#46 Festive Pale Ale

Eureka, today a post about a test batch recipe. I have to add first that I am very busy lately and my time for writing new posts is very limited. Sorry for that. I hope to finish the promised posts very soon. And there is yet another matter which has to be taken care of. More about that in a few weeks. But I am really excited about it already… Now back to the original story. My father plans his birthday party for the upcoming summer. And what is a party without some beer, right? So I accepted the challenge to pour some beers there. So, to be sure the beer turns out as expected, I did a test batch first.

Now the question, what is a suitable recipe for a party in the summer? Of course, the beer should be refreshing, easy enjoyable for a lot of different beer drinkers and a decent level of alcohol. A Lager beer seems very appropriate. But since I am not really into Lager beers myself and my experience in brewing such beers is very limited, I decided to go with a Pale Ale with some Cascade and Amarillo hops. By the way, this recipe is not my own but I can’t find the original source anymore.

Recipe: Festive Pale Ale
Numbers: Volume [L] 20 (5.3 gal)
Original gravity 12.2°P
Terminal gravity 2°P
Color Around 4 EBC
ABV 5.5%
Grains: Pilsner Malt (4 EBC) 3.8 kg
Carapils (4 EBC) 0.2 kg
Hops: Saazer (3.2% AA) 50 g and boil for 60 min
Amarillo (10% AA) 12.5 g and boil for 0 min
Amarillo (10% AA) 28 g for dry hopping
Cascade (5.9% AA) 23.7 g for dry hopping
Yeast: #1056 American Ale
Water: Burgdorf Mash: 10 L (2.6 gal), sparge: 16 L (4.2 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: Mash in @66°C (151°F), 60 min @ 72°C (162°F), 10 min @ 78°C (172°F)
Boil: Total 60 min
Fermentation: Primary 12 days @ 20°C (68°F) in a plastic bucket
Secondary 14 days @ 20°C (68°F) in a plastic bucket and add hops for dry hopping
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) Added 2 L of wort to beer for carbonation
Maturation time 3 weeks

03/03/12: Brew day. Iodine test was negative after resting for one hour. So I proceeded with sparging and boiling. I had 16.5 L after the boiling with a gravity of about 14.5°P. So I added 5.0 L of cold water, transferred the beer into my whirlpool kettle, added the Amarillo hops and stirred the whole wort to get the debris in the center of the kettle. I then bottled 2 L of hot wort into two 1 L bottles for the conditioning step of the beer. Then cooled the wort down to approximately 20°C (68°F).

I then pitched the appropriate amount of an American Ale yeast (Wyeast’s 1056 American Ale) which fermented another beer before. I used my microscope to determine the cell count of the harvested yeast for the right amount.

03/10/12: Racked the beer into the secondary fermenter and added the Cascade and Amarillo hops for dry hopping. Gravity already at 2°P.

03/24/12: Filled up a keg and added 2 L of the wort for carbonation. The keg will carbonate for approximately seven days and then mature for another three weeks before a first tasting takes place. I will post the tasting in another post soon. Stay tuned!

06/28/12: Tasting


#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.