Kabuki Theater – Japanese Style Golden Ale

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The second (darker) iteration brewed at Wacker Brewing Co. Why is scaling up Crystal malt so weird?

I’ve been calling this a Japanese-Style Golden Ale, which is a completely bullshit term for it, but I don’t know what else to call it aside from a sake/beer hybrid, and that sounds even stupider.

Owing its name to the political grandstanding that it’s currently used to describe, it’s also a reference to the traditional Japanese art as well, focusing predominately on Asian influenced ingredients. Aside from the more conventional adaptations with the malt, hops, and yeast, the beer also had burdock root and yuzu juice added, as well as being blended with matcha green tea at bottling.

The overall profile was shooting for a citrusy, earthy, and lightly sweet beer with a mildly dry finish and a light gold color. Honestly, I didn’t even want the golden color, my initial intention was that I wanted to make some real wackadoo shit like Fantôme’s Magic Ghost, but I have no idea how that glorious bastard Danny Prignon pulled that suspension off.

Worth noting, this beer also was brewed as a 1 bbl batch at Wacker Brewing Co. on their pilot system. Shout out to my boy Jon.

Them Digits

Batch Size: 6 gallons (originally was supposed to be 5)

Mash Temp: 150F

Boil Time: 60 min.

Batch Efficiency: Roughly 68%, by my math

Original Gravity: 1.054 // 13.5 P

Final Gravity: 1.012 // 3.1 P

ABV: 5.3%

IBUs: 40

SRM: 14.5 EBC // 7 SRM

Recipe

Malts

  • 6# Pearl Malt | 46%
  • 4# Rice | 31%
  • 2# Red Wheat | 15%
  • .5# Crystal 60L | 4%
  • .5# Rolled Oats |4%

Hops

  • 1 oz. Saaz @ 60 min.
  • 1 oz. Saaz @ 40 min.
  • 1 oz. Sorachi Ace @ 10 min.
  • 1 oz. Sorachi Ace @ 5 min.
  • 1 oz. Sorachi Ace @ 1 min

Yeast

  • Wyeast Sake Yeast (4134) – Fermented at 62F-66F

Spices ‘n Such

  • About 3 oz. freshly grated burdock roots (added @ 20 min.)
  • 12 oz. yuzu juice (added during fermentation)
  • 3 cups of matcha green tea (added at bottling, mixed with hot water as per instructions on bag)

Notes

The brewing itself went off relatively without a hitch. Only issue ended up being that I somehow fucked up my math and ended up with about 6 gallons of slightly lower gravity brew. Turned out favorably, though, it made the ending brew a little bit lighter. Sadly, the matcha did not really remain in suspension terribly well. Probably for the better, as I didn’t spring for the super high quality tea, so it ended up a slightly poop green chartreuse rather than a beautiful lime or jade color. The bottles were very carefully decanted upon serving.

Now, the kicker was that brewing it at Wacker introduced a whole new aspect of swapping ingredients and methods with the scaled up batch. We managed to get a hold of fresh yuzu, which by the way is absolute shit for juicing, so we ended up using the zest of probably 14 of those bastards. It ended up a little darker with scaling up in BeerSmith, somehow, and I blame the Crystal malt for that one. Otherwise, the main differences ended up being that the matcha was added during the whirlpool instead of in the brite (which would be the equivalent of adding at bottling) and that we also used 8 oz. of dried burdock root. I think that loaned itself to more of a bitterness and a slightly more vegetal note from the longer contact time with the tea, but there was also a much stronger earthiness from the burdock. After a few weeks on draft, though, the flavors really mellowed out and blended together quite nicely – it drinks like a completely different beer than when it was fresh.

Ideally, the best version of this beer lies somewhere in between the two batches as their were some qualities of each that I liked and disliked.

This is also one of the more recent beers to actually get a label made for it, as I have stopped being a lazy piece of shit after about 2 years and started doing multiple batches at a time, thus rendering the need to be able to tell them apart.

Shout out to my tattoo artist, James @ Lucky 13, for the main portion of artwork on this one. I had some minor editing and typework to do, but this was originally a sketch for a tattoo he did on my arm. Since I used his art, and he’s a rad dude, I wanted to make sure I got him a bottle with a label on it. Fun fact: that label was a total nightmare to cut out by hand with an xactoknife. I only cut out two – the first one was poorly done and I decided that if I was going to give it to James, there was no way in hell I could give him one that janky, so I had to do another one.

Kabuki Theater final

One thought on “Kabuki Theater – Japanese Style Golden Ale

  1. Pingback: Sans – Gluten Free Grisette | I Brew Weird Shit

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