Monday, June 3, 2013

Grapefruit American Pale Ale Recipe

Inspiration is impossible to control. Sure you can sit down with pen/paper or brewing software and try to come up with a great recipe idea, but in my experience that usually results in gimmicks or repetition. You never know when you’ll be struck with a really good idea. For me, unsurprisingly, it is often while drinking a delicious beer or reading about brewing, but that isn't always the case. For example, this batch was conceived while sucking on grapefruit cough drops to fight a sore throat (not nearly as weird as the story behind Evil Twin's Soft DK...).

After the bolt of inspiration that brings the recipe concept, it is the time to sit down to focus on defining the target characteristics and writing a recipe that will achieve them. In this case I wanted some bitterness, subtle sweetness, bright citrus aroma, and crisp balance. I considered using a sour beer base, but grapefruit has bitterness too, so I ended up choosing a pale ale. I also wanted something I could turn around quickly.

Cascade, Chinook, and Grapefruit Zest.I selected American "2-row" brewers malt, to impart a clean/crisp malt underpinning. I didn’t want a big caramel flavor, so I opted for a small amount of CaraVienna for a hint of sweetness. The only other specialty malt was acid malt, and only enough to lower the mash pH, and hopefully add some crispness to the finished beer.

While "grapefruit" is a common descriptor for the aromas of numerous American hops, there are a few varieties that standout. I selected the two I associate with the flavor most, loading in Cascade and Chinook at a 2:1 ratio. I didn't want to only rely on the hops alone though, so I mixed the zest harvested from four ruby red grapefruits into the dry hops. Audrey and I then peeled the fruit (discarding the pith), bifurcated each globe, stabbed each half a few times, and dumped all eight into the wort.

Grapefruit halves, with some stab marks to speed yeast access.The idea of a hoppy beer with citrus has been done before: Tyranena Scurvy IPA (orange peel) and Hill Farmstead-Tired Hands Delicado (lemon zest) for example. Sadly I've never had the chance to try the special grapefruit'ed version of Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point, which draws rave reviews. In my recipe I'm hoping for enough grapefruit aromatics to show through for the citrus to be identifiable, but not enough to obscure the fact that this is a firmly-hopped pale ale.

The dry hops and grapefruit only went into the beer yesterday, so I’ll give them about a week to infuse before I keg and force carbonate. Hopefully it’ll be one of those "I can’t believe I didn't think of this before!" sort of results. I won’t have long to enjoy this batch though because I’m less than three weeks away from flying to San Diego for the summer. Hopefully it'll last Audrey until I return!

It would be fun to try something similar with piney hops and spruce tips as well, but that will have to wait until next spring.

Grapefruit Pale Ale

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 5.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 9.88
Anticipated OG: 1.055
Anticipated SRM: 4.2
Anticipated IBU: 46.8
Brewhouse Efficiency: 78 %
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

96.2% - 9.50 lbs. American "2-row" Brewer's Malt
2.5% - 0.25 lbs. CaraVienna
1.3% - 0.13 lbs. Acid Malt

0.63 oz. Cascade (Whole, 8.00% AA) @ 20 min.
0.63 oz. Chinook (Whole, 11.50% AA) @ 20 min.
0.75 oz. Cascade (Whole, 8.00% AA) @ 10 min.
0.75 oz. Chinook (Whole, 11.50% AA) @ 10 min.
2.00 oz. Cascade (Whole, 8.00% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Chinook (Whole, 11.50% AA) @ 0 min.
2.00 oz. Cascade (Whole, 8.00% AA) @ Dry Hop
1.00 oz. Chinook (Whole, 11.50% AA) @ Dry Hop

1.00 Whirlfloc Fining @ 15 min.
0.50 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 min.
4 Grapefruits zest/flesh

WYeast 1056 American Ale/Chico

Water Profile
Profile: Washington, DC

Mash Schedule
Sacch Rest - 60 min @ 153 F

Brewed 5/27/13 with Audrey

Made a 1 L starter the night before, yeast pack was 5 months old.

2 g of gypsum added to the mash and sparge. Filtered DC water, un-cut as the base.

Batch sparged. Collected 6.75 gallons of 1.044 runnings.

Chilled to 70 F, shook to aerate, pitched the whole starter, and left at 64 F to ferment.

