Monday, July 30, 2012

Standard American Pale Ale Recipe (Yeah Right)

Why come to market with yet another American pale ale when there are so many well-made, reliable versions already available? Probably 75% of the breweries and brewpubs in this country make some version of the signature style of the American craft beer movement. There are so many other flavor paradigms to explore, why would we pick a style that has already been picked-over? Well there aren’t many pale ales like this one. At Modern Times Jacob and I are hoping to produce a malty, hoppy, pale that can give IPAs a run for their money aromatically. Inspired by beers like Three Floyds Alpha King, Alpine Hoppy Birthday, and Hill Farmstead Edward.

A freezer full of hops, and I've been brewing a lot of hoppy beers...The grist for this test batch was based on Jamil’s APA from Brewing Classic Styles. Maltiness comes from Munich and Victory, and a head retention boost from wheat malt. For whatever reason Victory has never been one of my go to malts, but its crackery flavor should enhance the relatively bland pale 2-row base. No crystal malt, trying to keep the balance similar to dry West Coast IPA. I’m hoping to have enough breadiness to catch glimpses of it through the hop forest.

As a jumping-off point I borrowed the hop bill from my favorite batch of DIPA (Simcoe, Columbus, and Amarillo), but adjusted the timing of the additions to suit the more slender base. I hop-bursted, waiting to add the first charge until there were just 15 minutes left in the boil. In addition to a big flame-out dose I stuffed the hop-back with nearly four ounces of whole hops. A similarly sized addition will be added to the keg. Despite around 50 IBUs, this beer should not be harshly bitter owing to the lower perceived bitterness of late additions.

This was a slightly larger batch than normal, which allowed me to divert one gallon of the chilled wort into a jug where I pitched yeast I had cultured from a can of The Alchemist Heady Topper (their English origin house strain lends a nice peachy counterpoint to the massive hopping of their deservedly hyped DIPA). After pouring the beer into glasses I added about a half cup of wort to the can and covered with sanitized aluminum foil. After seeing good activity two days later I poured the entire contents of the can into a flask of .5 L of fresh wort for a few days on my stir-plate. The rest of the batch received a thin six ounces of WLP001 slurry harvested from Hoppy Wheat #2 that morning.

Both versions are fermenting well, and should be ready to keg/bottle in a couple weeks.

A Very Hoppy UnBirthday

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 6.30
Total Grain (Lbs): 13.63
Anticipated OG: 1.050
Anticipated SRM: 6.8
Anticipated IBU: 48.8
Brewhouse Efficiency: 64 %
Wort Boil Time: 75 Minutes

69.7% - 9.50 lbs. American "2-row" Pale Malt
14.7% - 2.00 lbs. German Munich Malt
9.2% - 1.25 lbs. German Wheat Malt
6.4% - 0.88 lbs. Victory

1.25 oz. Amarillo (Whole, 10.00% AA) @ 15 min.
1.25 oz. Columbus (Pellet, 13.40% AA) @ 10 min.
1.25 oz. Simcoe (Pellet, 11.50% AA) @ 5 min.
0.75 oz. Amarillo (Whole, 10.00% AA) @ 0 min.
0.75 oz. Columbus (Pellet, 13.40% AA) @ 0 min.
0.75 oz. Simcoe (Pellet, 11.50% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Amarillo (Whole, 10.00% AA) @ Hop-Back
1.75 oz. Simcoe (Whole, 14.00% AA) @ Hop-Back
1.25 oz. Columbus (Whole, 15.00% AA) @ Hop-Back
1.00 oz. Amarillo (Whole, 10.00% AA) @ Dry Hop
2.00 oz. Simcoe (Whole, 14.00% AA) @ Dry Hop
1.50 oz. Columbus (Whole, 15.00% AA) @ Dry Hop

1.00 Whirlfloc @ 9 min.
0.50 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 9 min.

White Labs WLP001 California Ale

Water Profile
Profile: Washington, Hoppy

Mash Schedule
Sacch Rest - 45 min @ 155F

Brewed 7/28/12

Water cut 50% with distilled, 8 g of gypsum and 5 g of CaCl added to the mash and sparge total.

Collected 7.25 gallons of 1.052 wort. Extended the boil as a result of issues with the hop back. All hop additions were bagged. 0 minute hops added to to the kettle for about 10 minutes before chilling started.

Collected 5.25 gallons of wort at 1.062. Diluted with 1 gallon of chilled distilled water. Still only got down to 74 F. Split a bit less than a gallon into a glass jug.

Pitched 3/4 cup of loose slurry from the Hoppy Wheat #2 into the bucket after aerating for 45 seconds with pure O2. The jug was aerated for 15 seconds with pure O2 then pitched 1/4 cup of slurry grown from a can of Alchemist Heady Topper first in a can, then on a stir-plate.

Left both at 66 F to ferment. I left the AC off overnight accidentally and the temperature got up to 69 by the time I realized it the next morning and cranked it down to 63. Already fermenting well by then.

