BrewBlog: American Amber Ale
General Information
Method: All Grain

Recipe taken from Jamil Zainasheff's Brewing Classic Styles. Recipe substitutions include Amarillo for Centennial (what was in HBD stock), added bittering Perle to match IBU and made slight ingredient amount adjustments for batch size. Anticipated efficiency 70%, OG=1.052 and 5.25 gallon batch size.


Day 11 (primary): Seemed rather bland with little hop character despite what I added. Malt complexity Hopefully some carbonation will bring the flavor out. But otherwise clean tasting. This is the third use of 1056 yeast slurry, so far sanitation is good.

4-23-09: My worries about hop contributions have eased somewhat with proper carbonation and conditioning in the bottle. It's about 3 weeks since batch was bottled. The malt character is blending well with the hop flavor. I am happy.

4-24-09: Beer seems to be different in terms of carbonation from bottle to bottle, tending to be on the low end. Targeted 2.5 volumes but seems more like 1.5-2. The hops seem to have come forward of the malt somewhat. Could be because I undershot my target gravity (too much volume at end of boil). While each bottle seems a bit inconsistent from the last, it is still good and very drinkable.

4-29-09: Beer has a small lingering bitterness (?) on the tongue like my SNPA but less pronounced. Goes away when warmed. I can't say I'd want to drink this after its been in the fridge for a while. Harsh is one word, but it is easy drinking on warming, a completely different beer. Can't tell where this is coming from. Chill haze, but goes away when warm. Bottles in basement (~52F) are clearing.

5-24-09: Beer has mellowed out the young character and is a balanced brew, though I still wonder where all the hops have gone, but perhaps 0.5 oz @ 10 min and 0 min each is the fulcrum point for this kind of beer.

5-27-09: Taking some bottles to Beer Barons meeting for feedback.

7-14-09: Never got the feedback because I missed the meeting. Finished the last 22oz of this batch at a softball team picnic. This bottle actually tasted better than the last dozen I remember leaving me a bit confused about the true nature of this beer. This one was well balanced between malt and the citrusy hops and a nice bitterness and mouthfeel. Could be attributed to the age and/or the temperature at serving (cool to warm). Not sure if the variability results from my process or is the nature of bottling versus kegging. Repeat? Possibly will go with another recipe or try it again with the other JZ recipe with Centennial hops.

Scale Recipe
Enter desired final yield (volume):
Malts and Grains
1 tsp Irish Moss @ 15 minutes (Boil)  
.5 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 minutes (Boil)  
0.50 ounces 10.9% Pellets @ 60 minutes
Type: Bittering
Use: Boil
5.5 AAUs
0.20 ounces 7.5% Pellets @ 60 minutes
Type: Bittering
Use: Boil
1.5 AAUs
0.25 ounces 8.6% Pellets @ 10 minutes
Type: Bittering and Aroma
Use: Boil
2.2 AAUs
0.25 ounces 7.8% Pellets @ 10 minutes
Type: Bittering and Aroma
Use: Boil
2 AAUs
0.25 ounces 8.6% Pellets @ 0 minutes
Type: Aroma
Use: Aroma
2.2 AAUs
0.25 ounces 7.8% Pellets @ 0 minutes
Type: Aroma
Use: Aroma
2.2 AAUs
1.70 ounces Total Hop Weight 15.2 AAUs
Wyeast California Ale 1056 — Liquid — 100ml of yeast slurry
Mash Type: Infusion
Mash PH: ~5.7
Grain Amt. 11.25 pounds
PPG: 27.9
Efficiency: 80.18%
Grain Temp. 63° F
Tun Temp. 167° F
Sparge Amt. 3.3 gallons
Sparge Temp. 168° F
Step Description Temp. Time
Saccharification 3.5 gallons with salts @ 167F (tried to hit 154F, end of mash 148F) 153° F 60 min.
Mash-0ut 2 gallons @ 196F (tried to hit 168F) 150° F 10 min.
Sparge 3.3 gallons @ 170F ° F  min.

Still seem to be having problems reaching targeted step temperatures and maintaining heat during mash. May need insulation or mashtun has too much headspace. Should have used near boiling water for mash out and 185F+ for spargeBeing the geek and running some numbers...

86% conversion efficiency (OK, Corona mill, mash 60 minutes) and 74% efficiency into the kettle. There was still 1.5 liters of 1.022 wort in the tun after "running dry"...strange. Grain still probably absorbs .1 gal/lb with 1 cup deadspace if fully drained. Lautering could see some improvement but 74-75% is my target at this gravity, so I'm OK. Siphoning draws a vacuum that takes patience to clear, both here and going into fermenter.

Achieved only 11% boil off per hour when expecting 19%, so boiling rate needs to be dialed in. Ended up with 6.1 gallons when shooting for 5.5 gallons. 0.4 gal left in kettle after transfer to primary (planned 0.25 gal), ending up with 5.7 gallons wort in fermenter.

Corrections next time: 0.4 gal lost to trub, 15% boil off/hr (average of last 3 brews).

Attached blow-off tube, started bubbling noticeably somewhere between 18-24 hours.

Day 11 SG=1.011/12

Day 13 moved carboy to 50F basement to drop yeast and clear

Day 16 primed with 5 oz corn sugar and bottled

Day 29 Opened a late batch bottle. Carbonation in beer but little to no foam formation, but lingered. Hardly any aroma or hop flavor but sufficiently bitter. this point seems bland but could still be too young.

Primary: 13 days @ 64-66° F
Secondary: 3 days @ 50° F
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