Eureka, its time for another tasting. The one we are looking at today is the Festive Pale Ale I did at the beginning of March 2012. This was a straight forward Pale Ale recipe with Pilsner malt and Carapils as a base, some Saaz, Amarillo and Cascade hops and the legendary #1056 American Ale yeast. Started with a gravity of 1.048 (12.2°P) and finished at 1.007 (2°P). ABV around 5.5%. I dry hopped this brew with some Amarillo and Cascade hops and racked it in a keg. Unfortunately, some hops remained in the keg and plugged the outlet of the keg for several times. I learned: Either rack more carefully or use a bag for the hops to prevent a stuck keg.
Aroma: Very fruity aroma. Could detect some citrusy and lichi notes. The fruity aroma covers anything else. Really nice!
Appearance: Pours with a yellow color, white head, no carbonation visible and some particles float around (mostly hop debris).
Flavor: Huge fruity notes much like in the aroma. Some honey, maize and bready-sweetness as well. These notes could be from the Pilsner malt.
Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, some carbonation, short and slightly bitter aftertaste. Quite refreshing. A lot of the carbonation gets lost during the pouring from the tap. Due to the plugged keg, it foams a lot and the carbonation gets lost.
Overall Impression: Not bad for a Pale Ale. It is quite refreshing although a bit watery and very limited in the flavors. This is a beer you can easily enjoy during a hot Summer day.
The beer turned out as expected.: Refreshing, thirst quenching and easy to enjoy. Although not my favorite brew. To be honest, I am not a huge fan of Pale Ales in general. Lately I am focusing on beer styles which are more accessible to the general beer drinkers. I do so to have recipes on hand for upcoming events, tastings and a secret I share with you later on… Stay tuned!
I would expect this has lost some of it’s fresh punch, especially the dry hopping aroma by now. Typically a style where fresher is better.
Looking back at the recipe, I’m a little curious about the choice for a big Saaz addition for the bittering. Why not a clean bittering higher AA% hop? I would think any of the Saaz characteristics would be overpowered by the Amarillo and Cascade, particularly the dry hopping addition. Did you find the Saaz brought much to the table here?
Actually, the keg is nearly empty and I could not detect any decrease of the hop aroma over the time. However, I would not take that observation for granted and enjoying it fresh is indeed better. Not a beer for storage…
Why go with Saaz? Well, the original recipe called for Saaz and I left it that way. You could go with a bittering hop as well. And you are right, the Saaz aroma/flavor was overpowered by the Cascade and Amarillo hops. To summarize, no need to add the Saaz hops for the aroma/flavor of it. A clean bittering hop can work as well.