Classico Pale Ale

Following on my series of IPAs and pale ales, I recently worked on a “classic” American pale ale. Again, I wanted to avoid the really tropical notes (which I like, but have been getting burned out on), and elected to highlight the Falconer’s Flight blend here. It was a good success!

Classico Pale Ale

  • 5 lb. Maris Otter Malt (Bairds)
  • 5 lb. 2-row malt (Rahr)
  • 8 oz. crystal 40 malt (Great Western)
  • 8 oz. crystal 60 malt (Great Western)
  • 0.7 oz. Warrior hop pellets (15.8% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Cascade whole hops (~4% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Falconer’s Flight 7C’s hop pellets (9.8% alpha), 5 minute whirlpool
  • 1 pkg. Safale US-05 American Ale dry yeast
  • 1 pkg. Mangrove Jack’s M44 US West Coast Yeast
  • 3 oz. Falconer’s Flight 7C’s hop pellets (9.5% alpha), dry hop in keg

Target Parameters

  • 60 minute infusion mash, 152°, batch sparge
  • 1.055 o.g., 1.012 f.g., 5.7% abv, 44 IBU, 8 SRM
  • Claremont water with 1 tsp. of gypsum added during boil

Procedure

  • I mashed in with 3.75 gallons of water at 164°, to hit a mash target of 152°. After 60 minutes, I added 1 gallon of water at ~185°, let sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected first runnings. Then, I added 3.3 gallons of water at 185°, let sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected second runnings.
  • In total, I collected 6.5 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.046, for 76% mash efficiency.
  • I brought the runnings to a boil, adding everything per the recipe. After 60 minutes of boiling, I added the whirlpool hops, waited 5 minutes, and then began to chill the wort.
  • I transferred the wort to the fermenter, pitched the yeast, and set it to ferment at 67°.
  • I brewed this beer on 1 April 2019. Starting gravity was 1.054, and final gravity was 1.012 when I kegged it on 14 April 2019. This works out to 5.5% abv.

IMG_20190508_202711

Tasting Notes

  • Aroma
    • Hop-forward aroma, with light citrus and pine together, and a mild caramel quality behind that.
  • Appearance
    • Light copper color, hazy, with a persistent off-white head.
  • Flavor
    • The hops are at the front of the flavor, but aren’t overpowering. The hop flavor profile is a combination of citrus and tropical fruit with a hint of pine behind that. The malt flavor is slightly grainy/bready, with a faint caramel note. Really nice!
  • Mouthfeel
    • Medium-light body, with appropriate level of carbonation. The finish is smooth and off-dry.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Yes! I really like this particular recipe, and think it pretty well represents what an American pale ale should be. The only minor concern (were I brewing this for competition) is the haze, which would undoubtedly settle out given more time. Otherwise, what a great beer!
  • Overall
    • 9/10
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Warrior’s IPA

IMG_20190216_213732

Transferring the wort into the fermenter

Today’s American IPAs are awesome–I love hops like Mosaic and Citra, to the point where I have been starting to hit fruity hop fatigue. The antidote? Make a beer with the most piney, resiny, harshest old school hops I could find.

Warrior’s IPA

  • 12 lb. 2-row malt (Rahr)
  • 1.5 lb. rye malt (Viking)
  • 0.5 lb. crystal 60 malt
  • 4.4 oz. crystal 80 malt
  • 4 oz. rice hulls
  • 1 oz. Warrior hop pellets (15.8% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 2 oz. East Kent Goldings hop pellets (6.0% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 1.5 oz. Cascade whole hops (~3.5% alpha), 5 minute whirlpool
  • 2 pkg. Safeale American Ale yeast (US-05)
  • 3 oz. Columbus hop pellets (14.0% alpha), dry hop in keg

Target Parameters

  • 60 minute infusion mash, 154°, no sparge
  • 1.065 o.g., 1.016 f.g., 6.5% abv, 61 IBU, 9 SRM
  • Claremont tap water, augmented with 1 tsp. gypsum

