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Hop Thief Ale(2006) clone - help!

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technobabble66

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Hi

I'm new to this, so i'm seeking some advice on making a particular brew: a replica of Hop Thief Ale, by James Squire. In particular the 2006 batch.

For the record, i'm basically brewing with extracts but have already tried boiling with hop additions, steeping with crystal grains & dry hopping.

This HT used Tomahawk/Columbus & Simcoe hops (from a statement by the brewer) to achieve a very strong hoppy flavour, plus a fair aroma, & a decent maltiness also. It's implied in a posting on the James Squires website that there might be one or more additional hops used. I have no idea about the techniques employed on this specific batch.
The first 3 HT batches use the "same basic beer base", according to the JS website. This states the use of Munich, Crystal and Pale malts.

So the basic ingredients i'm looking at are:

Munich Malt
Crystal Malt
Pale Malt

Tomahawk/Columbus Hops
Simcoe Hops
??? Hops
??? Hops


So there a few questions to do with the hops & the Grain bill:

Hops
JS states they use Tomahawk. Is it possible to get Tomahawk anymore? Is Columbus exactly the same, or just very very similar?
Columbus + Simcoe + what other hops? Citra, Cascade &/or Chinook seems likely candidates, possibly Nelson Sauvin too. (Any others??)
Should Columbus + Simcoe be enough to achieve the desired hoppiness?
Late hopping seems the best way to maximise flavour of hops (namely from http://www.mrmalty.com/late_hopping.php). So what is the best way to do this? Add the bulk of the hops at flameout & allow to steep for the 15-20 mins of chilling in the ice bath?
What might be the best way to structure the hops additions? eg: small amounts to boil for 15-20 min, then add the bulk at flameout, plus dry hop a significant amount at ~95% fermentation? (btw, i'm not worried about aroma - i'm assuming that will happen anyway given the quantities of hops).
Also, i'm assuming Columbus/Tomahawk is the main bittering hops, Simcoe is the main flavouring/aroma hops (depending on the other unknown hops'), so mainly use the bittering hops at the start, then favour the aroma hops later in the schedule?

Grain bill
How best to achieve the combination of Munich, Crystal & Pale malt?
I think i can access LME of Munich (Briess) & Pale, DME of Pale, and steeping grains for all 3. I'm also considering replacing the Pale malt with Amber malt.
So which should be better to include as the LME addition, DME addition & steeped grain addition?? I've found steeping grain greatly improves the body/fullness of the beer, so i'm definitely using some grains.
I'd be tempted to add maybe 150g of Wheat malt DME to help with body. Is this unnecessary??


Btw, i haven't specified quantities yet as it seemed long enough already, but i'd roughly look at 1-1.5kg of the Munich & Pale/Amber, plus 100-300g Crystal. Maybe 100g of each of the 2 main hops, plus 25-50g of any others.

Apologies for the huge amount of text, i just wanted to make sure i was clear as to what & where i was up to...

Thanks for taking the time to read this. All feedback is more than welcome!!
Stu
 

manticle

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Grain: Get Briess Munich and pale and crystal grain. Munich and pale grain both need mashing, crystal needs steeping only. I don't think you need the wheat. Can't help much otherwise as I have not tried the beer. What flavours do you get from the hops? Citrus fruits? Passionfruit? Garlic/onion? Grass?

Do you have an IBU, abv, OG or EBC/SRM target for the commercial product?
 

technobabble66

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Hey manticle,

Thanks for the advice on grains!

In terms of flavour, I might struggle a bit - I don't quite get some of the flavours associated w some beers. I can easily pick the influence of Galaxy hops producing passionfruit flavours in my latest homebrew, but in Vale IPA for example I totally wouldn't have said pine, citrus, stone fruit or passionfruit flavours.
The 06 HT is described as having citrus & passionfruit notes on the forums.
I just remember it as being fairly floral but having a very strong fundamentally "hoppy" flavour. Sorry, but I don't know how else to describe it!! From what I can guess reading (& tasting!) many many hops & beer descriptions, I might be looking for a "spicy" or "earthy" or "resiny". The "onion" I've heard Tomahawk produces could be on the money, though.

Just grabbed my only surviving bottle of it. The label states: "distinct citrus and herbaceous aroma with subtle floral and spicy tones... deep golden colour and a malty creaminess..."
Maybe that's the best indicator of the hops used.

For what it's worth, the deep golden colour I remember as being very deep. Basically amber, really.

IBU, EBC/SRM I haven't found. Abv is 5.0%
 

manticle

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If you take a sample and let it go flat, then measure with a hydrometer you should be able to calculate backwards to get the OG if you use the ABV to calculate.

Colour may help you work out the proportion of malts/grains used (or get rough idea).

If you're not that great with hop flavours, stick with the two you mentioned and don't overcomplicate. If it's not quite right, brew again and tweak. You won't get it bang on first time but you may make great beer trying and it's fun to try and crack the nut.

Also email the brewer for as many tips as they are willing to give. Don't forget yeast choice.
 

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