Apr 11 2008
American Amber or Red Ale is definitely a West Coast classic, yet has a very wide interpretation. There are many commercial examples. Some that I think are similar to an ESB (or even called such), some with very complex malt profiles, and yet others that are closer to a somewhat darker interpretation of an IPA. Here is an attempt at not too complex of a grain bill, with perhaps a somewhat unique hop schedule. Will also attempt to reduce the attenuation (as compared to the Pale Ale) to balance out the slightly higher IBUs and accentuate the malt a bit more.
Follows is our recipe for 13.5 gallons of finished beer:
22.00 lb. American Two-row Pale Malt
2.50 lb. American Crystal 60L Malt
1.00 lb. American Victory Malt
0.50 lb. American Crystal 120L Malt
0.25 lb. American Chocolate Malt
(SRM ~ 14, target gravity 1.055)
1.00 oz. Newport 11.1% AA, 60 min.
2.00 oz. Amarillo 8.2% AA, 10 min.
2.00 oz. Columbus 12.0% AA, 5 min.
1.00 oz. Nugget (whole/leaf) 12.0% AA, Hop-back
1.00 oz. Amarillo (whole/leaf) 8.4% AA, Hop-back
1.00 oz. Nugget (whole/leaf) 12.0% AA, Dry hopped
1.00 oz. Amarillo (whole/leaf) 8.4% AA, Dry hopped
(IBU ~ 31)
2 vile WLP001 California ale yeast, 2000 ml. starter 24 hours on the stir plate
Straight forward single infusion mash:
alpha rest, target 155° F / recorded 156° F, 75 min.
The mash temperature is intentionally higher then the Pale Ale, to increase body and leave a little more residual (unfermented) sugar. The sweater finished beer should balance out the more aggressive hop schedule.
Do to the larger batch size and target gravity, batch sparging kind of pushed the limits of the mash tun. However, was able to collect about 15 gallons of sweat wort at around 1.053 Specific Gravity. This boiled down some during the 65 min. boil, and some lose in the hop back / crash cycle, was left with (again roughly) 13.5 gallons at an Original Specific Gravity of 1.058
Crashed the wort down to 72° F and pitched. There were some temperature control issues with this batch. The 10 day primary fermentation (reportedly) peaked out at 78° F, which may result in stronger (maybe fruity, or alcohol) flavors. The two weeks of secondary conditioning were at a much more suitable 68° F. The dry hops being added in the last week / week and half. Final gravity coming down to 1.0145 Specific Gravity.
Racking beer off of free floating hops can be tricky, and has giving me a lot of trouble in the past. I need to post a picture, but I’ve found that one can slip the mesh lint traps found at your local home improvement stores (super cheap) over the business end of the racking cane. This strains the wort really great, with a very minimal amount of hop matter getting through to the keg.
Orig. Specific Gravity 1.058
Final Specific Gravity 1.015
Alcohol by Volume ~5.5 %