You may remember my Elkland Amber Lager from last Winter/Spring. This is an updated version of that beer, the most significant change being that switch to an ale. My original plan was to have this beer ready for family Thanksgiving festivities. As I mentioned in my last brew day post, I am way behind. That is a sixteen day turn around for a bottled beer. I don’t think that is going to work out, but that will just mean more beer for me. Aside from the different yeast, I made small adjustments to both the grains and the hops.
I have to say grains, not malts, because this is still an adjunct beer. The original was influenced heavily by Yuengling’s flagship Traditional Lager, and this version still utilizes corn to lighten the body. It is a pound less than last time, amounting to twenty one percent of the grist for this ten gallon batch. The other change in the grains is somewhat related. I cut back on the six row, which I include only to help provide enzymes to achieve conversion with the corn. The six row barley can impart a harsher grain flavor which I want to minimize.
It may or may not be necessary to include this six row at all with modern malts. The quality of malts available now have some people saying that six row is not necessary in any brewing situation. No one uses it for brewing outside of America, which you can read a couple ways. Sure it might not be strictly necessary but it also gives a definitive American touch to the beers that use it. Anyway, I’m not really committed to it, I am just nervous to cut it out entirely without more research. I was happy to replace two pounds of six row, plus the pound of corn with three pounds of standard Pale Malt here, though.
The only other malt here is Crystal 80L, which I used two pounds of, the same as in the original batch. This will bring not only the amber color, but significant sweet, caramel maltiness. The combination of corn to lighten the body and Crystal malt to beef up the malt character is, I think, the genius of Yuengling. I like Yuengling a lot more than a lot of craft brewed interpretations of amber ales and lagers because I think a lot of times those beers are Crystal run amok. They get too thick and sticky and I’m just not a fan.
Keeping the idea of balance going, I changed and upped the hops in this recipe. Yuengling uses a combination of Cluster and Cascade hops, so I did too in Elkland Amber Lager. I’ve decided that the Cluster, which I used for bittering, was not really adding anything in my beer. So I’ve opted to just use Cascade the whole way through.
I made note of the fact that I was adding hops later in the boil than some might think was normal for this type of beer last time, but I still didn’t think the hop character was high enough. My only late hop addition last time was an ounce at ten minutes from the end of the boil. This time, I’m adding an ounce at fifteen and another at five. Keep in mind that this is a ten gallon batch, those are still fairly low numbers but I hope to have SOME hop flavor and aroma in this beer.
The hops will be a bit diminished though, as I still don’t have the ability to do a full volume boil for a ten gallon batch. I have pushed my ten gallon kettle to its limits with this brew day. I started with nine gallons and had to be very vigilant for the first third of the boil to keep from having any major boil overs. I must admit, some wort did escape, but only in splashes, not full on disaster.
Now for the twist. I keep mentioning that this is a ten gallon batch, but the one that I’m writing about today isn’t. I did produce ten gallons of wort, but Elkland Amber Ale is only a five gallon batch. The other five going into a different project which I’ll fill you in on tomorrow. My recipe is below.
Elkland Amber Ale
Style: American Amber Ale
Brew Date: November 4, 2014
Serve Date: December, 2014
Expected FG: 1.012
Approximate ABV: 4.5%
47% 2 Row Pale Malt
21% 6 Row Pale Malt
21% 5 lb Flaked Corn
11% Caramel Malt 80L
(Plus a couple handfuls of Rice Hulls to keep the Corn from causing a stuck mash)
Hops (in a ten gallon batch):
.75 oz. Cascade @ 60 min
1 oz. Cascade @ 15 min
1 oz. Cascade @ 5 min