MSGC Pale Ale

I’ve been doing a bunch of brewing for my club’s participation at an upcoming homebrew festival, and so have neglected my own taps! In order to avoid the desperate turn of a vacant tap on the keezer, I cranked out another brew in July, just before I left for a two week stint in the field.

It took a bit of thought to settle on a style. I was first leaning towards a lager of some sort, but also wanted something with a slightly quicker turnaround. Then an IPA popped into my head, but after looking through a few recipes I didn’t find anything that terrible inspirational. Finally, I thumbed through Gordon Strong’s Modern Homebrew Recipes, and ran across his Galaxy Pale Ale. I made a few adjustments for ingredients, and brewed the batch!

Strong’s original recipe was Galaxy hops only, and didn’t have any dry hop addition. I didn’t have enough hops on hand to do both a generous addition of Galaxy as well as a generous dry hop, so I modified the hop bill accordingly. For the hot days of late August, I wanted something tropical and fruity on the palate and the nose. I have a good combo of hops in that realm in the freezer, so put together a combination of Mosaic, Simcoe, Galaxy, and Citra (the MSGC combo of the recipe name). These are four of my favorite hops, and I’m hoping will combine nicely.

As I added up the hops, I realized I didn’t need a bittering addition. Everything will get added at flame-out, with a whirlpool to extract bittering, aroma, and flavor. This is an experiment for me–I’ve never done a beer before with all hop additions after flame-out.

The grain bill is 45% pilsner, 45% 2-row, and 10% Vienna malt. The original recipe called for light Munich instead of Vienna–I don’t have any Munich on-hand, so made this substitution. The flavor will be a bit lighter as a consequence, but I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing.

MSGC Pale Ale

  • 4.5 lbs. Barke pilsner malt (Weyermann)
  • 4.5 lbs. 2-row brewer’s malt, California select (Great Western)
  • 1 lb. Vienna malt (Great Western)
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet (10 minute boil)
  • 1 oz. Citra hop pellets (14.1% alpha), 10 minute whirlpool
  • 1 oz. Galaxy hop pellets (18.1% alpha), 10 minute whirlpool
  • 1 oz. Mosaic hop pellets (10.9% alpha), 10 minute whirlpool
  • 1 oz. Simcoe hop pellets (13.6% alpha), 10 minute whirlpool
  • 1 pkg. US West Coast Yeast (Mangrove Jack’s M44)
  • 1 oz. Citra hop pellets (14.1% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 oz. Galaxy hop pellets (18.1% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 oz. Mosaic hop pellets (10.9% alpha), dry hop in keg
  • 1 oz. Simcoe hop pellets (13.6% alpha), dry hop in keg

Target Parameters

  • Infusion mash to hit target of 142°, 60 minutes, batch sparge.
  • 1.051 o.g., 1.013 f.g., 5.0% abv, 38 IBU, 4 SRM
  • Water built from RO and Claremont tap water to hit final water balance of 80 Ca, 3 Mg, 6 Na, 83 SO4, 68 Cl, 60 HCO3, -9 RA, with 4 mL of 88% lactic acid added to mash to adjust pH.


  • I prepared the mash water with 4 g gypsum and 4 g CaCl added to 3.5 gallons of RO water. I heated it to 161°, and mashed into hit a temperature of 151°. I also added 4 mL of 88% lactic acid to the mash, for pH adjustment. The mash temperature was down to 148° after 30 minutes.
  • I created my sparge water from a blend of 2.25 gallons of tap water (with Campden tablet) and 2.5 gallons of RO water. No further adjustments were made. I started the sparge by adding 1.5 gallons of water to the mash, letting sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufing, and collecting the first runnings. I then added 3.25 gallons of sparge water to the mash tun, let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the rest of the runnings.
  • In total, I collected 7 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.041, for 78% mash efficiency.
  • I brought the kettle to a boil. The only thing to add during the boil was the Whirlfloc tablet!
  • After flame-out, I added a big mesh bag with the hops, and stirred for 10 minutes. Then, I chilled to 85°, transferred with aeration, and chilled the wort overnight. Once I had hit my fermentation temperature of 68°, I pitched yeast.
  • I brewed this batch on 16 July 2018, and left it in the primary until kegging. Starting gravity was 1.049.
  • Final gravity was 1.007. I kegged the beer on 9 August 2018, added the dry hops, chilled to 50°, carbonated (with shaking), and put the beer on tap.




I did a tasting for this beer on 19 August, after 10 days on tap. It’s pretty excellent–one of the best beers I have done in awhile!

  • The Basics
    • 1.049 s.g., 1.007 f.g., 5.5% abv, 38 IBU, 4 SRM
  • Aroma
    • A nice forward tropical fruit aroma, with a bit of mango, peach, and citrus all melded together. Delicious on the nose!
  • Appearance
    • Light gold color with slight haze. Thin white head that is reasonably persistent.
  • Flavor
    • It’s a fruit explosion! The beer has a gentle but firm bitterness, with flavors of pineapple, passion fruit, mango, and citrus (and just a little bit of “dank” character). The malt character is slightly grainy, with a nice bit of complexity behind that.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Medium-light bodied, with an off-dry finish. Carbonation is moderate.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Absolutely! This is one of the best pale ales I’ve made in a long time. The hop aroma and flavor are amazing, and I love the complexity that the four-hop blend brings to this. Although the beer is paler in color than acceptable for the BJCP style, I dig it in this particular recipe. It really is a nice beer!
  • Overall
    • 10/10