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Quarter Life Crisis Hoppy Red Ale

Brewed: 02/07/2021   Kegged: 02/16/2021

quarter.jpgFor my 40th birthday, I got Jamil Zainasheff's and John Palmer's book Brewing Classic Styles from the SheppyBrew Beer Model.  My sister also got me some cool customized bottle caps.  So, I wanted to use both those gifts to brew a beer.  The name I thought of was quarter life crisis as now that I am 40, I figure my life is probably about 1/4 of the way through.  Of course, it would have to be a pretty big beer with lots of hoppyness, and I came across the recipe "West Coast Blaster", which is Jamil's interpretation of a "West Coast" American Amber ale.

I scaled the recipe down for my 2.4 gallon batches and tinkered with the ingredients based on what is easiest for me to find and my overall preferences.  I scaled back a bit on the hops because I am (after all) not having a mid-life crisis or anything.  I guess I'm just not really a west-coast kind of hop-head. 

But, this is well over the OG, ABV and hoppy bitterness of a normal American Amber Ale.  This is still a pretty bold ale.  It turned out to be a new favorite.

Batch 2 is exactly the same recipe except it uses an ounce of chocolate malt instead of 2 ounces of pale chocolate.  (the LHBS did not have pale)

Batch 3 is my all-grain version.  Because all-grain always is lighter in color than my extract brews, I added more dark malts the compensate.  Plus, I used Columbus for bittering at a higher alpha acid than the Nugget I had used previously.  It is also a larger batch.

Batch 4 got modified a bit for more and higher alpha hops. I am hoping to brew this on my 43rd birthday. I added in some Chinook, which surprisingly is a hop I have not used previously.

Batch 5 was brewed shortly after my 51st birthday. I reduced the crystal malts. Other than that, the recipe was basically the same as batch 4 other than being brewed on my Anvil Foundry.

If you would like to read about QLC on my blog, follow this link.

Quarter Life Crisis --- Batch 5

Style Red IPA Batch Size 5.50 gal
Type All Grain Boil Size   6.57 gal
Brewhouse Efficiency   68.00   Boil Time   60 minutes

Recipe Characteristics

Recipe Gravity 1.065 SG Estimated FG 1.010 SG
Recipe Bitterness 59.9 IBUs (Rager) Alcohol by Volume 7.4 %
BU : GU   0.919        
Recipe Color 16.6 SRM
Measured OG:   1.065    Measured FG:    1.010
ADF:   84    Measured ABV:    7.3


Amt Name Type # %/IBU Volume
7.61 gal Denver, Colorado Water 1 - -
10.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash) Water Agent 2 - -
12 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 3 83.1 % 0.94 gal
1 lbs Munich Malt - 10L (11.0 SRM) Grain 4 6.9 % 0.08 gal
8.0 oz Victory Malt (25.0 SRM) Grain 5 3.5 % 0.04 gal
4.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 6 1.7 % 0.02 gal
4.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM) Grain 7 1.7 % 0.02 gal
3.0 oz Midnight Wheat Malt (550.0 SRM) Grain 8 1.3 % 0.01 gal
0.500 oz Columbus [16.50 %] - First Wort 60.0 min Hop 9 36.9 IBUs -
4.0 oz Sugar, Table (Sucrose) [Boil] (1.0 SRM) Sugar 10 1.7 % 0.02 gal
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 11 - -
0.50 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 10.0 mins) Other 12 - -
1.000 oz Cascade [5.20 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 13 3.5 IBUs -
1.000 oz Centennial [9.00 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 14 6.1 IBUs -
1.000 oz Chinook [11.50 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 15 7.8 IBUs -
0.500 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [16.50 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 16 5.6 IBUs -
1.0 pkg San Diego Super Yeast (White Labs #WLP090) [35.49 ml] Yeast 17 - -
1.000 oz Cascade [5.20 %] - Dry Hop 3.0 Days Hop 18 0.0 IBUs -
1.000 oz Centennial [9.00 %] - Dry Hop 3.0 Days Hop 19 0.0 IBUs -
1.000 oz Chinook [11.50 %] - Dry Hop 3.0 Days Hop 20 0.0 IBUs -

Mash Profile

Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Saccharification Add 30.45 qt of water at 157.9 F 150.0 F 45 min
Heat Heat to 156.0 F over 10 min 156.0 F 20 min

If steeping, remove grains, and prepare to boil wort

Recipe Notes
Started as West Coast Blaster from Brewing Classic Styles. Modified for my system and available ingredients.
Make a decent sized starter.
From Denver water, water salts put my water at:
Start Ferment as close to 60 as possible and let it rise to 65ish until heavy fermentation is done. Then, let temperature go to wherever room temp is (68 or 70).
Dry hop straight into fermentor at beginning of fermentation.

Brewing Record

Brew Date:   Strike Temp:  
Mash Temps:  
Pre-boil OG   (1.058 SG)   Pre-boil Vol   (6.57 gal)
Actual Mash Efficiency   Pitch Temp    
Day 1: 
Day ... 
Day ... 

Click here to see previous recipes
Brewing Notes:
02/07/2021 esheppy
Started the mash at midnight so I could start draining wort right when I got up. Heating to boiling starting at 6AM.
02/07/2021 esheppy
Brew day went pretty well. Done cleaning up right around 9AM. OG right on. Maybe a bit high. Didn't make a yeast starter, so we'll see how things go.
02/08/2021 esheppy
Bubbling hard. Tilt says 1.064 (down 5) at 64. Smells like hops.
02/09/2021 esheppy
Still going strong. Tilt says 1.026 at 74. Will probably be down to FG in a day or two.
02/10/2021 esheppy
Bubbling really slowed down. Just about stopped. Tilt says 1.007 at 69. I can't imaging 7 is all that accurate, but we'll see what I get once I take hydrometer reading. Not sure when I'll keg this beer. Probably at least 1 week from now.
02/11/2021 esheppy
Tilt says 1.003 at 66. No way that is accurate. Took a tiny taste sample. Very yeastie, but the hop flavor seems good. Still think we're a week away from kegging.
02/16/2021 esheppy
Kegged. FG right at 1.010. Exactly what I remember QLC tasting like. Hops with a nice malt backbone. Beautiful red color. Chilling on my back patio.
02/20/2021 esheppy
Beautiful red ale. Nice and hoppy. Drinking like a session ale. Might not last long.
02/27/2021 esheppy
Really looking nice and clear. I overcarbed last time I gave it a shot of CO2, but it seems to be ok with lower flow. Really nice beer.
03/07/2021 esheppy
It is really nice having this in the keg cooler in the garage. I think I might want to pay attention and try to only put low abv in there in the future. It's right there, so I drink it. 7.3 abv f's me up. 😋
03/11/2021 esheppy
My cooler was empty of ice. Added some. Need more.
03/14/2021 esheppy
The keg blew. That beer didn't last very long. It was really an awesome beer while it lasted. Great hoppy beer.
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