Archive for the ‘Amber’ Category

Red Squirrel (Rye of the Storm)

Posted: February 2, 2011 in Amber, IPA, Rye

Red Squirrel (Rye of the Storm) – 4 gallon batch
6.00 lbs Pale 2 Row
2.00 lbs Rye Malt
0.50 lbs Maris Otter
0.50 lbs Wheat Malt
0.40 lbs Caramel 60
0.40 lbs Caramel 80
0.40 lbs Special B
0.05 lbs Chocolate Malt
0.80 oz Chinook Whole Leaf Hops 11.6% (FWH)
0.50 oz Amarillo 10.3% (10 min)
0.50 oz Cascade 5.0% (10 min)
0.50 oz Amarillo 10.3% (5 min)
0.50 oz Cascade 5.0% (5 min)
1.00 oz Amarillo Whole Leaf Hops (0 min)
1.60 oz Amarillo Whole Leaf Hops (Dry Hop 14 Days)
1 tsp Irish Moss (10 mins)
1/2 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient (10 mins)
Safale US-05
1 Handful of snow from a Chicago blizzard

Mash @152ºF at 1.8qts/lb.  Pitch @72ºF.

Expected OG = 1.069
OG = 1.065 (73% efficiency)
FG = 1.012
IBU = 55.8
ABV = 6.9%
SRM = 18.3

02/02/11 – Well after 4 hours or so of shoveling over 20″ of snow during the great Chicago Blizzard of 2011, I finally got around to brewing a blizzard beer.  At first I had decided to brew a hoppy Rye.  I bought ingredients at the beer store so I’d have some leniency when making the recipe later at home.  I was enjoying a Green Flash Hop Head Red (which is an excellent beer might I add if you enjoy hoppy, malty, sessionable beers) while I was making the recipe.  I suddenly got the idea to make a hoppy Red Rye, and so began the madness that is recipe tweaking that took up 2 or 3 hours of my night.

I absolutely love American citrus hops, so I flavored with Cascade and Amarillo.  Next choice was bittering.  I told the guy at the homebrew store (who never seems to answer my questions right, even though well intentioned) I was looking for a high cohumulone bittering hop (The whole reason I’m interested in the cohumulone levels is that, lately, I’ve done a lot of reading stating that hops with high cohumulone levels give a much better tasting bitterness than their lower leveled counterparts.  This not only makes the bitterness more intense and enjoyable, it also helps enhance your aroma hops).  He told me Warrior was a good one.  When I got home I looked up Warrior and found them to be rather low in cohumulone content.  I’m guessing he didn’t know what he was talking about and didn’t want to look dumb, or assumed I was dumb and thought I meant alpha acid instead of cohumulone.  Luckily, I still had some whole leaf Chinook in my basement, that after inputting the numbers for hops aging, found the alphas to still be quite high.  So, I threw that in as a first wort hop to hopefully get some of that resinous pine flavor/aroma in the finished product.  I’ll save the warrior for bittering a big IPA.

Anyways, I ended up with a hybrid of a Rye/IPA/Amber Ale.  I guess that makes it an Amber Rye-PA.  It will have the spicyness of rye, the hop element of an American IPA, and the caramel malt character of an amber ale.  I used 1/3 of my caramel malts as special B in hopes that I can get some roasty dark fruit character to come through.  The 0.5 lb addition of Maris Otter was simply because I had it lying around and figured why not use it.  The color is just a little higher than what a deep red might be, and borders into what might be considered brown, but is still going to be amber colored in my book.

I’ve found that, unless I’m looking for a certain flavor profile in my beer (fruity esters, diacytel, spicy phenols), US-05 is a champion yeast.  Only about $3 for an 11g pouch, which is enough yeast, when properly rehydrated, to tear through anything up to 12% ABV and leave a highly attenuated, crisp, clean tasting beer.  If I was just making a malty red, sans hops, I may have went with Nottingham or a Wyeast/White Labs Irish variant that gave me some diacytel and fruity character and less attenuation.  Seeing as I wanted my hops to take the forefront over the malt, I stuck with US-05.

I ended up with a slightly lower efficiency, but I have a few ideas why.  One, I added rice hulls because the rye made it so my lautering wouldn’t start.  I did not make the mistake I made before by adding them to the beginning of the mash.  When I did that last time, they soaked up some of my sugars and lowered my efficiency into the 60% range.  But, I still believe some of the sugars may have been absorbed.  Two, I did not let my sparges soak like I usually do.  I wasn’t mashing out and I didn’t want too much conversion to happen (as I’m looking for a slight malt character here).  I also already brewed two days prior and didn’t feel like sitting around for an extra half hour.  Three, I have no idea how old the extra pound of two-row was that I threw in.  I found it in my grain drawer and figured why not.  Guess this means I should label stuff better in the future.

P.S.  This beer has a special ingredient.  It was made with a handful of real snow from the Chicago blizzard of 2011.

02/13/11 – Racked onto 1.6 oz of Amarillo leaf hops.  Bitterness takes over the malt character.  Amber brown color.  Very green taste.  I don’t know how to describe otherwise as what I’ve learned a green beer tastes like.

02/27/11 – Kegged @12psi @40ºF.  Tastes perfectly bitter.  Very nice hop presence.  The malt character should come through more in a few weeks as the hops start to subside.

05/02/11 – Finally hooked this guy back up since I have the Helles taking up lagering space.  All I have to say is excellent, excellent, EXCELLENT!  Perfect blend of sweetness and hoppy aroma/bitterness.  Wonderful amount of head.  I love how the darker caramel malts add less sweetness and more flavor.  Special B does not give any roast character either.