Beer Update: Palaeotis Pils & Gondwana Pale Ale

Gondwana Pale Ale 1.5

I kegged the latest iteration of my Gondwana Pale Ale on 7 June 2017, adding two ounces of dry hops in a baggie at that time. Final gravity was 1.012, down from 1.053, for 5.4% abv.

Initial tastings show that this should be a pretty decent beer. It has a bit to mature yet, in that the yeast haven’t totally settled out and that seems to impart a harshness to the bitterness. I expect this should be much improved by the time I get back from Homebrew Con.

20170611_131001Palaeotis Pils 1.1

After brewing this beer on 20 May 2017, I started it at 50° and then let it ferment at 54° after a few days. I raised the temperature to 64° on 1 June, and then cold-crashed to 33° on 7 June 2017.

I kegged this beer today (11 June 2017). It has a final gravity of 1.011, down from 1.048, for 4.7% abv. At the time of kegging, I also added 1 tsp. of gelatin dissolved in 3/4 cup of water and heated to 152°, as a fining agent.

This beer tastes and smells amazing–I anticipate that it’s going to be a fine brew once it is clear and carbonated! Everything is on-point, and it’s a nice change after the disappointment on my Bohemian pilsner.

Gondwana Pale Ale 1.5

african_queenMy local homebrew shop happened to have a pound of African Queen hop pellets during my most recent visit…for those not in the know, this is a variety grown in South Africa, and one of the few that is available (for now) in the United States. Due to some recent hop farm purchases, future South African hop availability is likely to be even tighter than before, so I had to jump at this chance to brew with this variety.

These hops are touted as being on the flavor/aroma end of things, so I wanted a good pale ale recipe that would highlight this. My classic Gondwana Pale Ale seemed like just the ticket! I subbed in a little Vienna malt for the 2-row to help bolster the maltiness. Otherwise, there is very little changed here from my most recent iteration, just the hops.

Gondwana Pale Ale 1.5

  • 6.5 lbs. 2-row malt (Rahr Malting Co.)
  • 3 lbs. Vienna malt (Great Western Malting Co.)
  • 0.5 lb. crystal 40 malt (Great Western Malting Co.)
  • 7 oz. Carafoam malt (Weyermann Malting)
  • 0.35 oz. Warrior hop pellets (15.8% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 2 oz. African Queen hop pellets (14.5% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 2 oz. African Queen hop pellets (14.5% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 1 pkg. California Ale yeast (WLP001)

Target Parameters

  • Infusion mash to hit target of 152°. Batch sparge.
  • Claremont tap water.
  • 1.053 o.g., 1.011 f.g., 5.4% abv, 41 IBU, 6 SRM, 5 gallons into fermenter


  • A few days in advance, I made a yeast starter, cold-crashing it and setting aside some for a future batch.
  • On brew day, I mashed in with 3.5 gallons of water at 163°, to hit a 152° mash temperature. The temp had dropped to ~150° after 30 minutes.
  • After 60 minutes, I added 1.25 gallons of water at 185°, let sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the first runnings.
  • Next, I added 3.5 gallons of water at 185°, let sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the remainder of the wort.
  • In total, I collected 6.6 gallons of wort with a gravity of 1.045, for 78% efficiency.
  • I started the boil and added everything per the schedule.
  • After 60 minutes, I chilled the wort down to 70 degrees, and pitched the yeast. I’ll be fermenting at 66°.
  • Starting gravity was 1.053 (right on target!). I brewed this beer on 27 May 2017.
  • Final gravity on 7 June 2017 was 1.012, which equates to 5.4% abv. I added the hops to the keg in a mesh bag, and began carbonation and dry-hopping at room temperature.

Beer Tasting: Gondwana Pale Ale 1.3

The latest version of my Gondwana Pale Ale finished recently, but I managed to get a formal tasting in before the keg was emptied. Here’s the review!

