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Quarter Life Crisis Hoppy Red Ale

Brewed: 02/04/2013   Bottled: 02/13/2013

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.

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

Quarter Life Crisis (AG) --- Batch 4

American Red Ale
Batch Size
5.50 gal
All Grain
Boil Size
7.76 gal
Brewhouse Efficiency
Boil Time
90 minutes

Recipe Characteristics

Recipe Gravity
1.069 SG
Estimated FG
1.011 SG
Recipe Bitterness
59.2 IBUs (Rager)
Alcohol by Volume
7.6 %

Recipe Color
18.0 SRM

Measured OG:

Measured FG:

Measured ABV:
7.4 %


Amt Name Type # %/IBU
11 lbs 8.0 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 77.3 %
1 lbs 4.0 oz Munich Malt - 10L (11.0 SRM) Grain 2 8.4 %
12.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM) Grain 3 5.0 %
8.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 4 3.4 %
8.0 oz Victory Malt (25.0 SRM) Grain 5 3.4 %
2.0 oz Midnight Wheat Malt (550.0 SRM) Grain 6 0.8 %
0.625 oz Columbus [13.90 %] - First Wort 90.0 min Hop 7 36.3 IBUs
4.0 oz Sugar, Table (Sucrose) (1.0 SRM) Sugar 8 1.7 %
0.50 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 9 -
1.500 oz Centennial [9.20 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 10 10.5 IBUs
1.000 oz Cascade [5.00 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 11 3.8 IBUs
1.000 oz Chinook [11.40 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 12 8.7 IBUs
0.50 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 10.0 mins) Other 13 -
1.0 pkg San Diego Super Yeast (White Labs #WLP090) Yeast 14 -
1.000 oz Cascade [7.80 %] - Dry Hop 3.0 Days Hop 15 0.0 IBUs
0.500 oz Centennial [9.20 %] - Dry Hop 3.0 Days Hop 16 0.0 IBUs
1.000 oz
Chinook [11.40 %] - Dry Hop 3.0 DaysHop17
0.0 IBUs

Mash Profile

Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 18.28 qt of water at 163.7 F 152.0 F 60 min

Batch sparge with 2 steps (1.06gal, 3.88gal) of 168.0 F water
Recipe Notes
Started as West Coast Blaster from Brewing Classic Styles. Modified for my system and available ingredients.
Make a decent sized starter.
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 for no more than 5 days at room temperature.

Brewing Record

Brew Date:

Strike Temp:
Mash Temps:
various. Eventually got to 152
Pre-boil OG
1.056 (1.056 SG)
Pre-boil Vol
8 (7.76 gal)
Actual Mash Efficiency

Pitch Temp

Day 1:
Day ...
Day ...

Click here to see previous recipes
Brewing Notes:
01/17/2013 esheppy
Thinking of brewing this up on or around my birthday. Think I might have to get rid of some beer to pull this off.
01/31/2013 esheppy
Bought ingredients today. Decided to go with San Diego Super Yeast instead of US05. Should do a starter tonight.
02/01/2013 esheppy
Starter is fermenting away.
02/04/2013 esheppy
Brew day today went well. The mash temp was elusive, but eventually I got there. Everything else went just about perfect.
02/05/2013 esheppy
Fermentation was active by last night, and even more so this morning. Temperature at 64ish.
02/06/2013 esheppy
Fermenation still going really strong in both vessels. The gallon took a bit longer to start, but it is going good now.
02/08/2013 esheppy
Fermentation has slowed down considerably. 68ish. NOTE ... I finally changed the recipe to San Diego Super yeast from US05. This pushed the expected ABV from 7 to 7.6.
02/09/2013 esheppy
Racked into my smaller BB fermentor along with 1oz Cascade, 1oz Chinook, and .5oz Centennial. Sample was hoppy and delicious. The gravity is currently at 1.016, which puts this beer at 7.1% ABV. I expect it will get a bit drier in secondary, but I don't think it will get down to the Beer Smith estimated final gravity.
02/13/2013 esheppy
Kegged tonight. Probably could have dry hopped longer to get slightly more aroma, but I am pleased with the sample. Also bottled up 3 bombers from the extra gallon. That beer was not nearly as good. 1.014 is my FG.
03/09/2013 esheppy
Tried some of the bottles from the extra gallon. Not as good as what is one tap, but not bad at all.
03/12/2013 esheppy
Transferred to another keg because the flow just was not right. Much better now.
04/06/2013 esheppy
Emptied the keg tonight. So sad.
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