This elegantly simple recipe translates into a deeply complex and brag-worthy American strong ale. The choice combination of pale malt, Belgian Special B, and Chinook hops create a medley of dark caramel, raisin, dried cherry and plum and slight pine flavors all interlaced into a boastful deep copper color. Pouring with a medium-heavy body, Elegant Bastard is a smooth sipper meant to be enjoyed in moderation.
- Style: American Strong Ale
- Fermentation Range: 65-70
- Original Gravity: 1.066
- SRM: 16
- IBUs: 81
- ABV: 7.1%
- Aroma: Malt aromas of dried fruits and caramel with a medium-high pine resin and slight grapefruit hop nose.
- Appearance: Deep copper color with ruby mahogany highlights. Firm off-white to nearly tan foam head with good persistence.
- Flavor: Thick malt profile with fig, dried dark fruits, and moderate dark caramel. High bitterness with pine and subtle citrus fruit hop flavors.
- Mouthfeel: Medium-full body with a smooth, creamy and long finish on the palate. Slight alcohol warming. Medium carbonation with no astringency.
“Not quite a Barleywine and certainly stronger and bolder than an American Amber Ale, Elegant Bastard falls in that in-between territory belonging to American Strong Ale. This style is assertively malty and hoppy at the same time, and the hugely popular inspiration for this recipe certainly exemplifies these traits.
By starting with a big (yet simple!) malt bill consisting of only base malt and Belgian Special B would seem to be a little bit of a one-trick pony but fret not. The base malt creates a foundation of clean, bready malt flavors, and then the Special B ramps things up a bit by adding the characteristic color and complex flavor profile of dark fruit, caramel, and slight toffee.
For an equally robust punch in the hop department, sizeable doses of classic Chinook hops are added at four separate times throughout the boil to create bracing bitterness and prominent flavors and aromas of piney resin, slight spice, and noticeable nuances of grapefruit citrus. To keep things from being overly sweet and heavy-bodied, a relatively low mash temperature is used in the all-grain version, while a dose of simple sugars in the malt extract recipe helps the yeast to attenuate and contributes to the alcohol content while keeping the body and flavor from being too big or sweet.
While this recipe may be ready to drink in 6 weeks (fresh beer is always good!), it is substantial enough to stand up to aging well. If you have the self-control, try to (gasp!) hide a few bottles from yourself and then come back to them in 6 months, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Elegant Bastard is just that - A bit of an aggressive and rough-around-the-edges bastard when young, but morphs into a complexly elegant sipper with some age on it.”
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