#37 Simcoe APA

Eureka, time for another recipe. Brewed this one in 2011 to try Simcoe hops for the first time. To do so, I planned a very easy English Pale Ale recipe and threw some Simcoe hops in there. And I wanted to try first wort hopping as I read that it should increase the hop aroma. So I went for it. By the way, APA stands for American Pale Ale.

Recipe: Simcoe APA
Numbers: Volume [L] 22 (5.8 gal)
Original gravity 12.7°P
Terminal gravity 3°P
Color Around 11 EBC
ABV 5.2 %
Grains: Pale Malt (6.5 EBC) 4.6 kg
Crystal (120 EBC) 0.2 kg
Hops: Simcoe (14% AA) 17.9 g first wort
Simcoe (14% AA) 7.1 g and boil for 15 min
Simcoe (14% AA) 1.8 g and boil for 5 min
Simcoe (14% AA) 100 g dry hopping
Yeast: #1056 American Ale
Water: Burgdorf Mash: 12 L (3.2 gal), sparge: 20 L (5.3 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: 1 step Mash in @64°C (147°F), 60 min @64°C (147°F), 5 min @ 78°C (172°F)
Boil: Total 60 min
Fermentation: Primary 6 days @ 18°C (72°F) in a plastic bucket
Secondary 7 days @ 18°C (72°F) in a plastic bucket
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) Added 2 L of wort for carbonation
Maturation time 1 week @20°C (68°F) and 2- 3 weeks @4°C (39°F)

Mash is resting

08/18/2011: Brew day. Iodine test was positive after resting for one hour. This never happened to me before which such a malt grist. I then found out that my thermometer was broken and the temperature was too low for the whole hour. So I had to rest for another additional 30 min @64°C (147°F). All the rest went according to the protocol. Bottled 2 L of wort before chilling for priming. The original gravity and volume were spot on as calculated.

08/25/2011: Racked the beer in another fermenter and added the 100 g Simcoe hops for dry hopping.


09/01/2011: Kegged the beer with 2 L of wort and let it carbonate. I had to release some pressure from the keg to prevent an explosion…

12/06/2011: Did a proper tasting. I already tasted the beer before but never wrote anything down. So here is a real tasting:

Aroma: Still very hoppy after two months. Pine and citrus notes. Nothing else to smell. Very clean aroma profile.

Appearance: Orange, clear, white head, few bubbles. Good head retention. Looks like a typical American Pale Ale to me, maybe the head is a bit too good…

Flavor: Citrus notes, really bitter, no malt character. Pretty clean and dry.

Mouthfeel: Light- medium body, average carbonation, medium lasting bitter aftertaste.

Overall Impression: This was the first time I used Wyeast’s #1056 American Ale yeast strain. And I already love its very clean character. The beer is very easy drinkable although the bitterness is very overwhelming. No off flavors and still fresh. Would I drink another one? Yes! But there is something off here: the bitterness. I planned it to be around 34 IBU and this would be some bitterness but not as overpowering as it is. This brew is more an IPA than APA. What happened? First, one problem could be the calculation of the first wort hop. I just calculated it as the hops would have been boiled for 60 min. Maybe the dry hops could have increased the bitterness as well.

I will brew this batch for a second time in 2012 but I don’t know yet whether I change the first wort hopping or the amount of dry hops. I posted about my results (higher bitterness than expected) in a forum and my helpers mentioned that dry hopping might increase the bitterness as well, not by increasing the IBU per se but by increasing some other compounds that lead to a higher perceived bitterness. Someone suggested to dump some hops in a bland liquor and try to taste the bitterness after some days. And I am definitely going to do that.

To summarize, I really like Simoce hops and the #1056 American Ale yeast. The reason why I did this kind of batch was to create a recipe where I can try different hops and get to know the different hop characters. And I guess that an APA recipe would be the best way to do so.