was local to the Houston area, and I'm several zones away in Seattle. So, bit the bullet and ordered 10#, with the shipping just about equal to the grain cost. Works out to only double the price of MO. ;)

Anyone with a good recipe to showcase the Chevalier? I assume an ordinary or best bitter, favorite english hops and yeast? Mash Temp?
I'd use it in an ordinary bitter. Or if you really want to know, in a pale lager without much hops.

5 -10% invert,. 30 ibus from Golding's @60 and 15 minutes, Imperial pub or another low attenuating English yeast of your choice and an og of about 1.04-1.043.

This should be good!

Btw.i just ordered 7kg directly from the UK under similar conditions :D

I even will have to pay import taxes on it.
 

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This isn't one of Mr. Pattinson's recipes, however it does make a nice beer in the AK-ish style. I wrote it decades ago, at a time when milds were barely understood in the States and pale milds were merely a rumor. It was my first foray into trying to understand how a pale mild might work. As luck would have it, people really seem to like it. As I've learned more about the pale mild/AK style, this recipe becomes increasingly embarrassing. Nevertheless, it has remained something I brew each year because it makes a nice Spring beer.

It's called Mom's Pale Mild because my mother, one of Randy Mosher's effete wine snobs, thinks this beer "...isn't terrible. In fact, I would like another glass. Maybe just half." She thinks the rest of my beers are crap.

Mom's Pale Mild

OG: 1.040
FG: 1.009
IBU 20-ish

Water: Go heavy on the calcium chloride, keep your water round and fat.

Mash: Single infusion, mash low and long, the water will provide the mouth feel.

80% UK pale malt (Optic is great, but I really like Warminster Otter for this one)
10% Wheat malt (I now use corn)
5% Amber (Biscuit/Victory will do, but it's more one-dimensional)
5% C20 (this shouldn't be here, but its absence diminishes the beer--heaven knows I've tried)

.5oz Bramling Cross @ 90
.5oz Bramling Cross @ 15
.5oz EKG @ 5
(Optional .25-.5 EKG keg dry hop)

Yeast: 1469. It has to be 1469, 1968 won't cut it. Pub is okay, but 1469 is what you want.

There's a lot of stuff about this recipe that violates the AK style. All the same, it is my favorite version of the style (and I use the term "style" loosely because it's a very loose style).
 
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This isn't one of Mr. Pattinson's recipes, however it does make a nice beer in the AK-ish style. I wrote it decades ago, at a time when milds were barely understood in the States and pale milds were merely a rumor. It was my first foray into trying to understand how a pale mild might work. As luck would have it, people really seem to like it. As I've learned more about the pale mild/AK style, this recipe becomes increasingly embarrassing. Nevertheless, it has remained something I brew each year because it makes a nice Spring beer.

It's called Mom's Pale Mild because my mother, one of Randy Mosher's effete wine snobs, thinks this beer "...isn't terrible. In fact, I would like another glass. Maybe just half." She thinks the rest of my beers are crap.

Mom's Pale Mild

OG: 1.040
FG: 1.009
IBU 20-ish

Water: Go heavy on the calcium chloride, keep your water round and fat.

Mash: Single infusion, mash low and long, the water will provide the mouth feel.

80% UK pale malt (Optic is great, but I really like Warminster Otter for this one)
10% Wheat malt (I now use corn)
5% Amber (Biscuit/Victory will do, but it's more one-dimensional)
5% C20 (this shouldn't be here, but its absence diminishes the beer--heaven knows I've tried)

.5oz Bramling Cross @ 90
.5oz Bramling Cross @ 15
.5oz EKG @ 5
(Optional .25-.5 EKG keg dry hop)

Yeast: 1469. It has to be 1469, 1968 won't cut it. Pub is okay, but 1469 is what you want.
Thanks! Double the ibus and you got an ak!
 

Bramling Cross

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Thanks! Double the ibus and you got an ak!
Pretty much. That's the thing about this recipe, State-side, we thought an AK was a weapon of Commie subversion when I wrote this recipe. In fact, it was likely around 40 IBU (if not more--I sure loved me some hops back then!) when I first wrote it. Over time, it came down because fewer IBU suited the beer. I'm not a big believer in styles, but I am a big believer in beers that make sense. This one made a lot more sense at 20-ish IBU.
 
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Pretty much. That's the thing about this recipe, State-side, we thought an AK was a weapon of Commie subversion when I wrote this recipe. In fact, it was likely around 40 IBU (if not more--I sure loved me some hops back then!) when I first wrote it. Over time, it came down because fewer IBU suited the beer. I'm not a big believer in styles, but I am a big believer in beers that make sense. This one made a lot more sense at 20-ish IBU.
Basically a pale mild, sounds good to me!
 

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Oh, I've heard about Chevalier, and it was the dominant malting barley from something like 1820 - 1920. There was a yield or disease issue and it was recently revived for the Obadiah Poundage Goose Island beer.

Anyhoo, now that I've located a brewshop that has it, I ordered 10# to see for myself. Note: the shipping the brewshop quoted was local to the Houston area, and I'm several zones away in Seattle. So, bit the bullet and ordered 10#, with the shipping just about equal to the grain cost. Works out to only double the price of MO. ;)
Chevallier was revived long before the Obadiah Poundage limited edition by Goose Island.
 

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Pretty much. That's the thing about this recipe, State-side, we thought an AK was a weapon of Commie subversion when I wrote this recipe. In fact, it was likely around 40 IBU (if not more--I sure loved me some hops back then!) when I first wrote it. Over time, it came down because fewer IBU suited the beer. I'm not a big believer in styles, but I am a big believer in beers that make sense. This one made a lot more sense at 20-ish IBU.
If you added 5% flaked corn/maize, then it probably would be nicely balanced at twice the IBU. The corn sweetness can manage the hopping rate. At least, that was my result of a side by side brewing of an AK with and without the corn.
 

