After this post discussing my plan to brew a cross between 120 Minute and Pliny the Younger, I got some feedback that I should post the recipe and process for the original 120 Minute clone. Most of the info is detailed here, but that thread is a million pages long and the information isn’t condensed. Unfortunately, there’s a flipping ton of information about this beer, so hold onto your hats, this is going to be a long one.
My 120 Minute adventure started with the Brewing Network’s Can You Brew It show for 120 Minute. The challenge of brewing a 21% ABV beer really intrigued me, which was compounded by the fact that I had a hard time finding anyone that had truly cloned the beer. The CYBI show was focused around Sean Paxton’s attempt at the beer. While he got really close, his beer didn’t attenuate, and stalled at 1.050; way too sweet for my taste.
So I used Paxton’s recipe as the foundation to build off of. Obviously he had the flavor profile right, but there were definitely some tweaks needed. First and foremost, his base malt, Pilsner. I’m positive Dogfish uses American 2-row. Next on the list is the yeast. Dogfish uses an fairly clean, fairly attenuative english yeast. I’ve had success using WLP007 in cloning 90 minute, so I used it for the 120 minute recipe as well. The next issue were yeast pitching rates. This beer needs a ton of yeast to ferment out, so I planned on making much larger starters. The final issue were hopping rates. I tripled what Paxton used. A number of folks have had success brewing this on HomeBrewTalk, so it’s a fairly proven recipe. So with the stage set, I’ll get straight to the recipe and process.
Target OG (pre-sugar): 1.100 or so
1.25lbs Thomas Fawcett Amber Malt* (see note below)
Mix all hops together, and hop continuously for 120min** (see note below)
Mash at 147-149* for 90min
10lbs dextrose added slowly once the WLP099 is added*** (see note below)
*Amber malt: Use Thomas Fawcett Amber Malt. If you can’t find Thomas Fawcett Amber, look harder. This is the exact malt DFH uses, you can see the bag on BrewMasters. It’s available at quite a few online retailers if your LHBS doesn’t carry it. For my clone, I subbed 1lb Victory and 4oz Crystal 60. The difference is minimal, but do it right if you can.
**Hopping: Mix all 12oz of hops together, how often you add them is up to you. Some people add a couple pellets every minute, others fill up 40 dixie cups, and add one cup per 3 minutes. I’m way too lazy for that crap. I divided my hops in 13 additions (26g each), and added them every 10 minutes. Realistically, you could add the hops every 20 minutes.
The week before you brew this, you need to start thinking about your yeast. This is by far the most important step in this beer. You need a metric asston of healthy yeast. Without that, you’ll have hop-flavored cough syrup. This beer uses two strains of yeast: WLP007, then WLP099 gets pitched a few days after the WLP007. Both strains will need massive starters, so plan on stepping both up.
-WLP007 – Plan on growing about 500 billion cells. This requires a 4-5 liter starter on a stir plate.
-WLP099 – Plan on about the same. I did a 4 liter starter.
Pitch the WLP007 at around 64*, and hold fermentation there for the first couple days. As the fermentation slows, raise the temperature to around 66-67*, and pitch the slug of WLP099 yeast. At this point you want to start your dextrose additions.
***Dextrose: A massive portion of the fermentable sugar in this beer comes from dextrose. Divide 10 pounds of the white stuff into ziplock bags. I’d divide half in 12oz bags, and half in 6oz bags. Start feeding the beer twice a day, 12oz of dextrose per addition. Take a gravity reading at every addition to see how the how the beer is fermenting. As fermentation slows, cut the additions back to 6oz each. The goal is to get as much sugar into the batch as possible, while keeping the FG of the beer around 1.020 or lower.
Once you’ve added all the sugar you dare, keep the beer warm (68* or so) to help it finish attenuate. When the beer has truly reached FG, you’ll want to get it off the yeast cake fairly quickly. Autolysis is rarely an issue in home brewing, but in a 20% beer, it certainly is. Plan to rake the beer to secondary about a week after you hit FG. Marvel at the size of the yeast cake; you’ll never see a yeast cake so big in a six gallon batch.
You’ve just brewed an 18-21% ABV beer; that’s 36 to 42 proof. It’s going to need some time to mellow out. Two months is probably a good length of time before you’ll want to consider kegging it (approx three months from brew day.)
We’re going to heavily dry hop this beer in the secondary. I used 6oz of hops. 1oz of Simcoe and 1oz of Amarillo added three times over three weeks. Think of the dry hop schedule in reverse: Four weeks from when you plan to keg the beer, start dry hopping.
You can’t bottle condition this beer. If you bottle it, it will be flat. Force carbonation will be the only way to get some bubbles. I let my beer cold condition in the keg for 4 weeks before I bottled it off for some long term aging.
The two most critical steps to clone this beer are: Mash temp, and healthy yeast. Mash low to ensure the yeast can ferment the wort, and pitch a metric fucking asston(technical brewer’s term) of yeast. If you get those two things right, your beer will turn out great.
That’s going to wrap it up for this post. I’ll follow this up with another post in a few days regarding some of the tips and tricks I learned brewing this beer. There are a bunch of details to get into, so stay tuned.