Kamikaze Pale Ale

This is the first time I’ve ever stepped free of the confines of a brewing kit, so I’ve called this recipe “Kamikaze Pale Ale,” or KPA for short. I started with the American pale ale in Charlie Papazian’s Complete Joy of Home Brewing (3rd Edition), and changed ingredients as I felt appropriate. Some of the ingredients were determined by what was available at the nearest home brew supply shop, but that’s half the fun! With the Cascade hops, I suppose it’s an American pale ale, but the Nottingham yeast probably puts it into the British category. We’ll see what it tastes like in the end!

I’m going to go into a fair bit of detail for this recipe, but I don’t expect to do quite as much in future posts.

Here are the basic ingredients:
1/2 pound pale ale crystal malt (at least, that’s what it said on the tub at the store)
6.6 pounds Bries CBW Golden Light Pure Malt Extract
3 oz. whole Cascade hops from South Dakota (2 oz. for the full boil, 1 oz. for the finish)
11 g active dry Nottingham brewing yeast (Danstar brand)

Here’s what I did:

  1. I steeped the crystal malt (all wrapped up in a cheesecloth sack) in two gallons of water, heated to 160 degrees, for 30 minutes.
  2. I removed the crystal malt, let it drip out a bit, and discarded it. Then, I heated the whole mixture to a boil.
  3. I added all of the liquid malt extract and the hops (again, enclosed in a cheesecloth bag), and then boiled the whole mixture for 60 minutes. Two minutes before the end, I added the finishing hops.
  4. I cooled the whole mess in the sink – it took about 15 minutes to get it down to a reasonable temperature. Then, I poured it into the primary fermenter and topped it up to five gallons with cold tap water (with one gallon of Target’s purified water in the mix – it was sitting in the house, so I thought I’d get rid of it).
  5. Finally, I sprinkled the contents of the yeast packet across the top of the whole thing, and sealed it up.
  6. I put the fermenter in the closet, where it’s a happy 70 degrees. Now, I’ll just wait until next weekend, when I’ll siphon it into the secondary (a glass carboy – newly acquired as of last weekend) and let it sit over the Christmas break.

Other odds and ends:
For this recipe, I decided to try crushing the crystal malt at home. Easier said than done. In the end, I crushed a quarter pound at a time in two gallon freezer bags (one inside the other) by rolling over the grains with a large beer bottle. The grains ended up a little more floured than I might have liked, so we’ll see if/how this affects the end result.

My starting gravity is 1.041. A little lighter than I might like, but we’ll see how it turns out. If I were to do it again, I’d probably only top it up to 4.5 gallons (although interestingly enough, I didn’t have any loss due to boiling over this time).

I sampled a bit of the wort – it’s very hoppy and quite sweet (as I’d expect on both counts). I think this is going to be a good one!