Author Topic: Imperial Red / Drake's Expedition - Advice needed  (Read 1213 times)

Offline pfooti

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Imperial Red / Drake's Expedition - Advice needed
« on: April 28, 2011, 08:36:20 AM »
I'm fiddling around with my own take on the IBA/CDA category. This is what I brewed last time:

7 lb American 2-row
5 lb Munich 10L Malt
1 lb Carared
1 lb Oat Flakes
8 oz C 120°L
4 oz Pale Chocolate 200L

0.75 oz Warrior (16.0%) - 60 min
0.5 oz Centennial (10.0%) - 20 min
0.5 oz Simcoe (12.7%) - 20 min
0.25 oz Centennial (10.0%) - 5 min
0.25 oz Simcoe (12.7%) - 5 min
0.5 oz Amarillo (11.2%) - dry
0.5 oz Citra (11.1%) - dry

It worked pretty well, I think. Kind of a beefy american brown ale or riff on the CDA style (but more malty than as I understand the dark-IPA style). I mashed at 152F, hit 1.070 OG, 1.014 FG, and used Pacman yeast. This time around, I'm using 1056 (I'm getting really poor bottle-conditioning with a lot of my Pacman batches) instead. I'd also like to shift the recipe around. I'd love some feedback.

Here are some specific things I'm thinking about:

1) Change the oatmeal. I put that in there because Drakes Expedition Ale has oatmeal (or so they claim). I like it in oatmeal stouts a lot, but I think maybe just shifting to either wheat malt or a bit of carapils would be better. Unsure about this, but I'm mostly putting it in here for body and mouthfeel.

2) Swap the pale chocolate for a darker chocolate malt or a mix of chocolate and roast barley. I like the general taste of the beer, but I feel like it could use a little more roastiness.

3) Definitely change the carared for traditional C40, since I have about thirty pounds of C40 in my garage. Probably reduce the amount added to 12 ounces, since I'm not using pacman anymore (which seems to attenuate better, especially in crystal-heavy recipes).

4) Probably change the hopping schedule to include a 30 minute whirlpool / hopstand with the 5 minute additions. Just recently started doing that, and I like how it works with the late hop additions. Also worth noting that I actually brew on an 18 gallon batch size, but I figured the recipe would be more approachable at this size. So a half-hour whirlpool only drops my wort to about 175F or thereabouts.

5) Might bump down the warrior a tad and bump up the 20-minute additions on balance. More flavor, same bittering. I am worried though about the array of hops used here. That's a lot of different stuff. The beer doesn't taste muddled as-is, but I'm worried that if I mess with it, it will start tasting muddled and kitchen-sinky.

Overall, my goal is to take this beer and push it ever-so-slightly in a more toast-with-marmalade direction. A bit more citrus hops, a bit more roast from the malt.

Offline hoser

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Re: Imperial Red / Drake's Expedition - Advice needed
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2011, 08:55:41 AM »
Pfooti,
Here is my personal take on CDAs/India Black Ales, so take it with a grain of salt.  But I have brewed about 10 over the last 3 years or so and regulary score well in competitions with them.

Ditch the chocolate malt all together and go with 5% carafa III.  It is not just a color addition!  There should be a slight roasted note in CDAs/IBAs but not as strong as stouts or porters.  You can add the carafa on top of your mash or at the end or I just add mine in at the beginning because I am lazy.  I really don't think it makes a difference. IMHO, chocolate malt has no business being in CDAs/IBAs.  I find the flavor conflicting, why it works in an american brown ale and not an IBA/CDA I don't know.

You have to much crystal malt as well.  Pick one and go with it, preferably the C-40L.  Again, 5% of the grist.  C-60L would work as well.  I would elimitate the C-120L altogether.

Carapils or Wheat would be a better option than oats.  But, I have never used any of them in my IBAs/CDAs.  If you have good control over your process and fermentation I have not found much need for them.  Plus you get a lot of dextrinous mouthfeel from the hops.

Cut back on the Munich to 10% of your grist.  I think you have too much in there. 

In regards to the hops, you can certainly leave the warrior where it is out.  I would actually bump up you 20 and 5 minute additions to an ounce each at 20 and not less than an ounce each at 5 min.  Definitely double the dry hopping.  For a 1.070 beer you need more hop flavor and aroma.

Hope this helps, like I said, just my opinion.  Take from it what you will.  I enjoy the style, but sometimes the debate about it can get a little heated;)

Offline skyler

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Re: Imperial Red / Drake's Expedition - Advice needed
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2011, 10:39:33 AM »
I agree with everything hoser said. You get a nice smooth roast from the dehusked carafa. Chocolate malt makes a BIPA taste "musty," IMO.

Offline pfooti

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Re: Imperial Red / Drake's Expedition - Advice needed
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2011, 10:59:30 AM »
Thanks for the advice. I guess I wasn't really clear (upon re-reading the post, it's clear I was unclear). I'm not exactly trying to go for a BIPA/CDA/IBA style beer here, but instead an Imperial Red Ale, or maybe an Imperial American Brown Ale.

