AG#24 – Big Dawg Imperial Amber Ale


This is, without a doubt, one of the best beers I’ve done to date. The recipe was a little bit of accident. It was originally intended to be an amber IPA, but it came out darker than I intended and with a lot more dark crystal character than I wanted. It also had far too much residual sweetness to be considered an IPA, a style of beer which is supposed to be reasonably dry and easy to drink. However, the residual sweetness was perfectly balanced by the 70 IBU and beer turned out to be a delicious hoppy monster. I did a re-brew of it last year and it turned out well, but not quite as good as the original. This is my third attempt and my first all-grain version of the recipe, so I have high hopes for it. I hope to get as close to the original by closely watching my mash temperatures and volumes.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 26.90 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.072 SG
Estimated Color: 25.9 EBC
Estimated IBU: 70.1 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 72.1 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


5.800 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC), 82.9 %
0.450 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (78.8 EBC), 6.4 %
0.200 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (3.9 EBC), 2.9 %
0.150 kg Biscuit Malt (45.3 EBC), 2.1 %
0.050 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt -100L (197.0 EBC), 0.7 %
0.050 kg Chocolate Malt (886.5 EBC), 0.6 %
32 g Magnum [10.70 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 47.5 IBUs
0.300 kg Corn Sugar (Dextrose) [Boil for 20 min], 4.3 %
30 g Cascade [7.80 %] – Boil 15.0 min, 7.9 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
30 g Summit [17.70 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 14.7 IBUs
60 g Cascade [7.80 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
60 g Citra [14.40 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
30 g Summit [17.70 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)  (500ml slurry from Little Dawg)
50 g Centennial [8.0 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days, 0.0 IBUs

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge

Total Grain Weight: 6.995 kg
Mash In           Add 18.75 l of water at 74.6 C          68.0 C        60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 15.36l) of 77.0 C water

07/12/2014 – Good brew day, all additions made at the right times. Mashed at 66-67C. Pitched yeast pretty cold as it was so cold outside. The yeast slurry I pitched was pretty rank looking (lots of pellet hops and trub) but I’ve done this before and had no issues. Likewise, I had the same trouble I always have separating the boiled wort from all the hops and break material. But I’ve always had the same problem with this beer and had no problems. Finished just after lunch but seeing fermentation before night fall. Got an OG of 1.070, so 2 points under target.

08/12/2014 – Impressive kreusen on the beer.

15/12/2014 – Fermentation has completely finished and cleared so I started sanitising siphon etc. in order to do racking and dry-hopping – then I realised it’s only been in the fermenter a week!! Will leave it on the yeast for another week. Might do a first dry-hop in the primary.

23/12/2014 – Dry-hopped with 48g of Centennial pellet hops, just because I had them open. Unfortunately I gad some problems with the siphon and I was forced to give up after getting only 15 litres into the secondary fermenter. Great nose off the beer.

28/12/2014 – Bottled with 99g of corn sugar (15 litres at 2.5 vol). Got 9 x 500ml and 12 x 750ml bottles from the batch.

25/01/2015 – I’d better post a tasting update on this before it’s all gone! Really delicious, as always. There’s little roasted flavour coming through, but it’s a little bit darker than I want it. I think I’ll cut the chocolate malt down by 25% next time. It’s currently more brown than amber. The hop flavour is a tiny bit grassy still, but that will dissipate. Great aroma and very good head retention. The topical flavours of the Citra are definitely poking through on both aroma and flavour. Might a little more carbonation.

11/02/2015 – Down to the last few bottles of this and it tastes amazing. Definitely a shade too dark. Will use a bit less chocolate malt next time. Hopping is great, but might substitute Citra with something different next time too, like Amarillo or Centennial.

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