Rusty Truck Brewing Company: Replicator

Dear Replicator, During a trip my wife and I took up the Oregon Coast. We stopped for dinner in Lincoln City, Oregon at Road House 101. There I had a Fender Bender Amber Ale brewed by Rusty Truck Brewing. This was the best Amber Ale I have ever had. It had great body, a nice balanced maltiness and kind of a nutty profile. I would love to brew a batch of this beer at home. Any chance you can help?
Steven Wilker
Berkeley, California

Eight years ago, Brian Whitehead bought an old, run down blues bar on highway 101 in Lincoln City, Oregon. He immediately upgraded the entire facility and re-named it Road House 101. His plan was to install a craft brewing system in this building but that proved to be too costly. Those plans were put on hold until 2011 when he had the necessary capital to complete a new 6,000-square-foot brewery building next to the restaurant and bar. They installed a 10-barrel Specific Mechanical brewhouse and their first batch, a blonde ale, was brewed in April of 2011. Their second batch was Fender Bender Amber. The odd name for the brewery is sourced from Brian’s 1958 Chevy flat bed truck which serves as a landmark when parked in front of the facility.

Their original brewer, Ron Hulka, developed most of the first recipes. These have since been tweaked by the new brewer Paul Thomas. Paul started his brewing career in 1990 as a bottler at Breckenridge Brewery. From there he went on to brew in Hailey, Idaho and Hamilton, Montana. Brian contacted him in May of 2012 while he was working as head brewer at Pelican Pub & Brewery in Pacific City, Oregon. He saw the potential at the Rusty Truck and came aboard later that month.

The Fender Bender is a classic example of the American amber ale style. It is clear and bright with colors displaying dark copper and light ruby highlights. A creamy white head shows great retention. The aroma features malt up front with a pronounced citrus background. Caramel malts dominate the flavor with just enough hop bitterness to offset the residual sweetness. Melanoidin malt provides a slight nuttiness with dextrin adding to the body.

Rusty Truck Brewing Co.’s Fender Bender Amber Ale clone

(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)
OG = 1.058 FG = 1.012 IBU = 35 SRM = 13 ABV = 6%

3.3 lbs. (1.5 kg) Briess, light, unhopped, liquid malt extract
2.0 lb. (0.9 kg) light, dried malt extract
1.2 lb. (0.54 kg) crystal malt (20 °L)
1.2 lb. (0.54 kg) crystal malt (40 °L)
14 oz. (0.39 kg) Vienna malt
8 oz. (0.22 kg) melanoidin malt (130 °L)
6 oz. (0.17 kg) cara-pils dextrin malt
1 oz. (28 g) black malt (450 °L)
6.87 AAU Magnum hop pellets (60 min.) (0.5 oz./14 g at 13.75 % alpha acids)
3.07 AAU Centennial hop pellets (30 min.) (0.3 oz./8.5 g at 10.25% alpha acids)
3.07 AAU Centennial hop pellets (15 min.) (0.3 oz./8.5 g at 10.25% alpha acids)
3.25 AAU Cascade hop pellets (0 min.) (0.5 oz./14 g at 6.5% alpha acids)
½ tsp. Irish moss (last 30 min.)
½ tsp. yeast nutrient (last 15 minutes of the boil)
White Labs WLP 051 (American Ale V) or Wyeast 1272 (American Ale II) yeast
0.75 cup (150g) of corn sugar for priming (if bottling)

Step by Step

Steep the crushed grain in 2 gallons (7.6 L) of water at 152 ºF (67 ºC) for 30 minutes. Remove grains from the wort and rinse with 2 quarts (1.8 L) of hot water. Add the liquid and dried malt extracts and boil for 60 minutes. Add the hops, Irish moss and yeast nutrient to the boil as per the schedule. Add the wort to 2 gallons (7.6 L) of cold water in a sanitized fermenter and top off with cold water up to 5 gallons (19 L).

Cool the wort to 75 ºF (24 ºC). Pitch your yeast and aerate the wort heavily. Allow the beer to cool to 68 ºF (20 ºC). Hold at that temperature until fermentation is complete. Transfer to a carboy, avoiding any splashing to prevent aerating the beer. Add the dry hops and allow the beer to condition for 1 week and then bottle or keg. Allow the beer to carbonate and age for three weeks and enjoy your Fender Bender Amber ale clone.

All-grain option:

This is a single step infusion mash using 8 lbs. (3.62 kg) 2-row pale malt to replace the liquid and dried malt extracts. Mix all of the crushed grains with 6 gallons (23 L) of 173 °F (78 °C) water to stabilize at 152 ºF (67 ºC) for 60 minutes. Sparge slowly with 175 ºF (79 ºC) water. Collect approximately 6 gallons (23 L) of wort runoff to boil for 60 minutes. Reduce the 60-minute Magnum hop addition to 0.4 oz. (11 g) (5.5 AAU) and the 30- and 15-minute Centennial additions to 0.25 oz. (7 g) (2.56 AAU) to allow for the higher utilization factor of a full wort boil. The remainder of this recipe and procedures are the same as the extract with grains recipe.

Issue: March-April 2013