Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dodo Bird Deluxe California Red Ale

So I went for another beer in the vein of my "California Red Ale." This one is a bit paler, and has a dry English yeast (Wyeast 1275 Thames Valley Ale). This beer was meant to be an American ESB, meaning an ESB in every way, but with American hops. I ended up late-hopping more aggressively than in a standard British ESB, but I think the idea of a "not quite hoppy enough to be an IPA" amber-colored beer around 1.055-1.065 is a great beer style. I call it a California Red Ale because of how many Californian beers are made like that, but for a brewer using brewing software, the idea is to get a beer that fits within (or near) the guidelines for ESB, American Amber Ale, American Pale Ale, English IPA, and American IPA.... focusing on balance and drinkability. The name is inspired by Mendocino Brewing Company in Ukiah, California, whose beers are named after birds. Dodos were about the silliest things man ever made extinct, so the name suits my silly sensibilities.

I hit my mash number perfectly on this one, and I expect it to be a great beer. However, my hydrometer has not been replaced, so I don't know for sure if I hit my expected efficiency of 80% (though I don't really care if it is a little weaker and hoppier or stronger and maltier than expected). Since balance was the chief consideration in constructing this recipe, I have a lot of leeway in the brewing process to still make a delicious beer.

The Dodo Recipe:

10lb Thomas Fawcett Optic Pale Malt
8 oz Hugh Baird Medium Crystal Malt (55L)
8 oz Franco-Belges Caravienne (21L)
4 oz Briess Extra Dark Crystal (120L)

.5 oz Simcoe (12.7% AA) 60 min
1 oz Simcoe (12.7% AA) 10 min
1 oz Cascade (5.7% AA) 10 min
1 oz Simcoe (12.7% AA) 0 min
1 oz Cascade (5.7% AA) 0 min

I may dry hop with an oz of Cascade.

Mash at 152F for 60 min

Wyeast 1275 Thames Valley Ale (3L starter)

expected OG 1.060, 40-45 IBU, 10.6 SRM

Since my fermentation chamber is currently at work lagering my altbier and my dead week märzen, I had to ferment this at ambient - so it is fermenting a little warm, it was at 74F for a day, now it's down to 70F (after 3 days of fermenting). This is a little high for the yeast, but not so far out of the recommended level that the beer will be ruined. Hopefully this strain remains clean at the higher temperature.