6/2/13 Added the zest of 4 grapefruits plus the dry hops in a weighted bag. Added the 4 peeled and cut in half grapefruits to the fermentor too.

6/20/13 Happy with how it turned out, although the grapefruit isn't as potent as I had hoped for.


HolzBrew said...

Love it man! I've been adding grapefruit to pale ales for years and its the perfect summer brew. Cheers!

Anderov said...

Hm, I hadn't really considered using piney hops and spruce tips, although it is kind of obvious. This is my second year making an almost-gruit [that is, nearly hopless] spruce tip ale - maybe I'll try something like that next year.

Brew Dude John said...

I have an idea to add lemon zest to an American wheat ale brewed with Sorachi Ace hops. I am interested to learn how this beer turns out.

Aaron said...

Looks delicious! The best grapefruit beer I ever made was a "Grapefruit Three-Ways IPA" with Galaxy and Citra hops. The grapefruit three-ways consisted of zest in the boil, candied grapefruit peel in the boil (Joy of Cooking recipe), and peel/de-pithed grapefruit segments dried in a dehydrator and then sanitized in vodka and added to the secondary. Those three combined to make a complex grapefruit beer.

Brew Dude John - that American wheat should be great. I do a wit with lemon and Sorachi Ace and the combo is outstanding.

Auto Service Renton said...

If you want flavor, do the flameout hop additions. For aroma, dry hopping is crucial. I'd add the amarillo as a dry hop.

sherm1016 said...

For piney with spruce tips, seek out Black Husky's Sproose Joose. It's a DIPA, but very interesting nonetheless.

Unknown said...

In the pic I see white (pith?) on the grapefruit, is that how they went in? I was told that any of the white would cause severe bitterness... Or did you just remove the meat from each slice and add those? I really like this idea!!!

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

We left the amount of pith that clung to the flesh attached when we added the halves. We removed the ~90% that came off along with the peel. We'll see if it ends up being enough to cause a problem with the flavor. High quality (fresh squeezed) grapefruit juice would probably be ideal if you were worried.

Aron said...

Great idea! What would you consider be good hops for the spruce beer idea?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I really don't have a go to pine-forward hop variety. Some Simcoe is really piney while other lots are more tropical. Chinook often has pine along with the grapefruit. Northern Brewer is nice and woodsy, might bring out the pine in other varieties.

Does anyone else have piney hop suggestions?

Anonymous said...

See also Captain Shaddock IPA from Widmer. Great combination.

Alex Tweet said...

Mike, as far as piney hop suggestions; I was requested to make a series of holiday themed casks last winter and the spruce tip one (was out of season, so i had to use extract) came out smelling like a hospital. It tasted like spruce, but smelled really unpleasant. I dry hopped 50% Simcoe and 50% chinook and it came out wreaking of pine needles and covered up that off smell. It's actually where the idea for the change in red rye's dry hop came from.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I'm always suspicious of flavor extracts. Some of them seem to work well as supporting flavors, but when they lead I'm generally not wowed.

Any insight on Grapefruit Sculpin?

Alex Tweet said...

I only like extracts in unison with the natural ingredient and in very small amounts, if at all. But I was in a pinch.
Grapefruit Sculpin, I would just peel grapefruits with a potato peeler. It would peel off just the oily dermis and leave behind all of the pith. I can't remember how many grams exactly, but it ended being right around 8 average sized grapefruits for a half barrel keg. I'd just tie them off in a muslin sock and let it sit on the beer for usually about 1 week at 38 degrees in the cold box. Probably didnt need that long though.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Interesting. Sounds like a bit less zest than I used per gallon. Maybe mixing it in with the hops didn't get as good contact/trasfer as it would have in a bag on its own.

Nicholas said...

How did you sanitize the grapefruit and zest? boiling? soaking in alcohol? Would you mind explaining how to use the fruit in the secondary

NT Revisionist said...

Why not just put grapefruit juice in the wort?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Grapefruit juice would certainly be an option for getting the flavor into a beer. However, zest contains a higher concentration of essential oils, so it provides more aromatics without the sugar and acidity of juice. I don't particularly care for the character of fermented citrus juice, and I didn't want the sweetness of adding juice post-fermentation.

NT Revisionist said...

Makes sense, I'm going to give this a go.

Jon said...

