Cascade-o Classico Pale Ale

IMG_20191005_144434Lately, I’ve had a soft spot for “classic” American pale ales, from the era before Citra, Mosaic, and Simcoe were a thing. I love the more subtle flavors of Cascade and Centennial…and the cheaper price point for those hops doesn’t hurt, either. I recently got a shipment of the new Cascade crop from my dad in South Dakota (he raises them for his own brewing), and decided to do another iteration of my Classico Pale Ale. Aside from the hops (Cascade instead of Falconer’s Flight), the only other change is upping the percentage of Maris Otter versus 2-row, from around 50/50 to 66/33 in the current recipe.

I know that you’re not supposed to put crystal malts in pale ales and IPAs, but I’ve decided that piece of advice is bunk in a well-brewed recipe with modest amounts of crystal malts. For this formulation, I think they add a subtle but important character, and I ain’t likely to remove them for future brews!

Cascade-o Classico Pale Ale

  • 7 lb. 0.5 oz. Maris Otter malt (Bairds)
  • 3 lb. 9 oz. 2-row pale malt (Rahr)
  • 8 oz. caramel 40 (Briess)
  • 4 oz. caramel 60 (Briess)
  • 0.70 oz. Warrior hop pellets (15.8% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 2 oz. Cascade whole hops (~5.5% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 1 pkg. Safale American ale yeast (US-05)
  • 2 oz. Cascade whole hops (~5.5% alpha), dry hop in keg

Target Parameters

  • 60 minute infusion mash, 152°, batch sparge
  • 1.058 o.g., 1.013 f.g., 46 IBU, 8 SRM, 6.0% abv
  • Claremont water with 1 tsp. of gypsum added during boil

Procedure

  • I mashed in with 3.2 gallons of water at 162°, to hit a 152.5° mash temperature.
  • After 60 minutes, I added 0.8 gallons of water at ~185°, let sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the first runnings.
  • Next, I sparged with 3.4 gallons of water, let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the second runnings.
  • In total, I collected 6.2 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.048, for 71% efficiency.
  • As I heated the runnings to a boil, I added 1 tsp. gypsum. Once the boil started, I added the various hops and Whirlfloc per the recipe.
  • After 60 minutes, I turned off the heat and chilled the wort. I transferred to the fermenter while aerating, and pitched the yeast. I am fermenting at 68°.
  • The beer was brewed on 24 August 2019, and fermentation signs were quite visible by the next morning.
  • I kegged the beer on 6 September 2019. Final gravity was 1.011, down from 1.058, for 6.2% abv. The dry hops were added to the keg in a mesh bag.

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Tasting

  • Appearance
    • Pours with persistent ivory-colored head; brilliantly clear and copper-colored beer
  • Aroma
    • Lightly caramel, citrus/piney aroma
  • Flavor
    • Slightly grainy, caramel flavor, with firm bitterness. Bitterness is slightly piney
  • Mouthfeel
    • Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry finish.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • Yes! This is a nice base recipe, and a good way to highlight classic American hops. I feel like it could use just a touch more body, so might mash at 154° next time. It might be interesting to try this with 100% Maris Otter or even Vienna malt, too, to give a bit more malt character I love how clear this beer has turned out–it clarified really quickly and nicely, to make an incredibly pretty brew.
  • Overall
    • 9.5/10

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.

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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

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

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.

Procedure

  • 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.

 

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Tasting

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

Brew Updates: Palaeotis Pils 1.2 & Old Pine Pale Ale

I’ve kegged two of my brews in the past week, incluing my German pils and my American pale ale. Here are the details!

  • After 10 days in primary, I kegged Old Pine Pale Ale on 12 December 2017. I added the dry hops at this point, in a bag. Depending on how it works out, I may or may not remove the hops. I force carbonated the keg, and had it on tap by 16 December. The brew is pretty hazy at this point, and should clear up with time. Final gravity was 1.012, down from 1.052, working out to 5.2% abv.
  • My latest iteration of Palaeotis Pils started fermentation on 20 November 2017. It fermented at 50° until 27 November, when I raised the temperature to 54°. I raised the temperature to 66° on 2 December 2017, and cold crashed it on 10 December 2017. I kegged the beer on 16 December 2017. Final gravity was 1.010; with a starting gravity of 1.049, we’re clocking in at 5.1% abv. There is a touch of haze, which I’m going to settle out with time and cold.