Specifically; I want something with more roast and raisin notes, but also hoppiness, rather than a dark IPA. That is why I was channeling the Drake's Expedition recipe rather than the Supremely Self-Righteous one (can you tell I'm a west-coaster?)

I'll take a look at the carafa though- that seems like a pretty good idea. I want the flavor of the highly-roasted barley without the extra bitterness that comes from the very black roasts. I'll have enough bitterness with the hop additions, and I've had problems in the past with overdoing the black grains.

jaybeerman

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Re: Imperial Red / Drake's Expedition - Advice needed
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2011, 01:24:30 PM »
I understood what you meant the first time, but you'll have to avoid using the CDA reference.  You could get more "raisin/fruit" from "D" dark candi syrup or perhaps special B.  Your percentage of crystal malt is high, but you're shooting for a big bodied beer; I can easily see 1-1.25 lbs total in this recipe.  Oats are great; if you want to try something different try the simpsons golden naked oats or the fawcett oat malt. Wheat is good too, but don't go with carapils in this recipe. I wouldn't sweat a 4 oz addition of roasted barley or just darker chocolate if you're looking for a roastier character.  You can always use the method that martin and gordon have been talking about - you could steep the roasted grains for flavor rather than mashing them, thus somewhat avoiding the bitterness.  Make the hop adjustments according to your own taste preferences. Assuming you liked the original recipe, make small adjustments and don't try to change everything at once (little more of this = little less of that, you get the picture).

Offline skyler

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Re: Imperial Red / Drake's Expedition - Advice needed
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2011, 01:56:33 PM »
I am going to recommend you make your grain bill something like 80% 2-row, 10% munich, 8% dark crystal, 2% carafa special II, mash low (150), get a gravity around 1.070, hop like an ipa, but no more than 60 IBU, use an english yeast like wlp002 or wyeast 1318, and ferment slightly cool (64F). Shoot for around 15 srm. dry hop like crazy.

Offline hoser

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Re: Imperial Red / Drake's Expedition - Advice needed
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2011, 07:31:09 PM »
Sorry, misunderstood your post.  Your recipe there looks very similar to Jamil's Evil Twin/West Coast Blaster, although it is a little low on the hop side from 20 minutes on.  Was this the basis for your malt bill?  I think wheat would work better if you are shooting for an amber.  I would still bump the hops up from 20 minutes on and the dry hop.  Leave the crystal malt percentage, C-40L is ok, and cut back the munich to 10-15%.

For a india brown ale, I would look towards Mike McDole's Janet's Brown? I believe he uses both carapils and wheat.  It is a pretty well known and popular recipe.  Alternatively, a recipe I have brewed a couple of times has been well received and won a local Pro-Am competition:
OG 1.065 IBUs 52
Grain Bill:
70% 2-row
13% Munich
7% C-60L
3.5% Victory
3.5% C-120L
3% Chocolate Malt

Hops:
Galena 38IBUs @ 60m
Amarillo 5 IBUs @ 10m
Simcoe 9 IBUs @ 10m
Amarillo 38g @ 0 min
Simcoe 38g @ 0 min
Amarill 21g dry hop
Simcoe 21g dry hop
Centennial 21g dry hop

Mash 154F

I like to use WLP007, you get the English profile and flocculation, with the attenuation of Chico yeast. I agree oats would be a nice touch in a brown and  definitely would try the Simpson's Golden Naked Oats if you are looking for that raisin or nut character.  You could also sub Special B for C-120L?  I would forgo the Carafa III if you are looking for an imperial amber or brown recipe. Hope this helps.  Good luck, let us know how it turns out.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2011, 07:33:35 PM by hoser »

Offline pfooti

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Re: Imperial Red / Drake's Expedition - Advice needed
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2011, 08:23:43 AM »
Thanks for the advice. I have brewed the Evil Twin (more or less) in the past, it was probably a subconscious influence at least. That's definitely where I first used Pale Chocolate.

I managed to actually *drink* a drake's expedition yesterday. Less mouthfeel than I would have expected based on their description of it. I also like the flavor and aroma of my version more; so I will indeed punch up the late hop additions.

I really like the idea of subbing specB for c120. I ordered some golden naked oats from NB, they probably can play the role that victory plays, I don't want to overdo the toast flavors. I figure on some mix like

75% 2-row
10% munich
5% gnoats
5% c40
2.5% specB
2.5% something black- chocolate 350+, black roast barley, or the like.

Offline hoser

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Re: Imperial Red / Drake's Expedition - Advice needed
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2011, 08:53:39 AM »
I have never had a Drake's so I can't comment, but Stone's Sublimely Self-Righteous is one of my all time favorites!

I would go with the chocolate malt IMHO, or you can blend the pale and regular chocolate malt 50/50.

Offline skyler

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Re: Imperial Red / Drake's Expedition - Advice needed
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2011, 11:46:30 AM »
I haven't had Drake's Expedition, either, but I have had several double red ales that I enjoyed, as well as several that I found underwhelming or gross. My favorites, by and large, are full of hop aroma and made with an English yeast. Hop Head Red by Green Flash is really excellent, and it is made with tons of hops and an American yeast.