Sunday, July 12, 2009

Palisade Oat Pale Ale Recipe and Tasting

My Palisade Oat Pale Ale is another low gravity batch not to any particular style, that is to say a second International Session Ale. The malt bill is close to that of a special bitter (but it has oatmeal) the yeast is German, and the hops are American. It was inspired by a can of Surly's Bitter Brewer, but really can't be called a clone (it has different malts, hops, and yeast).

I had never used special roast malt (similar to biscuit or victory), palisade hops (a new-ish higher AA% Willamette replacement), or a clean German ale yeast (White Labs 011 in this case), so this is a bit of an experiment as well. All I was just looking for was something crisp and refreshing for the summer without any residual crystal malt sweetness. I was hoping that the oats and the lower attenuating yeast would fill out the mouthfeel without making it too thick or chewy.

This was the starter batch for a smoked doppelsticke that is still cold conditioning. It was originally going to be barrel aged, but those plans were scrapped after our Bourbon Barrel Wee Heavy grew a pellicle and started tasting funky.

Tasting 7/12/09
Appearance – Pours a ruddy straw yellow. The beer is clear when warm, but at about 40 degrees the chill haze is very apparent. Nice tight white head with moderately good head retention. A protein rest or some longer cold conditioning would help take care of the haze, but I don't really mind it.

Smell – The aroma is nicely hoppy with some herbal notes back up by a bit of spice. The character certainly leans European, but there is a hint of that dank Columbus flavor that reminds you that it is grown in the Pacific Northwest. Behind the hops there is a hint of bready malt, but it is hidden beneath the pungent hoppiness.

Taste – Nice assertive clean bitterness at first, flowing similar hop aromatics from the nose. The malt is more noticeable in the flavor, giving flavors of bread, saltine, and biscuit. The finish is dry which enhances the hoppiness, I think I made the right choice leaving the crystal out of this one. The yeast is very clean, but it provides a hint of fruitiness that you wouldn't get from Chico.

Mouthfeel – Medium-light body, but that is to be expected from a 4.5% ABV beer. The carbonation is subdued which prevents the beer from coming across as too thin.

Drinkability & Notes – Holds up to its session beer roots, easy to drink on a hot DC night. Not much I would change on this one, if you can't get your hands on Palisades then Willamette, Glacier, First Gold, or East Kent Goldings would be good replacements (pretty much anything would work for bittering).

Palisade Parkway Pale (International Session Ale #2)

Recipe Specifics (All-Grain)
Batch Size (Gal): 3.80
Total Grain (Lbs): 7.28
Anticipated OG: 1.044
Anticipated SRM: 8.0
Anticipated IBU: 34.6
Brewhouse Efficiency: 63 %
Wort Boil Time: 89 Minutes

6.25 lbs. Maris Otter
0.75 lbs. Oatmeal
0.28 lbs. Special Roast

0.75 oz. Amarillo @ 60 min.
0.50 oz. Palisade @ 4 min.
0.50 oz. Palisade @ Dry Hop

0.50 Unit(s)Whirlfloc Fining 15 Min.
0.25 Tsp Yeast Nutrient Other 15 Min.

White Labs WLP011 European Ale

Water Profile
Profile: Washington DC

Mash Schedule
Sacch Rest 60 min @ 152

Brewed 5/23/09 by myself

Boiled Quaker Old Fashion Oats with plenty of water for 10 minutes to ensure complete gelatinization. Collected 5.75 gallons of 1.030 wort.

Added 2 g of gypsum to the boil to help accentuate the hops.

Amarillos are 18 months old (adjusted down from 9.7%), Palisades are 6 months old (adjusted down from 6.7%).

Cooled to ~70 degrees, 45 second shot of O2, pitched a fresh tube of yeast, put into the freezer set to 60 degrees. After 20 hours there was no action, so I upped the temp to 65. After ~6 more hours there was fermentation starting.

5/31/09 Fermentation seems to be about finished, just a small bit of krausen hanging on.

6/06/09 Racked to a 3 gallon secondary, added the dry hops in a muslin bag. Gravity down to 1.008. Does not have as much bitterness as I was aiming for. Bottled one bomber with 3/4 tsp of cane sugar (this bottle was nice after 2 weeks, but I was glad I dry hopped the rest since it was missing that nice fresh hop aroma).

6/16/09 Bottled with 1.75 oz of cane sugar, aiming for the low 2's carbonation. Gravity was down to 1.008, lower than I expected, but it did not taste thin.


Seawolf said...

Hey Mike,
I noticed you used whirlfloc @ 15, and I think that might have something to do with your chill haze. I used to get chill haze a lot, until I changed my whirlfloc addition to 10 min.

Anyway, this beer sounds great. I've been really into session beers lately. It's great to see a nice full flavored, low ABV ale.


Josh said...

Wow, is that foam splatter in the background or do you really just suck at painting? ;)

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

My apartment is pre-WWI, it looks like people have just been adding layers of paint on top of the old ones every decade or so for the last 90 years...

Brad said...


Curious about your comment on adjusting hops for age. What formula are you using? Is this for frozen hops? Vacuum sealed?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

18 months with the hop shortage looming I stocked up on hops, hops that I am still working my way through.

I keep the hops vacupacked (with a foodsaver) and in my freezer, but I still think it is worth taking a loss of AA into account.

To measure the loss I use the utility in Promash (the free trial lets you use it).

Brad said...

Dang, I don't have Promash nor the Windows OS required to run it.

I too have a horde of hops starting to date back to almost two years, probably.

Unknown said...

Hey Mike,
This sounds like a great session beer. What is the purpose of boiling the oats? I have only ever used flaked oats in stout, and usually just spread them out on top of the mash bed, wetting them lightly.



The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Boiling the oats ensures that the starches in the oats are completely gelatinized (which makes them accessible to the enzymes in the barley). The flaking process takes care of most of the work (during it the grains are steamed and pressed), but instant oats are the only ones that would be completely gelatinized. Boiling them probably doesn’t make a noticeable difference, but it makes me feel better and gives me something to do while the mash-in water is coming up to strike temp.