Monday, February 13, 2012

Taking the Amber Road

My original plan was to brew on Saturday while Mrs V was out running, however, a death in the family meant that we travelled down to South Carolina for the weekend and are heading back to Virginia later today. Depending on what time we get to Charlottesville, I might do my brewing today.

The brew that is on the table is for an internal competition that we do at the Charlottesville Area Masters of Real Ale, the homebrew club of which I am a member. Taking inspiration from the Iron Brewer competition we decided to run a purely internal variation, with judging being done at our monthly meeting. The first time we did it, our required ingredients were agave nectar, Palisade hops and chocolate malt, and we also decided that the winner would chose the 3 ingredients for the next competition, which are white wheat malt, grapefruit and Chinook hops.

Obviously those ingredients scream out for an Americanised witbier of some kind, though having said that, the first time we did this those of us who took part all produced very different beers. I decided to stick with the clear fusion theme, but also to mess around a bit, so I am going to brew a spiced Belgo-American Amber Abbey Ale, here's the recipe:
  • 30% White Wheat Malt
  • 20% Bohemian Pilsner Malt
  • 20% Special Roast Malt
  • 20% Munich Malt
  • 10% Aromatic Malt
  • 20 IBU Chinook hops @ 60 minutes
  • 9 IBU Chinook hops @ 15 minutes
  • 1oz Grapefruit peel @ 15 minutes
  • 0.5oz Cracked coriander @ 15 minutes
  • 0.5oz Grated ginger @ 15 minutes
  • 2 IBU Chinook hops @ 1 minute
  • Wyeast 1762 Abbey Ale II
According to Hopville, the numbers for this should be:
  • OG - 1.052, 13° Plato
  • FG - 1.013, 3.3° Plato
  • ABV - 5.2%
  • SRM - 16, light to medium brown
I will follow my usual fermentation schedule, room temperature for 14 days before bottling, but I am planning a little experiment once bottling is done. I recently read somewhere that there is a difference in flavour between bottles that are conditioned standing up and those that are conditioned laying down, so I am going to buy a small wine rack and bottle this batch in a mixture of 12oz and 22oz bottles, some of which will lay flat and others will stand up, just to see what difference it makes.

An Amber Road was a trade route for amber in the Middle Ages, the most important went from the Baltic Sea, through modern day Poland and Czech Republic to Venice. There was a smaller road in Belgium.


  1. oh very sorry to heard about the death in your family, my condolences

    I like the recipe, the abbey ale should really differentiate it form a wit beer

    Brewed a slightly different variation on the American wit theme, all late hoppping

    Batch Size (L): 24.00
    OG: 1.050
    SRM: 6.6
    IBU: 22.8


    % Amount Name
    43.7 Pale Malt(2-row)
    35.0 Wheat Malt
    17.5 Flaked Wheat
    3.8 Crystal 55L


    Amount Name
    25.00 g. Centennial 20 min.
    20.00 g. RAKAU 10 min.
    10.00 g. Centennial 5 min.
    10.00 g. RAKAU 5 min.
    25.00 g. Amarillo Gold 2 min.

    Yeast:Brewferm Wheat

  2. Isn't it amazing that with the same base ingredients a group can brew entirely different beers.



I worked out the other day that each day I was in Prague I walked about 7-8km, which is about 4.5-5 miles in old money. The longest walk tho...