Procedure

  • I mashed in with 7.75 gallons of water at 162°, to hit a mash temperature of 151.7°. After 60 minutes, I vorlaufed and collected 5.75 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.055. This equated to a fairly miserable measured mash efficiency of 60%. (After this, I re-aligned my mill, in case that was the problem–I also figure the percentage of rye might be partly to blame, too).
  • I brought the runnings to a boil, adding hops and finings per the recipe. After 60 minutes, I turned off the heat, added the whirlpool hops, let sit for 5 minutes, and then chilled.
  • I transferred the beer to the fermenter, and fermented at 66°.
  • I brewed the beer on 16 February 2019, and kegged on 9 March 2019.
  • Starting gravity was 1.065, and final gravity was 1.011, for 7.2% abv.

Overall Impressions

I served this beer for a party, and it kicked before I could really get a good tasting. I didn’t even get a good picture! It was really popular with the hopheads, definitely delivering on the hop flavors and aromas that I wanted–rich, resiny, and piney. I felt like it needed a bit more time to mature, because the malt flavors weren’t quite there yet. Another few weeks might have helped. Oh well…I guess that means I have to brew this again!

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Pale Ale 2019

Completely uncreative name. I needed a pale ale, this was the first one I brewed in 2019, this is what I got. This batch was a bit of a mutt, with pilsner malt as most of the grist, American hops, and Nottingham yeast. I basically wanted to play around with ingredients, and see what a pale ale outside of the norm might be like.

Pale Ale 2019

  • 5 lb. 14 oz. Barke pilsner malt (Weyermann)
  • 2 lb. 15 oz. Vienna malt (Great Western)
  • 1 lb. 12 oz. 2-row malt (Rahr)
  • 8 oz. Crystal 40 (Great Western)
  • 2 oz. Cascade whole hops (5.5% alpha est.), 60 minute boil
  • 2 oz. Cascade whole hops (5.5% alpha est.), 1 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 1 pkg. Nottingham yeast (Lallemand)
  • 2 oz. Simcoe hop pellets (13.6% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 oz. Centennial hop pellets (9.3% alpha), dry hop in keg

Target Parameters

  • 60 minute infusion mash, 152°, no sparge
  • 1.049 o.g., 1.011 f.g., 4.9% abv, 39 IBU, 6 SRM
  • Claremont tap water, augmented with 5 g of epsom salt and 2 g of calcium chloride.

Procedure

  • I mashed in with 7.5 gallons of water at 165°, to hit a mash temperature of 158°. It was too hot, so I dropped in a frozen water bottle.
  • The mash was down to 153.6° after 40 minutes. I elected to do a 45 minute mash with this batch.
  • I collected 6.5 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.043, for 69% mash efficiency. This is slightly lower than if I had done a batch sparge, so no surprises here.
  • I brought the runnings to a boil, adding hops and other ingredients per the recipe.
  • After 60 minutes, I chilled to 70°, transferred with aeration, and pitched the yeast. Starting gravity was 1.050.
  • I brewed this beer on 5 January 2019, and fermented at 67°.
  • I kegged the beer on 24 January 2019. Final gravity was 1.015, down from 1.050, for 4.6% abv.

Tasting

  • Appearance
    • Clear, gold beer, with a persistent white head that continues as an even blanket over the surface of the beer.
  • Aroma
    • Hop-forward aroma, with citrus and piney notes.
  • Flavor
    • Moderately bitter, with a flavor tipped towards the hoppy side. The tropical and citrus aspects of the hops come through, although there isn’t much in the way of malt flavor.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side for my preference. Carbonation is appropriate for the style, and the finish is nicely rounded.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Probably not, at least in its current form. Pilsner malt just doesn’t make for a pale ale in my flavor wheelhouse, so I might swap that for 2-row. The hop profile is dead-on perfect, especially for a good springtime pale ale. This beer has improved greatly as it matured–I didn’t care for it at all when first kegged, and now it is a pretty drinkable brew.
  • Overall:
    • 6.5/10
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GBP70 – Bohemian Pilsner Recipe & Tasting

