Author Topic: Amber Ale: To Dry Hop or Not to Dryhop?  (Read 3428 times)

Offline blatz

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Amber Ale: To Dry Hop or Not to Dryhop?
« on: October 27, 2011, 07:07:28 AM »
In my never ending search to find an amber that fits my tastes perfectly, I am starting from scratch once again on Amber (frankly I'm about ready to give up on the style) but here's what I have put together:

12gal
OG: 1.056
IBUs 35-37

Grist:

11lbs Weyermann Pale Ale malt
11lbs Rahr 2-row
2.0bs  Weyermann Carared
1.5lbs Briess C-80L
.25lbs Fawcett Chocolate

Hops:
60min - 1oz Magnum
15min - 2oz Cascade
FO - 3oz Columbus

Any comments welcome, but am mainly looking for: is it missing the dryhop??
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Amber Ale: To Dry Hop or Not to Dryhop?
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2011, 07:09:58 AM »
is it missing the dryhop??


Have you ever had Troeg's Hop Back amber? It's a really nice amber (and I'm not an amber fan usually.) They run their wort through a hop back (hence the name). That would be my recommendation.
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Offline blatz

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Re: Amber Ale: To Dry Hop or Not to Dryhop?
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2011, 07:17:55 AM »
is it missing the dryhop??


Have you ever had Troeg's Hop Back amber? It's a really nice amber (and I'm not an amber fan usually.) They run their wort through a hop back (hence the name). That would be my recommendation.

I have never had that beer, but I have seen rave reviews.  My current system no longer has capability for a hopback (hence why I am selling mine) but once I move to the new brewery, er, house  :D, I will have one again - maybe I'll hold off and make that one of the inaugural brews.
The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

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Offline pinnah

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Re: Amber Ale: To Dry Hop or Not to Dryhop?
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2011, 08:14:19 AM »
Any comments welcome, but am mainly looking for: is it missing the dryhop??

As I am sitting here sucking on of of B-Hoppy's Cascade candy...yum
I am thinking why not dryhop? 
Maybe it is inappropriate in an Amber?

I am not really a fan of the Amber, and don't brew it.  So don't listen to me much, but I love the results of a fat dryhop. 

When do you move into the new brewery?   ;D

 

Offline blatz

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Re: Amber Ale: To Dry Hop or Not to Dryhop?
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2011, 08:31:10 AM »
Any comments welcome, but am mainly looking for: is it missing the dryhop??

As I am sitting here sucking on of of B-Hoppy's Cascade candy...yum
I am thinking why not dryhop? 
Maybe it is inappropriate in an Amber?

I am not really a fan of the Amber, and don't brew it.  So don't listen to me much, but I love the results of a fat dryhop. 

When do you move into the new brewery?   ;D

 

according to guidelines, it is certainly done often.

As I mentioned in the beginning of the post : "searching for one that fits my tastes" - it seems difficult at best - I usually don't like Amber, but when its a little cooler outside, I like to mix it up and have something with a little more malt presence to go with my regular lineup of IPA and german lagers.  I like Ballast Point Calico quite a bit, but most ambers are 'meh' to me as well.  This may be the last attempt.

I recently had my local's Imperial Red ("TBC Red Dragon") which got the creative juices flowing...

Move in will hopefully be in February sometime.  Got all the new brewing equipment mostly put together, now we wait...
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Offline pinnah

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Re: Amber Ale: To Dry Hop or Not to Dryhop?
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2011, 08:38:35 AM »
I recently had my local's Imperial Red ("TBC Red Dragon") which got the creative juices flowing...

I see you are going to have a nice red color there.  Cool.  Seems to me some nice dank aroma would be good.

I guess you could split the batch and dry hop one and not the other? 
And then just give the non dry hopped one to your friends... ;)

Offline denny

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Re: Amber Ale: To Dry Hop or Not to Dryhop?
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2011, 09:11:38 AM »
I often dry hop my Waldo Lake amber.  Your recipe looks a lot like that, so if you feel like it should be dry hopped, go for it.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Amber Ale: To Dry Hop or Not to Dryhop?
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2011, 09:29:33 AM »
Have you ever tried North Coast Red Seal Ale? It has a generous hop flavor and aroma. I'm uncertain of their hop schedule but wouldn't be surprised to learn that they dry hop that beer. It's one of my favorite AAA's
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Offline Delo

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Re: Amber Ale: To Dry Hop or Not to Dryhop?
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2011, 09:48:35 AM »
I'm not a huge fan of Ambers or Reds.  Rogue Saint Red is dry hopped and I think that is a good amber. I would say go for it.

