Monday, September 13, 2010

Beaverdam Red

Every fall we decorate our porch with several pumpkins – go figure, it seems like every one of my children’s classes takes a field trip to the pumpkin farm. Not wanting these brewing resources to go to waste, I set about putting together a Pumpkin Ale recipe. I thought that the baked pumpkins and spices might go well with an American Amber as the base recipe. So I purchased all of the ingredients and then didn’t get a chance to brew it until November (originally planned to brew in early October). Well, I didn’t want to be drinking Pumpkin Ale at Christmas and I already had the grains for an Amber, so I called an audible, changed the recipe around a little bit and basically turned my Amarillo Sky Pale Ale into a West Coast Style Amber Ale.

Here are the details:
Brew Date: 11/19/09
Beer Number: B8
Beer Name: Beaverdam Red
Type: American Amber Ale
Primary Fermenter: 6 ½ gal. plastic fermenter (114 days)
Secondary Fermenter: none
OG: 1.050
FG: 1.006
Expected IBU: 52
Expected SRM: 12
Expected Alcohol %: 4.8%

8.5 lbs. American 2-row malt
1 lbs. Crystal 60
.5 lbs. Crystal 80
1 lb. white wheat
½ oz. Amarillo pellet hops (7.0%AA) FWH
¾ oz. Warrior pellet hops (@15.0% AA) 60 min.
½ oz. Amarillo pellet hops (7.0%AA) 15 min.
½ oz. Amarillo pellet hops (7.0%AA) 10 min.
1 Whirfloc tablet @ 10 min.
.3 oz. Amarillo pellet hops (7.0%AA) 5 min.
1 qt. US05 yeast slurry from B5
1 pkg. US05 yeast – rehydrated in @1/3 cup water

I had a few problems with this one. With my batch sparge (second runnings), I heated the sparge water hotter than intended and the grain bed was over 180F. Thankfully I did not detect any excessive tannins in the finished beer. There was also a long lag before fermentation was visible. I used yeast slurry from a previous batch and it never started – I should know to make a starter, but didn’t get the chance. After about 3 days, I ended up pitching a packet of US05 to get fermentation started.

The beer ended up being really good – basically a sweeter version of my Amarillo Sky Pale Ale. Very hoppy, yet nice and caramelly. Unfortunately, as good as it was in December, it totally bombed in a competition 9 months later – evidently one of the bottles I sent in was a gusher. I’ve always worried about getting priming sugar mixed evenly throughout the 5 or so gallons, and this time it got me. I hope to have a kegerator soon and I’ll do any bottling from kegs. I have a kegging set up, but I need to build a kegerator for it.

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