8/18/12 Kegged the 001 portion with the dry hops.

8/13/12 Down to 1.013, kegged the 001 with the dry hops. 

8/20/12 Bottled the Alchemist yeast fermente portion with 5/8 oz of table sugar.

9/17/12 Tasting of both versions. Turned out well, but a bit maltier than I wanted. The Alchemist yeast gave a surprising amount of fruit and spice, interesting, but a bit over-the-top.


Anonymous said...

If you didn't add hops until the 15 min mark, why bother with a full 60 minute boil?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

The standard 60 minute boil accomplishes a lot more than just hop isomerization: protein coagulation, DMS volatilization, and wort concentration being the three most relevant. In more practical terms it also allows me the time to get my chilling rig sanitized, HopRocked filled, yeast harvested, and the fermentor sanitized.

Tim said...

I think Victory in a pale ale is a great idea. I used it for one of my pale ales with Columbus, Citra and Mt. Hood. One of the best beers I have ever made.

mark said...

Your grain bill looks good although I would take issue regarding not using any crystal malt. An enjoyable aspect of SNPA is the caramel sweetness that backs up the hop profile which appears often in West coast style pale ales. Regardless, looks like you're going to have a very tasty beer.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Glad to hear that combo worked for you Tim.

Caramel malt certainly can work in a hoppy pale, but that isn't the flavor/balance I associate with West Coast IPAs (although there certainly are some that use it).

Unknown said...

Interesting to read that you cultured yeast from Heady Topper. I thought that the received wisdom was that harvesting yeast from high alcohol beers doesn't work well due to the stresses associated with high alcohol.

Do you have any notion about what strain is being used by The Alchemist (i.e. if it corresponds to a product available from a commercial yeast supplier)?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

High alcohol beers certainly aren’t ideal for harvesting, but a relatively fresh 8% beer didn’t seem to be an issue. As far as I’m aware it is not a commercially available strain, although I’d guess it is probably a muted version of something English.

Unknown said...

How'd you get a picture of my freezer? Great post!

Steve said...

How are you liking your hop rocket? Are the results on your hoppy brews noticably better? I love how it filters all of the hot break. I use a pump to force my wort through the hop rocket and then the therminator and the only drawback is I find it gets clogged pretty quickly. It doesn't plug, but the flow slows down to a trickle leaving my wort in the kettle for 10-15 minutes before cooling.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I’ve had good luck with the hopRocket so far. No flow issues (even with 4 oz of hops), although with how warm my ground water is this time of year I haven’t tried running it faster than half a gallon per minute. If you are having problems try starting the flow very slowly for the first couple minutes, then increase. Although I wouldn’t worry about leaving some of the wort near boiling for 10-15 minutes, many commercial breweries whirlpool for 20-30 minutes before they start chilling. By the time the last of the wort runs through the chiller it can be 90 minutes since the end of the boil.

On the flavor I think it helps, my beers seem to be hoppier post-fermentation pre-dry hopping, but I’m not sure it is worth it for a really hoppy beer. I’m interested to try the HopRocket on a beer that won’t be dry hopped, to get a better sense of what it is actually contributing in the glass.

Bear Flavored said...

I'm really curious how your Heady Topper portion comes out. I'm actually doing the same, only I pitched Heady yeast for my whole batch. Kind of a gamble, but it seems to be fermenting fine. I had no problem cultivating it from two cans and stepping up the starters over a week and a half.

Where did you get that it's an English strain? I found an article ( ) where John Kimmich talks about the yeast a bit, and attributes some of the fruity character of the beer to the unique strain he uses. It is proprietary, he calls it Conan. From my first hydrometer sample, I definitely get a peachy character that I can taste in Heady too. So far, it seems very promising.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

A friend spoke to John and he was told that the strain was English origin. However, I'm sure it has mutated given that the esters seem more potent than any English strain I'm aware of.

Glad to hear it has worked for you, haven't tried it myself yet.

awalker said...

Hi Mike

Why did you call it A Very Hoppy UnBirthday, was it your birthday.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Just a spin-off of Alpine's Hoppy Birthday. I was a March baby (although my sister's birthday is tomorrow).

Bear Flavored said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bear Flavored said...

Hey Mike, what FG did you end up with on your Heady Topper portion? I ended up with a touch under 80% attenuation — 1.074 OG down to 1.015 FG. I mashed at 152.

Actual Heady Topper has a FG of 1.010, I've read, which would make the OG 1.071 (8% ABV), and the attenuation around 85%... I think? But the Alchemist could use sugar in the recipe, or a lower mash temp.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Haven't bottle the cultured yeast portion yet. The 001 got down to 1.011, so that will be a good point of reference.

How is the flavor?

Bear Flavored said...

The flavor seems great so far from just the hydrometer sample. I'll be bottling on Sunday. I can pick out a peachy-fruit character that I get in Heady Topper too, which I'm assuming is the yeast. With the hop profile, I was going for a sort of orange/citrus character using a combo of Apollo, Summit, Amarillo and Citra.