Offline richardt

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Re: Amber Ale: To Dry Hop or Not to Dryhop?
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2011, 10:12:12 AM »
We don't exactly know what suits your tastes--could you give us some examples?
Are you looking for more maltiness, more caramels, more malt complexity?
For example, I like ambers and browns, but I don't like acrid, roasty notes - The Sierra Nevada Tumbler is a great brown ale for the Fall months and is widely available--I like how it is smooth, not acrid or roasty.  It also uses 2-row pale, crystal, and chocolate malts along with smoked malts.  It uses Challenger and Yakima Goldings hops.
You might want to top mash the chocolate malt (i.e., add right before lautering / sparging rather than mashing the full 60+ minutes).
Try a no-sparge technique--yes, your efficiency will suffer (e.g., 70-75% rather than 85%), but the malt flavors should be better.
Consider late-hopping for more hop flavor which I find really complements the malts and boosts overall complexity.  I would reserve 1 oz each of Cascade and Columbus for 30 minutes of aroma steeping when wort temps begin dropping below 180 F during chilling/whirlpooling and use the rest as fractionated additions every 5 minutes between 25 minutes and flame out.  You could even use an all-late hopping technique and add the Magnum at 30 or 35 minutes for even cleaner bittering and some excellent flavor contribution from the Magnum hops to increase complexity.  I like hop complexity, so I'd be inclined to add the magnum to the cascade and columbus flavor profile by using an all-late hopping technique.

You may not need to dry hop at all.  I find I get significant flavor and aroma using the late-hopping approach.  While dryhopping does signicantly boost the hop aromas, it also significantly alters (and even overwhelms) the overall malt flavor profile and balance of the beer.  This is OK in an IPA where the malt pretty much takes a back seat, but should be restrained (or not used) in an amber.  Late kettle hopping and aroma steeping are "cleaner" ways of getting hop flavor and aromas, IMO

Offline blatz

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Re: Amber Ale: To Dry Hop or Not to Dryhop?
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2011, 11:00:47 AM »
well suiting my taste is part of the discovery/learning process on this recipe  ;) - I don't really have an example of what I am looking for unfortunately that is commercially available, and am just tweaking things from previous iterations to see if that 'nails it'.

I'm not really a red/amber guy for the most part, I'm just looking to change things up - I make IPAs all year round, but about once a year, I feel the need to deviate to something like this.  For this recipe, trying to get a little more malt presence, some toffee notes (hence C-80L) and a little toasty (smidge of chocolate) along with a moderate amount of citrus, pine and dank hop flavor and aroma.

I appreciate the suggestions on late hopping, which I do a lot of on my IPA (~11oz of hops in the last 15min) but for this one, I was looking to emphasize the malt flavor over the hop flavor and feel that those techniques might drown out the malt?

I don't really like Tumbler, BTW, but its been years since I had Red Seal.  Might have to get some.
The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

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Offline richardt

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Re: Amber Ale: To Dry Hop or Not to Dryhop?
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2011, 02:44:49 PM »
Look into Victory Malt for the "toastiness."  chocolate gives the color.  toastiness, not so much.

Offline blatz

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Re: Amber Ale: To Dry Hop or Not to Dryhop?
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2011, 03:04:16 PM »
Look into Victory Malt for the "toastiness."  chocolate gives the color.  toastiness, not so much.

yeah, good point.  I use victory a lot, but I wasn't that pleased with it in an iteration of this beer.  Chocolate, especially the TF variety seems to give a bit of roasty/toasty flavor even in that small amount, in my experience.  Maybe some Vienna would be good or double the amount but of Pale Chocolate.

When I used Victory in this beer last time, it just seemed to dry the finish out - not exactly what I was after (though I can't be 100% sure Victory was the direct cause of course).
The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

BJCP National: F0281

Offline richardt

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Re: Amber Ale: To Dry Hop or Not to Dryhop?
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2011, 05:17:43 PM »
I'd be more inclined to attribute the "dry" perception to the roasted grains (like chocolate). 
the judicious use of aromatic (or melanoiden) malts--aka supercharged munich might augment the malt backbone and reduce the perception of dryness.

Offline blatz

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Re: Amber Ale: To Dry Hop or Not to Dryhop?
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2011, 06:34:57 AM »
ron - I stopped by my LHBS on the way home from work last night to pick up a couple singles of Red Seal Ale for "research" since you mentioned it.

Wow - its probably been 8 or so years since I had it, but that is a very well done beer.  It won't be 8 years again, I can tell you that.

That was something more in the vein of what I am trying to accomplish.  Will need to explore some more.
The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

BJCP National: F0281