American pale ales are one of my favorite styles, if only because there are so many interpretations. You can get the classic almost-amber, slightly caramel versions with Cascade and other “legacy” hops, or you can get the fairly dry, almost IPA, pale and tropical hop versions loaded down with Mosaic and the latest fad hop, or any other number of versions in between. I love Sierra Nevada’s pale ale–it is such a consistently enjoyable and reliable beer, and also easy to find. For my next pale ale, I didn’t want a clone of Sierra Nevada, but I did want something in that general flavor sphere.
I turned to Brewing Classic Styles, which has two pale ale recipes. One is a bit drier and lighter in malt, and the other throws in some extra crystal malt and a bit of Munich malt to up the body and dark the color. I chose the latter version, but made some slight modifications. First, I used Maris Otter instead of American two-row as the base…I thought it would provide an even maltier backbone. Because I just got a shipment of this season’s Cascade hops from my dad in South Dakota, I used Cascade only for the late hop and dry hop regimens. Details are below!
Cascade Pale Ale II
- 10 lb. Maris Otter malt (Crisp)
- 0.75 lb. Munich Light (Chateau)
- 0.75 lb. caramel 40 (Briess)
- 1 oz. Magnum hop pellets (10.1% alpha), 60 minute boil
- 1 oz. Cascade whole hops (est. 5.5% alpha), 10 minute boil
- 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
- 1 pkg. Safale American Ale Yeast (US-05)
- 2 oz. Cascade whole hops (est. 5.5% alpha), dry hop in keg
- 1.052 o.g., 1.011 f.g., 5.4% abv, 42 IBU, 8 SRM
- Full volume mash at 152° for 60 minutes, with 10 minute mash-out at 168°
- Claremont tap water adjusted with gypsum to hit water profile target of 102 Ca, 11Mg, 93 Na, 203 sulfate, 105 Cl, 156 bicarbonate, 49 RA, 128 alkalinity
- I mashed in with 7.3 gallons of water at 158°, to hit a mash temperature of 152°. I added 7 mL of 88% lactic acid as a pH adjustment, and recirculated the mash at 152° for 60 minutes.
- Next, I raised the mash temperature to 168°, held it there for 10 minutes, and then removed the grains.
- I collected 6.2 gallons of runnings at a gravity of 1.047, for 68% mash efficiency.
- At this point, I added 2 tsp. of gypsum and brought the runnings to a boil. I added the hops and other ingredients per the recipe, boiling for 60 minutes.
- After 60 minutes, I turned off the heat and chilled the wort to 80°. Next, I transferred it to the fermenter, and chilled to 66° in my fermentation chamber, before pitching the yeast.
- My original gravity was 1.052–exactly on the mark! I brewed the beer on 4 September 2021, and fermented at 66°.
- On 11 September 2021, I pulled the fermenter out to ambient (~70° to 75°) to finish out.
- I kegged the beer on 17 September 2021, adding whole Cascade hops to the keg at this point. Final gravity was 1.012, for 5.3% abv.
- This is a deep gold beer with slight haze; it pours with an ivory and modestly persistent head.
- Light caramel malt aroma, with a modest orange/citrus hop aroma and clean yeast character.
- Light caramel and moderately malt-forward beer; bitterness is moderately high yet clean, with an orange/citrus-type flavor.
- Medium body, medium carbonation, pleasantly lingering bitterness on the finish.
- Would I brew this again?
- Yes? This is a very 1990s type of pale ale, and would be typical of what you might find in a brewpub during the late 1990s/early 2000s. I like less caramel-forward pale ales in general, but this is nice as a variant on my usual. Next time, I might ditch the Munich or else swap the Maris Otter for the 2-row malt, to moderate the maltiness just a touch.