Sunday, March 10, 2013

Pale Ale - Revision 2 (a.k.a. Mosaic Double Pale)

Written as a follow-up to my initial attempt at a pale ale, the recipe for this beer was fairly similar to the original. Come brew day, however, I chose to deviate from the recipe, attempting to take advantage of the increased efficiency I earned from slowing my runoff. During the longer mash out, I had time to relax and take down a few pints of IPA.

My IPA-fueled ADD got the best of me, tricking me into breaking two of my cardinal brewing rules: 

1. Stick To The Recipe
2. No Beer Until The Boil (okay - obviously can't blame IPA for this one)

Another shining example of why I abide by these rules, this beer is lackluster at best, paling in comparison to the initial version. It is out of balance, with a hop profile that is shadowed by the extra gravity.

Since the beer was already such a departure, I decided to experiment with Mosaic hops in my dry-hop addition. More notes on this later in the post.

In addition to the shortcomings caused by my lack of discipline, I also believe some of the changes I set out to make after Rev. 1 can use another tweak:
  • 20% Munich Malt is a bit high. I think I will settle around 12%
  • I would like more Pilsner malt flavors to come through. It will make up ~50% of the next grain bill.
  • The beer will sit on the dry hops for 3 days maximum. I will keep the amounts the same for the next revision, and determine whether I need to add more to the single dry hop addition or dry hop in the keg as well (warm, before carbonating).
  • Inspired by hoppy but massively-quaffable ales like Founders All Day IPA and 21st Amendment's Bitter American, I'd like to drive the gravity below 5%.   

Brewday 01/27/2013

Estimated OG = 1.054
Estimated FG = 1.010 - 1.012
Estimated efficiency = 58.9%
Batch size = 7.1 gal (into fermenter)
Boil time = 60 min


6 lbs Rahr 2-row Pale Malt (31.6%)
6 lbs Weyermann Pilsner Malt (31.6%)
4 lbs Weyermann Munich I Malt (21.1%)
2 lbs Weyermann Wheat Malt (10%)
1 lbs Weyermann CaraHell (5.3%)


5 gallons drinking water, 7 gallons distilled water (Marsh)
Adjusted to 300 ppm sulfate (assumed 60% RO water in Bru’n Water)
Added 12g CaSO4 to strike water (per Bru’n Water)


Mashed in with 6 gallons H2Oat 166F – T=153F (BeerSmith = spot on)
pH ~ 4.7
Added 1.5g Baking Soda – pH ~5.8
Added ¼ tsp 88% lactic acid – pH ~ 4.7
Added 0.6g Baking Soda – pH~5
Added 0.4g Baking Soda – pH 5-5.3 (Good enough)
T =152F at start of rest (12:35)
Stirred half way through rest (13:00) – T=151F
Added 0.5 gal boiling water (13:10) – T = 151F
Added 0.5 gal boiling water (13:12) – T = 154 (oops)
Added FWH at beginning of boil (1.00 oz / 28.5g Cascade)
Collected 8.5 gal at 1.051 (62% mash efficiency)


Started boil at 15:18

1.00 oz (28.5g) Cascade – FWH
1.75 oz (49.2g) Chinook – 30 min (0.5oz extra from recipe – adjusting bitterness for extra extract)
Added Whirlfloc tablet at 30 min
KO after 60 min - started chilling
1 oz (28g) Centennial – 0 min (170F)
1 oz (28g) Citra – 0 min (170F)
1 oz (28g) Cascade – 0 min (170F) (0.5oz extra from recipe – replaces extra 0.5oz Chinook added at 30 min)
OG = 1.065


Pitched at 62F – 1 cup thin slurry, washed from last week’s batch (double brown, 1056 starter and packet S-05)
Oxygen – 45 seconds

2/1/2013 – Fermentation slowing. Added 2 oz Mosiac, 1 oz Centennial

2/3/2013 – FG = 1.008 (7.5% ABV)

2/6/2013 – Racked to keg with Gelatin (1/2 tsp in ~3/4 cup)
Note: This is much longer of a dry hop period than normal (3 days maximum).

02/10/2013 – Pulled first 1.5 pints, significant amount of sediment (clogged tube). After most/all of the sediment had passed, the beer is still very cloudy. The next pint had small bits of hop matter in it.

03/04/13 – Tasting notes:

Appearance: Very pretty burnt orange. Translucent.

Aroma: Berry and citrus, like a mixture of homemade jams. Pleasant.

Flavor: Some hop flavors are similar tothe nose, with the addition of wet cut grass clippings (not favorable – probably from the extra days on the dry hops). Bready malt flavors, no pilsner malt flavors.

Mouthfeel: Not too dry. Bitterness lingers a bit, but it would be nice in a smaller, drier, more aromatic beer.

Overall impression: Quite a departure from my intent, this beer isn't terrible to have on tap but lacks the quality, quaffability, and personality of the first version. The first was much more balanced and complex, which is interesting considering the lower alcohol and simpler hop bill. I assume this one is lacking because it is under-hopped with the increase in gravity.

The malt flavors were also more one-dimensional. The color is beautiful, but I will still decrease the Munich and increase the amount of Pilsner. I enjoy the saltine cracker flavors from Pilsner, with bready Munich as a background note. As I nail down the flavors and balance of the beer, I may play with a bit of dark malts to get the same orange hues of this beer. I'm usually not a fan of adding additional ingredients solely for the sake of color, but I don't think I can achieve the color and my desired malt profile otherwise.

Mosaic hops have unique flavors, but I don’t like them in a pale ale, as they dominate the hop profile. The most impressive examples are hop-forward imperial red ales, much like Bell’s This One Goes to 11 (AWESOME. Beer.). These hops may also be interesting in malt-forward beers boasting fruity notes from the malt, like Doppelbock, Dubbel, or Amber.

Next up: Round Three!

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