I'll second Nicholas's question - how do you sanitize the fruit + zest before adding?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I washed them with warm soapy water, rinsed, and then dunked the fruit and zester in diluted Star-San for a few minutes first. You'd probably be fine without the Star-San if you are going to keg and keep it cold, but no reason not to be safe.

We did something similar at the brewery today, although this time with zests from grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime, and mandarin (in that order). It's for a Five Alive take on our hoppy American wheat (Fortunate Islands).

Unknown said...

What is the maltster for the caravienna? I'm having trouble finding this. I have found a couple online but one is 20L and the other is 8.

Rt hanks for your help.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

It was probably Frano Belges, but any light crystal malt would be fine with so much else going on. The Briess CaraVienna adds an interesting almost peachy-fruitiness that could be nice.

Unknown said...

Do you think this would still be classified an American Pale Ale or is it a fruit beer because of the grapefruit addition?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

The grapefruit flavor was subtle enough in mine that I probably could have passed it off as a standard APA, although some more traditional judges might find it too hoppy (for the BJCP guidelines). I'd probably enter it as a fruit beer.

Unknown said...

Just curious on your thoughts on adding kumquats to a brett saison. Id like to just halve and add to secondary, but curious on how long they can/should sit. It still has at least 3 to 5 more months before I can consider bottling.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I generally like to add fruit 2-3 months out from bottling, but maybe you are just looking for a hint of complexity? I enjoyed Anchorage Galaxy White IPA, but I can't say for certain if anything I tasted was from the kumquat. Never brewed with them myself, but I'd use them at a pretty low level to start, you can always add more. Let me know how it goes!

Niles said...

Holy cow! I just brewed nearly the same recipe. I put some fresh grapefruit quarters in the mash and only added a dozen halved grapefruit at the whirlpool.
I've done similar recipes before with other citrus. I'm fine tuning this brew. So far, so good!
I hope yours turned out how you wanted.

Unknown said...

Was the beer hazy? I know it sounds funny but I'm wanting to brew beers with the "Hill Farmstead" like haze to it. I've done a lot of research and I think they're getting the haze from the pectin from fruits or zest. I'm not sure though. It's just crazy that the haze from almost all of their beer never settles... Thanks

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Hill Farmstead certainly has citrus in some of their beers, but any character that is consistent through all their beers would likely be a result of something more fundamental. Protein and dry hopping are the two most common sources of haze. At the rate I've heard Shaun Hill talk about using citrus zest in beers like Mimosa, I don't think it would be enough to contribute pectin haze.

If you follow the link at the bottom to the tasting notes you'll see this batch was pretty hazy. However, pectins require heat to set, and the zest here was added on the cold side.

Citrus zest will have a much bigger influence on the flavor than the appearance, that's what I'd worry about!

Unknown said...

Did you use Ruby Red or Pink grapefruit? Going to add zest to my IPA on Saturday morning and having trouble deciding which kind to buy.

I tried zesting a part of a ruby red into a glass to see what the quality was like but it didn't really have much aroma. Wondering if Pink is stronger? Or if it just needs some time to extract the aroma from the zest.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

It really isn't citrus season at the moment, which could be part of the problem. I'd suggest using whatever grapefruit you have access to smell the best to you. I believe mine were pink, and organic for what it's worth.

Unknown said...

An elementary brewing question, but is it better to dry hop with whole hops in a mesh bag versus adding hop pellets directly to the fermenter? I added the grapefruit and hop pellets into the fermenter and let sit for a week. When I started bottling yesterday I sampled it and it was way too bitter. There was a hint of the grapefruit, but the hops dominated the flavor.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Heavy bitterness likely isn't from the dry hops (unless you had some hop particulate in your sample). Did you taste it before dry hopping? Might just need to settle.

Pellets vs. whole leaf is really a question of process preference. Whole hops take a bit longer to infuse and can be a bit less consistent (but when they are at their best I prefer them). Whole hops are also less apt to over-extract (say in keg hopping). Pellets store better thanks to lower surface area.

Kris said...

I know this is an old thread but I stumbled across it while trying to find suggestions on what to add in secondary to a single hop (Chinook) batch I just brewed. I’ve made Northern Brewer’s Grapefruit Sculpin clone twice and the second time I soaked the peels in Ruby Red Grapefruit Vodka before dumping peels and liquid into the fermenter. Much better grapefruit flavor and a great beer - higher abv than Grapefruit Sculpin but smoother. A dangerous combination!