In honor of my dad’s 70th birthday (he introduced me to homebrewing, after all!), I brewed a Bohemian-style pilsner. It was pretty tasty, and sadly didn’t last long enough even for me to do a formal tasting. I made the mistake of serving it at a party, and the keg was finished before I could blink!

GBP70 (Greg’s Birthday Pilsner 70)

  • 10.5 lbs. Barke pilsner malt (Weyermann)
  • 2.3 oz. melanoidin malt (Weyermann)
  • 0.3 oz. Carafa Special III malt (Weyermann)
  • 2 oz. Saaz hop pellets (3.0% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 0.75 oz. Saaz hop pellets (3.5% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. Fermax yeast nutrient, 10 minute boil
  • 2.25 oz. Saaz hop pellets (3.5% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 2 pkg. W34/70 Saflager Lager Yeast (Fermentis)

Target Parameters

  • 60 minute infusion mash, 150°, no sparge
  • 1.049 o.g., 1.010 f.g., 5.2% abv, 38 IBU, 5 SRM
  • Water built from RO to hit targets of 7 ppm Ca, 2 ppm Mg, 2 ppm Na, 5 ppm SO4, 5 ppm Cl, 15 ppm HCO3

Procedure

  • To 7.75 gallons of RO water, I added 0.6 g baking soda, 0.4 g CaCl, and 0.3 g gypsum.
  • I heated the mash water to ~160°, added to the mash tun, allowed to cool to 155.4°, and then added the grains along with 10 mL of 88% lactic acid.
  • I hit 150.7° on the mash temperature–not too bad! It was down to 148.7° after 45 minutes.
  • After 60 minutes, I collected 6.5 gallons of wort with a gravity of 1.041. This works out to 67% efficiency. That’s a fair bit lower than my typical efficiency (73 to 75%), but not unexpected given the no-sparge methods. I added 0.25 gallons of RO water to bring up the volume in the kettle.
  • I boiled for 60 minutes, adding hops and other ingredients per the schedule.
  • I chilled the wort to 75° in the kettle, and chilled the rest of the way down to 49° after transferring to the fermenter. I oxygenated for 60 minutes at this point, and then pitched the dry yeast directly into the wort.
  • Starting gravity was 1.046 on 12 January 2019.
  • I raised the brew temperature to 64° on 26 February 2019, and cold crashed on 28 February 2019. I kegged the beer (using a closed-transfer technique, directly into the CO2-purged keg) on 9 March 2019.
  • Final gravity was 1.010, down from 1.046. This equates to 4.9% abv.

IMG_20190327_202833General Tasting Impressions

I didn’t get to do a formal tasting for this one, and it was finished before it really hit its ultimate peak, but overall I’m pretty happy with it. The malt flavor was spot-on, and I think I’ve finally iterated into a good balance of melanoidin malt within my no-decoction Bohemian pilsner recipes. The beer was pretty clear, but would have cleared to brilliant with another week or two in the keg. The head and head retention were fairly good also, but not the best I’ve ever had. Not sure why that was. I’m still chasing a perfect Saaz hop aroma in my Bohemian pilsners; it’s just a matter of finding the right hops with the right freshness. The ones I used in this batch weren’t awful, but they weren’t awfully exceptional, either. Overall, I would give this recipe 8/10, with targeted improvements to mainly chase the best possible hop flavor.

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Schoepshead Pale Schöps

For our April style competition, my homebrew club decided to try a Breslau-Style Pale Schöps. I had never heard of this until my club president brought this up as an option, and a bit of searching online finds virtually nothing. This is a historical style, native to the area of Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland). The Brewer’s Association added it to their style guide for the GABF a few years back, which I can only imagine must have been a special favor for someone, because there just ain’t any commercial examples out there now.

