Attack Of The Clone
In all my brewing days I have only ever tried a clone recipe once. A clone, if you don't know, is an attempt via home brewing to recreate as nearly as possible a commercial brand of beer. I've made countless beers in my home brewing career but I've rarely deliberately set out to mirror an existing beer.
The notable exception is my flirtation with trying to make Schneider Weisse at home. In short, it didn't go well.
And now comes my Christmas ale attempt.
I love Jubelale from Deschutes. It's malty, it's hoppy, it's rich without overdoing it. It's thick and boozy but warming not threatening. It's lovely.
For years I coudn't get it on the East coast (and I still can't in New Jersey). But now that Deschutes is distributed in Pennsylvania a quick trip across the border allows me to get my hands on some of that goodness.
But I want more, and I want it around for a while. So I'm going to try to clone it.
I'm even toying with doing a five gallon batch so it lasts into 2016.
My research into the recipe started (and ended) at the source. The Deschutes website lists the ingredients. (If only it was that easy to clone a sheep.) With a beer of this character, color and depth it's obvious that I'll need a handful of different malts including a good amount of pale ale malt, some crystals (120 and 80), carapils and even some roasted barley.
For my hop schedule the website lists: Bravo, Cascade, Delta, Tettnang, East Kent Goldings. Done. I'm not sure I can get Bravo and Delta but I should be able to find suitable alternatives for each.
The Deschutes folks have even listed the yeast strain on their site, though I suspect they've kept it vague. The site lists, “English Ale.” But which one exactly? Between Wyeast and White Labs there are about 30 strains of yeast that could be considered “English.”
I took a look at a bunch and narrowed my choices to WLP002 (English Ale) and WLP022 (Essex Ale), which I've never used but read may work for Jubelale. But I think I'm going with WLP007 (Dry English Ale) for a few key reasons.
According to the White Labs website, WLP007 is typically very successful when used in English and American Strong ales, which, let's face it is what Jubelale is. Jubele Ale is nearly 7 percent alcohol-by-volume and my target original gravity is 1.067, so I do want a yeast that can handle higher gravity wort. Also WLP007 is highly attenuative. This is key, I think, because Jubelale, while malty, is not especially sweet. The English character, too, should impart some toffee and dried fruitiness that is such a part of Jubelale's joy.
It's thick, rich, malty, hoppy and perfect for Christmas. Plus, my wife loves it so Santa might bring her a clone for Christmas this year.
Then again, he can be stingy with the good stuff….Last modified on