Friday, December 21, 2007

Home Grown Pale Ale - Recipe and First Tasting

In September I used the Cascades that I grew at my parents' house and then dried in the microwave in a simple American pale ale. I used Simcoe to bitter since I didn't have enough of my home grown Cascades to make that much beer, and I don't know what their alpha acid % is so it would be impossible to figure out how much I would need to use as the bittering addition.

I used Golden Promise from Scotland as the basemalt, I think it adds some mildly toasty notes without being as biscuity as some other British pale malts. CaraHell and CaraVienna are both pale crystal/cara malts which add some sweetness, body, and a mild caramel flavor. Victory contributes toastiness as well reinforcing the flavor from the Golden Promise. Melanoidin (similar to Aromatic Malt) is like a really dark Munich malt which adds a powerful "malt" flavor, melanoidins are byproducts of the Maillard reactions which add depth of flavor (they are also created in a decoction mash).

1st tasting: Homegrown Hop APA 12/18/07

Aroma – Slight caramel, with some clean citrus hops. The hops have faded pretty quickly, but are still rather nice. There is a floral complexity that I can't figure out, either hops or mild yeast esters.

Appearance – Light honey-amber, with just a bit of hoppy haze. The white head last the entire time leaving patchy lacing on the sides of the glass.

Taste – Nice and toasty, with a clean hop bitterness. The beer is nice a dry, with just enough hoppiness to give it some bite. The bitterness is not as aggressive as even a Sierra Nevada, the balance is closer to an English Pale Ale. Certainly not really complex, and there are no discernible off flavors.

Mouthfeel – Medium body with firm carbonation. This is exactly what a easy drinking pale ale should feel like.

Drinkability/Notes – A solid APA, that is a bit lacking in the hop aroma. At the least this proves that microwave drying hops is a reasonable idea. It is hard to tell if the lower than expected hop aroma can be traced to my drying method, or simply the growing conditions of my second year cascade plant.

Home Grown Pale Ale Recipe

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 2.75
Total Grain (Lbs): 6.38
Anticipated OG: 1.053
Anticipated SRM: 8.3
Anticipated IBU: 35.3
Brewhouse Efficiency: 61 %
Wort Boil Time: 95 Minutes

5.50 lbs. Golden Promise
0.25 lbs. Carahell Malt
0.25 lbs. CaraVienne Malt
0.25 lbs. Victory Malt
0.13 lbs. Melanoidin Malt

0.38 oz. Whole Simcoe @ 90 min.
0.50 oz. Whole Cascade @ 9 min.
0.75 oz. Whole Cascade @ Flame Out

.50 Unit Whirlfloc 15 Min.(boil)
.50 Tsp Yeast Nutrient 15 Min.(boil)

WYeast 1056 American Ale/Chico

Water Profile
Profile: Washington DC
Profile known for: Where I live

Calcium(Ca): 45.2 ppm
Magnesium(Mg): 8.0 ppm
Sodium(Na): 13.8 ppm
Sulfate(SO4): 49.0 ppm
Chloride(Cl): 28.0 ppm
biCarbonate(HCO3): 86.3 ppm

Mash Schedule
50 min @ 153

Brewed 9/16/07 by myself

Added 1 gram of gypsum to the mash. 1 tsp phosphoric acid to the sparge. 1 gram gypsum to the boil. Cascades were home grown and dried in the microwave. Simcoe were about a year old, AA% adjusted down from 13%.

4.5 gallons @ 1.038 collected.

Good strong boil, added flame out hops after 1 minute of cooling. Got the beer down to around 80 before straining and putting into the temp controlled freezer.

Yeast pitched straight from the pack after the beer cooled overnight.

Fermentation chugging along nicely by 18 hours at an ambient temperature of 60 degrees.

After 48 hours fermentation seemed to be slowing so I boosted the temp to 65, that got fermentation going so strong within 24 hours that I decided to drop back to 60, after another 24 hours fermentation seemed to be about done so I raised the temp back to 65 to make sure it ferments out. Not optimal, but it should be fine.

9/23/07 Transferred to secondary, pretty good flavor, yeasty and a bit weak on the hops.

10/02/07 Bottled the 2.5 gallons with 2 1/8 oz of corn sugar, aiming for 2.5 volumes. FG = 1.010. Tastes almost tropical with a solid toasty malt backbone. I'm surprised how well attenuated it is.

10/16/07 Good carbonation, nice hop character.


  1. Hi Mike, I have a friend who never really got in to home brewing but planted Cascade hops in his garden in preparation. He now has 4 kg of fresh cones ie 16lbs. He wants me to do something with these. Planning to do a NEIPA and a APA. Trying to work out if we should mix these with some other hops or just go big on fresh Cascades. What would you do?


    Leo Melbourne Australia

  2. It can be nice to bitter with a commercial hop so you know the alpha acid and can better predict the bitterness. Otherwise, might as well showcase the homegrown! Best of luck!