  • The Basics
    • Original gravity = 1.045; final gravity = 1.010; abv = 4.6%; estimated IBU = 39
  •  Aroma
    • A strong impression of passionfruit for me, along with other tropical fruits; really nice on the aroma.
  • Appearance
    • Wonderfully clear; there is a tiny bit of hop debris from the dry-hop bag, but that doesn’t get in the way of how nicely this beer has cleared. The beer itself is a light gold color, with a fine off-white head, that sticks around for quite awhile as a decent blanket over the beer, and then subsides to a persistent ring of foam around the edges of the glass.
  • Flavor
    • There is a definite tropical fruit impression on the hops. The malt is clean, and in the background.
  • Mouthfeel
    • This is a pretty dry beer–not overly so, but definitely dry. I’m not a huge fan of the finish on this–it is a bit astringent, and I’m not sure of the cause. Part of this could be due to an overly thin mash, or perhaps the mash-out temperature being too high initially? Or maybe it’s something with the hops? Is the IBU level more than anticipated? Could it be the relatively low starting gravity as compared to previous batches? I’m not sure. In any case, this is a bit different from previous batches, which were quite a bit smoother.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • The aroma and appearance on this are pretty wonderful, and the flavor is decent. Mouthfeel and finish could really be improved, though. I think more careful attention to mash conditions (temperature and volumes) would help. Given my success with previous versions of the recipe, I’ll still be brewing it again.
  • Overall
    • 5/10

Gondwana Pale Ale 1.3 Kegged

Tonight I kegged the latest draft of my Gondwana Pale Ale, after 10 days in the primary fermenter. The beer has a nice malty aroma and a smooth bitterness; this will be augmented further by 2 oz. of Mosaic hops pellets on the dry hop. The beer is still rather hazy, presumably because the yeast haven’t fully dropped out yet. Final gravity is at 1.010, down from 1.045, for 4.6% abv.

Gondwana Pale Ale 1.3

I’ve been pretty heavy on the IPAs lately, so it’s time to give my tastebuds a break with a pale ale. My go-to recipe has been Gondwana Pale Ale–it has a clean but flavorful malt profile, which permits the single hop of my choosing to shine through. I’ve brewed this recipe with minor modifications on three different occasions, so this is iteration 4.

For the current round, the malt bill is pretty much the same as before (~82% 2-row, 10% Vienna, and the remainder split between crystal 40 and Carapils). Where I previously used Citra hops, though, I substituted in Mosaic. I have not yet done a single-hop Mosaic brew, so this is a good opportunity to really explore the characteristics of that variety.

Gondwana Pale Ale 1.3

  • 8.6 lbs. 2-row malt (Great Western Malting Co.)
  • 1 lb. Vienna malt
  • 0.45 lb. 40° crystal malt
  • 0.45 lb. Carapils malt
  • 1 oz. Mosaic hops pellets (11.3% alpha, 3.2% beta), 35 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Mosaic hops pellets (11.3% alpha, 3.2% beta), 2 minute boil
  • 2 oz. Mosaic hops pellets (11.3% alpha, 3.2% beta), dry hop in keg
  • 1 tsp. Irish moss (10 minute boil)
  • 1 pkg. Safale US-05 dry yeast


  • I mashed in with 3.75 gallons of water at 163°, to hit a mash temperature of 153.3°. This was down to 152.5° after 15 minutes, and down to 149° after 40 minutes.
  • After 55 minutes of mashing, I added 1 gallon of water at 165°, to raise the mash temperature to 151.5°. I let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the first runnings.
  • Next, I added 3.7 gallons of water at 190°; this raised the mash to 174°, so added ~0.25 gallons of water in ice cubes, to bring the mash down to 165°. I let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the remainder of wort.
  • In total, I collected 7.2 gallons total, with a gravity of 1.037 gravity and 69% efficiency. This was a bit below my usually efficiency (~72%)–I suspect the more dilute mash was to blame.
  • I brought the wort to a boil, and added hops and Irish moss per the schedule.
  • After 60 minutes, I cooled the wort to 82°. Anything lower than this would have been too hard given my high groundwater temperature. I transferred the wort to the fermenter while aerating and then pitched the yeast.
  • I brewed this up on August 5. Starting gravity was 1.045. I am fermenting the beer at 64°; visible fermentation signs were in evidence after around 12 hours, and vigorous fermentation was underway after ~36 hours.
  • I’ve noted that my collected volumes have been a bit above what I predicted; I need to continue adjusting the BeerSmith settings for my mash tun volumes and dead spaces. Also, I suspect I am getting just a little sloppy with volume measurements; it’s easy to overfill my gallon measuring pitcher, which adds up after four or five pitchers’ worth.