In case you missed it, the Boston Beer Co. launched the Samuel Adams Crowd Craft Project in January, inviting Sam's Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ friends to offer up their preferences to help create a new beer. Users were asked to make their choices about the beer's malt profile, hops selection, yeast type, and so forth. Back then, I sort of mocked the idea, saying it had "mediocrity written all over it." Turns out I couldn't have been more wrong.
The beer, called Samuel Adams B'Austin Ale, debuted last weekend at Guy Kawasaki's Girl + Guy Party at SXSW in Austin, Texas. It will also be on tap at a few pubs in Austin over the next couple of weeks, and a few kegs will be kept in the brewery's tasting room in Jamaica Plain, for tour groups.
Well, consider this my official request that the beer be brewed year-round, bottled, and sold in six-packs.
Sam Adams sent me a bottle of the beer to sample, and man, is it good. Hazy amber with an earthy, spicy hop aroma, it perfectly balances the desire for hops with a strong malt profile, without going overboard with either. Notes of coffee, caramel, and citrus reveal themselves, and it finishes with a slight bitterness and maybe a hint of black tea. At 5 percent alcohol, it's an easy drinking beer, too -- like a Samuel Adams Boston Ale (the gem of the Sam Adams lineup, if you ask me) with a bit more kick.
While there are no plans to brew more B'Austin Ale, here's a bonus: Sam Adams is making the recipe public so homebrewers can replicate it. Even better, I have it right here for you:
Samuel Adams B'Austin Ale Homebrew Recipe
Batch Size: 5 gallons
Original Gravity: 1.052 (This is the initial amount of sugar in the wort)
Final Gravity: 1.0137 (This is the amount of sugar left over after fermentation, and is a good indicator of what the body of the brew will be like -- B'Austin Ale has a medium body).
Bitterness: 35 IBU (B'Austin Ale has good hop flavor and aroma; between Boston Lager and an IPA)
Alcohol: 5.0% ABV
Boiling Time: 60 minutes
10 lbs. Two-row pale malt [if extract brewing, substitute 6.6 lbs. of pale malt extract]
1 lbs. Caramel 60 Malt
0.5 lb. Dingemans Special B Malt
.35 oz. Tettnang-Tettnanger hops
.9 oz. Saaz hops
.4 oz. Amarillo hops
1.3 oz. Galaxy hops
California Ale yeast
Mash Water -- 1.25 quarts of water per pound of grain: (11.5 malt in this recipe x 1.25 = 14.37 quarts or 3.6 gallons of water) at 165 degrees F
Sparge Water -- 5.5 gallons of water at 175 degrees F
Start of Boil (SOB)
Tettnang-Tettnanger hops -- 0.25 oz.
Saaz hops -- 0.4 oz.
45 minutes after SOB
Tettnang-Tettnanger hops -- 0.1 oz.
Saaz hops -- 0.25 oz.
Amarillo hops -- 0.25 oz.
60 minutes after SOB
Saaz hops -- 0.25 oz.
Amarillo hops -- 0.15 oz.
Dry Hop (after first fermentation)
Galaxy hops -- 1.3 oz.
Note: Hops are added at different points during the brewing process to add different aspects to the brew's flavor. The hops added at the start of the boil are for bitterness (the longer hops are boiled, the more bitter they become). Hops added at the middle of the boil are for flavor, and hops added at the end are for aroma.
Mash grain at 152 degrees F (165 degrees F water added to grain should give you 152 degrees F) until conversion is complete (approximately 45 minutes). Lauter the beer and sparge with 175 degrees F water until pre-boil volume of 6.5 gallons is reached. Boil for 60 minutes adding hops at the schedule listed above. Cool to under 70 degrees F and pitch yeast (any warmer would harm the yeast). Ferment at 68-73 degrees F in a dark place for 7-10 days (following the instructions on the yeast packet). Transfer the beer to a secondary fermenter and dry hop with Galaxy hops. Allow the beer to go through secondary fermentation for 14 days, then bottle or keg your brew and enjoy.