Monday, January 7, 2013

No-Sparge American Pale Ale

I don't believe The South House will produce many beers that fall within standard BJCP guidelines. However, finding an extremely well-crafted American-style pale ale is always an exciting beer moment for me. 

A great pale ale doesn't need complex ingredients, extended  barrel aging, or a reputation amongst the beer hoarders to be special. Its a beer that is striking in its balance and drinkability. One pint is satisfying, as is several throughout a session.

My "perfect pint" is an American-style pale ale that strikes a balance between American hops (stone fruit, citrus, pine) and high-quality base malt (grainy, bread crust, cracker). It is dry with a crisp bitterness, but not to the level of an IPA or Pilsner. It is not thin, with just enough mouthfeel to carry the balance of flavors.

I don't believe crystal-type malts have a place in my perfect pale. I like to build malt character through a mix of base malts, normally American 2-row, German Pils, and light Munich. Mouthfeel is established with a bit of flaked adjunct or light "Cara"-type malts (CaraPils, Carahell). The body-building malts in the beer will be restrained to maintained "digestability". Colin Kaminski, head brewer at Downtown Joe's in Napa Valley, suggested on the Brewing Network that a bit of wheat malt will help drop out haze from dry hops. I intend on trying out this tip with some wheat (and possibly oats, rye, and spelt) in future revisions.

For the first draft, I structured the hop charge similar to my IPA recipe, restraining the mass of both the early, late, and dryhop additions. I also traded out Simcoe, which screams"IPA" to me, with Cascade.

My plan with this brew was to create a rough draft of an American Pale Ale that will be tweaked, both in recipe and process, throughout the year. However, with the 5 inches of snow we received earlier in the week, I cut the total brewday time with a no-sparge and added some DME at the end of the boil to make up for the drop in efficiency.

No Sparge American Pale Ale:

Batch Size: 7 Gallons
Total Efficiency: 26.2%
Estimated Original Gravity: 1.051
Estimated Final Gravity: 1.011 (5.2% abv)
Estimated IBU: 43 (0.84 IBU/SG)

6 lbs Rahr 2-Row Pale Malt (35.3%)
6 lbs Weyermann Pilsner Malt (35.3%)
1 lb Flaked Barley (5.9%)
1 lb CaraHell (5.9%)
1 lb Munich Malt (5.9%)
2 lbs Briess Light DME (11.8%)

0.5 oz Citra - FWH
1.0 oz Cascade - 30 min
0.5 oz Chinook - 30 min
0.5 oz Cascade - 0 min (cooling - 170F)
0.5 oz Centennial - 0 min (cooling - 170F)
0.5 oz Chinook - 0 min (cooling - 170F)
0.5 oz Citra - 0 min (cooling - 170F)
0.5 oz Cascade - dry-hop (end of primary)
0.5 oz Centennial - dry-hop (end of primary)

Water: 8 gallons distilled water, 2 gallons drinking water, from Marsh. No mineral additions.

Brewed 12/30/12

Mash in at 162F with H2O to top of mash tun (8.2 gal water added)
T = 154F, pH ~ 5.5 (added a few drops 88% Lactic to bring pH to 5-5.3)
Collected 6.3 gal at 1.041 (31% efficiency) + 1.8 gal left in kettle = 8 gal at 1.032

FWH - Added 0.5 oz Citra
30 min – Added 1 oz Cascade
30 min – Added 0.5 oz Chinook
15 min - Added ~ 1 tbsp Irish Moss (small palm-ful)
2 min - Added ~ 2 lbs DME
Whirlpool (~170F): 0.5 oz Cascade, 0.5 oz Centennial, 0.5 oz Chinook, 0.5 oz Citra

OG = 1.051

Cooled to 59F and racked onto yeast cake from cream ale (~ 500-600mL loose slurry; overpitched?)

5-gallon bucket in fermentation fridge. Set 2-stage fermentation controller to 62F (basement temp ~61-62F – no heating).

Fermentation activity within 8 hours.

1/2/2013 (Wednesday night)
Fermentation slowed to 45sec between bubbles) – Added 0.5 oz Cascade and 0.5 oz Centennial.
Raised temp to 64F with heating belt for diacetyl rest.

Raised 1 deg per day to 66F.

1/7/2013 (Monday Night)
FG = 1.006 (5.9% abv)
Tasting notes: No detectable fermentation flaws. Nice grapefruit/citrus hop character with a crackery, grainy malt component. I would like to taste more piney/woody hop character.
Racked to keg. In kegorator at 40F, ~13 psi

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