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If you added 5% flaked corn/maize, then it probably would be nicely balanced at twice the IBU. The corn sweetness can manage the hopping rate. At least, that was my result of a side by side brewing of an AK with and without the corn.
I completely agree. It's amazing what corn does to IBUs. Last year, I got serious about CAPs and Clusters hops. If you're brave enough to run 30% corn you can throw all the "catty/coarse/unrefined" Clusters IBUs you want at a grist and it'll present itself as smooth and rounded bitterness. Eventually, I suppose the NEIPA boys will figure this out. Corn is killer secret weapon.
 
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I completely agree. It's amazing what corn does to IBUs. Last year, I got serious about CAPs and Clusters hops. If you're brave enough to run 30% corn you can throw all the "catty/coarse/unrefined" Clusters IBUs you want at a grist and it'll present itself as smooth and rounded bitterness. Eventually, I suppose the NEIPA boys will figure this out. Corn is killer secret weapon.
OK, I got to try this even more now!
 

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It is basically the fore runner to bitter, usually pale though.
 

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What is AK beer?
The term is debatable, however there is a bit of consensus based on an old article from an anonymous “Aroma” in a magazine (the brewing details suggest Aroma knew what he was talking about) that noted AK as “Keeping Ale”. Keeping as in it can be stored longer. It goes back to when terms weren’t scientific and driven by trade convenience.

There are other theories that for make enjoyable reading that I suspect were driven by savvy marketing from AK brewers.
 

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AK is an English beer. English brewery's often used letter designations to distinguish the beers they brewed. Sometimes determining what these letter designations meant can be difficult. AK is one of those. Some call it a pale mild while others say bitter or pale ale. Even knowledgable and respected beer historians like Ron Pattinson have difficulty nailing it down.
 
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I wonder if the corn sweetness would play well with the vanilla-ish flavour that the new lallemand verdant IPA yeast provides.

I got a pack in my fridge and actually wanted to try it with a true and tested bitter recipe first, but now I'm so curious about this ak type of beer. But I guess I brew a normal bitter first, otherwise I wouldn't know which part of the flavour comes from the yeast and which from the corn.
 
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Gentleman,

I won't receive my British malts until this weekend due to parcel Brexit madness, so I have to improvise to be able to brew something this weekend.

I came up with the verdant ak:

I have to work with what I got on hand. Which is pilsener and probably some pale ale malt.

Do you guys think that it might be worth to throw in something like 10- 20% Vienna or Munich, instead of the 6-row?

Otherwise, the recipe will look something like:

80% basemalt
10% medium invert homemade
10% corn

I will restrain from adding my obligatory 10% of wheat for head retention and will aim to hit 40ibus and an og of 1.045.

Mash 1h at 65c, then mashout for 20 minutes @77c.

Yeast is lallemand verdant IPA.
 

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@Miraculix looks good considering what you have on hand.

That said I wouldn’t hesitate to replace 10% of your base malt with Munich. Additionally if you want to add 5 to 10% wheat malt, I think that would be fine too.
 
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@Miraculix looks good considering what you have on hand.

That said I wouldn’t hesitate to replace 10% of your base malt with Munich. Additionally if you want to add 5 to 10% wheat malt, I think that would be fine too.
I have clarity issues when I use wheat... Doesn't really bother me to be honest, but since a long time, I wanted to try if I can produce a decent head without any wheat anyway, so that's just a good chance for it.
 

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I think you're targeting the spirit of AK and not trying a historic re-creation, so the recipe looks pretty good. To my mind, the "spirit" of AK means 5-10% corn off set by a high hopping rate.

Older AK recipes had continental malt instead of the 6 row, so a mix of pale and pilsner is more or less in "style". I prefer dropping the corn to 5%, and maybe up the IBU to 45-50 range. No experience with the Verdant IPA yeast so as long as you like it then it should translate to a likeable brew.
 
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I think you're targeting the spirit of AK and not trying a historic re-creation, so the recipe looks pretty good. To my mind, the "spirit" of AK means 5-10% corn off set by a high hopping rate.

Older AK recipes had continental malt instead of the 6 row, so a mix of pale and pilsner is more or less in "style". I prefer dropping the corn to 5%, and maybe up the IBU to 45-50 range. No experience with the Verdant IPA yeast so as long as you like it then it should translate to a likeable brew.
Thanks.

Yes, I have actually no choice at the moment as I have to work with what I got on hand. I think I will drop the og to 1.04.

The ten percent corn are there because I really want to see what corn brings to the table. I am prepared to having it a bit overdosed.

I don't know verdant IPA myself, it is supposed to be almost identical to London ale lll. Many people like this one, so I thought, as I got it on hand, why not.
 
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Miraculix

Miraculix

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I brewed it!

Now it is doing it's no chill on the stove top, verdant ipa will be pitched tomorrow.

I used 10,8% corn (instant polenta, no cereal mash needed and cheap! :)), 10,8% raw cane sugar in form of homemade invert (i guess it was invert 2, tasted like cotton candy!), 9% Munich malt and the rest pale ale malt. Bittered with Ariana hops up until about 43 IBUs. The OG was at about 1.04, so pretty much spot on. I will do a dry hop with brewers gold for two days before botteling. I guess I will use about 1.5g per litre. Or maybe 2? Let's see. I do not want to overpower it. Maybe even 1g/l is enough? I mean, this is a historical beer style, and not a modern hop bomb.
 
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