In any case, I only found a handful of recipes online, and many (all?) of these were by people asking, “So, I made up this recipe and does it look plausible…” This meant I decided to just use what I’ve learned over the years, and try and put my own recipe together.

From what I read about the style, it should be mostly wheat malt in the grist (up to 80%), with a bready flavor and aroma aspect and a full body. Although this is a wheat ale, it wasn’t supposed to have German wheat ale yeast–instead, a fruity character was described, without phenols. Hops are in the background on this, too.

With all of this information, I put together a grain bill that was mostly wheat malt (~70%), backed up by equal parts pilsner and biscuit malt. I elected to go with a German ale yeast, the classic WLP029. For my grains, I wanted to go with European malts, choosing those from Viking because at least some are sourced from Poland. This seemed appropriate for the brew! I had no idea if I would like this batch or not, so I aimed for 3 gallons instead of the full 5.

The name is a German-ish (highly inauthentic and untranslatable) pun on “Sheep’s Head,” just because I thought it sounded funny and vaguely like the word “Schöps.”

Schoepshead Pale Schöps

  • 6 lb. wheat malt (Viking)
  • 1 lb. biscuit malt (Dingemans)
  • 1 lb. pilsner malt (Viking)
  • 1 lb. rice hulls
  • 2 oz. Hallertauer Mittelfrueh hop pellets (2.7% alpha), 35 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. Fremax yeast nutrient, 10 minute boil
  • 1 pkg. German Ale/Kolsch yeast (White Labs, WLP029)

Target Parameters

  • 60 minute infusion mash, 153°, batch sparge
  • 1.065 o.g., 1.016 f.g., 6.6% abv, 24 IBU, 8 SRM
  • Claremont tap water

Procedure

  • 48 hours in advance, I made a 0.65L starter with the yeast, and cold crashed for 24 hours.
  • I mashed in with 3.25 gallons of water at 165°, to hit a 154° mash temperature. I let this sit for 60 minutes, and it was down to 151° by the end. I added 0.3 gallons of water at 185°, let sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected first runnings.
  • Then, I added 2.25 gallons of water at 185°, let sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the second runnings.
  • In total, I collected 4.3 gallons of runnings at a gravity of 1.047. This was only 67% efficiency; it put me well below my target (1.053), but it’s not a surprise given the large amount of wheat in the bill.
  • I boiled for 60 minutes, adding hops and yeast nutrient per the schedule. After 60 minutes, I chilled the wort and transferred to the fermenter.
  • I brewed this beer on March 30, with a starting gravity of 1.060. I fermented the beer a 68°, and gravity was down to 1.014 by 2 April. On 9 April, gravity was 1.010. I kegged the beer at this point; it had reached 6.6% abv.

Tasting

  • Aroma
    • Very bready, with a slight fruitiness behind that. No hop aroma.
  • Appearance
    • Persistent white and very fine head. Beer itself is copper color, with a decent amount of haze.
  • Flavor
    • Lightly fruity on the front, with a nice rounded bready, malty flavor behind that. Hop bitterness is medium-low, with a nice smooth finish.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Great body on this, with moderately high carbonation. The finish is nice and extended, pleasantly balancing the malt and hops.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • This is a really nice beer! I could see myself brewing this recipe again….I wasn’t sure how I’d like this, and it has turned into a pretty enjoyable brew. The flavor is really nice, and it’s a highly drinkable style for its level of alcohol. It’s a great bridge between the beers of winter and the beers of summer. I can’t say there’s anything I’d really change, either to keep it more to style or to make it more to my palate.
  • Overall
    • 10/10

And…the beer won first place in our club competition!

Posted in all-grain, Breslau-Style Pale Schöps, tastings | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment