Arrogant Bastard-ish Clone

Let me start off with saying that I’m actually not a huge Arrogant Bastard fan, but my girlfriend’s dad is, and by fan, I mean his favorite beer, and by favorite beer he goes so far as to name his fantasy football team “The Arrogant Bastards”. I largely made this for him to see if I could get it somewhat close. I knew the grain profile was pretty different (commercial version are just 2-row and Special B from what I’ve gathered), but the color would be close (which it was). Most beers I’ve made for him he scoffs at, so trying to make a beer in the vein of his all-time favorite beer is actually a terrible idea. But I just can’t help myself.

This is a 2.5 gallon batch, which is an amount of beer I usually shoot for for multiple reasons. First, when I mess something up (which is often), dumping 2.5 gallons (or chugging through it) is not as painful. Second, I honestly don’t understand how avid home brewers even brew 5 gallon batches with multiple kegs full, or hundreds of bottles around. Then there are those nuts who do 10 or even 20 gallon batches. I like beer, but jesus. If I consumed that much beer on a regular basis I’d be so fat and dead already.

This Arrogant Bastard “clone” is the same grain profile as the Complexity Quest Sour Brown.

Recipe:

Batch Size: 2.5 Gallons
Target OG: 1.066
SRM: 20
Est ABV: 6.8%
IBU: 112
Boil Time: 70

Malt:
65.8% – Pilsner Malt
15.5% – Crystal 60L
7.5% – Wheat Malt
6.2% – Aromatic Malt 26L
5% – Special B

Hops:
Boil
.50 oz Chinook (13% AA) @ 60 Min
.50 oz Chinook (13% AA) @ 30 Min
.50 oz Chinook (13% AA) @ 15 Min
.50 oz Chinook (13% AA) @ 0 Min

Dry Hop
.65 oz Chinook (13% AA) @ Kegged

Yeast:
US-05

Here’s what went down:

Brewed 1/17/16

The pH was at 4.9 in the mash. I added 1 gram of baking soda which brought it to 5.7. I then added lactic acid to bring it back to 5.3. I’ve been having issues with the accuracy of the Bru’n Water program, but it really could be my water report being off. However, lately I’ve found that about 6% acid malt with no dark or crystal malt brings me into the proper pH range for my Glendale, CA water.

Boiled for 10 minutes, pulled off 2.5 gallons for the Sour Brown, and was left with 3.75 gallons. 60 minute Chinook addition was pellets, the rest leafs as that was all the home brew store had.

At 60 minutes added 2 grams of Gypsum.

Cooled to 80F, transferred to a 5 gallon carboy and put it in the chest freezer to cool down the rest of the way.

A few hours later the temp was at 76F (I realize that’s a bit high for pitching temps, but so be it). Oxygenated the wort with aeration stone for about 30 seconds then pitched the yeast dry. I brought it inside and wrapped it in a blanket. The ambient temp in the apartment during the day is about 70F, probably mid-to-low-60s after midnight.

1/18/16: Fermentation has started.

1/21/16: Put it in the chest freezer at 70F degrees.

1/24/16: Fermentation appears about done.

1/30/16: Gravity at 1.010. Kegged using the carboy cap method. At this time I had been using a weird jerry-rig method using a 3-way manifold to push gas in. I later switched to using a quick disconnect like so. Using the manifold I had to use 10 psi to get the beer out for some reason, yet with the disconnect only 3-5 psi.

1/31/16: Added .65 oz of chinook pellet hops to the keg. Set it to 10 psi.

2/6/16: Tasting notes:

This at first had that slight oxidized flavor my beers sometimes have, but whatever I was tasting in the very beginning was gone. I must have just been tasting it when it wasn’t cleared out and allowed to “mature” for a week or two.

Overall good bitterness and pretty good flavor. It’s a hair sweet in the smell, not that grain malty sweet, but like cherry or raisin sweet even though it finished pretty dry considering. I also did have a lot of grain in this, especially a fair amount of crystal 60, compared to the grain profile described for a Bastard (2-Row and Special B). I tried this next to a commercial one, and it’s very similar in bitterness. The only true difference I could tell was the commercial one has an actual grain smell and taste along with the bitterness. The best overall way to describe mine is it’s more like a hoppy Doppelbock.

Changes:

If I were trying to make a true clone I would have matched the grain profile called for, maybe upping the dry hop amount, and lean a little heavier toward the later hop additions.

More importantly did my girlfriend’s dad like it? He did…but he had just stopped drinking for lent when I gave him a few bottles, so when he did get around to it more than a month had gone by. He did say it wasn’t as bitter as the commercial one, which may be true after sitting for more than a month in a non-CO2 purged bottle.

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