Thursday, June 20, 2013

Grapefruit American Pale Ale Tasting

I'm flying to San Diego tomorrow, still packing, so just enough time tonight for a quick review of the grapefruit-zest infused American pale ale that Audrey and I brewed a few weeks ago. The goal was to brew a recipe concept I’d been thinking about for a while and give her a full keg to enjoy while I’m gone.

Grapefruit American Pale Ale, with an actual grapefruit.Grapefruit Pale Ale

Appearance – Wheat beer level of haziness persists, even as this all-barley beer warms. Still young, it should clear up with a couple more weeks of cold conditioning in the keg. The solid white head exhibits decent retention, minimal lacing.

Smell – Despite the “classic” American hops (Chinook and Cascade), the nose suggests newer more dramatic varieties thanks to the fresh citrus (grapefruit) zest. Still comes across mostly as hops though; I doubt I could have said with certainty that it contained grapefruit zest if I hadn’t known. Very slight solvent aroma, maybe just the association with the “citrus oil” spray that we use to clean our counters? Pretty straight forward aroma, not much malt or fermentation character.

Taste – Despite the hop/citrus forward nose, the flavor features toasty malt. The beginning of the finish suggests lemonade for a second, bright and light, lingering on the palate with a firm hoppiness. Reasonably well balanced, it is bitter without being rough.

Mouthfeel – Medium-light body, perfect for a “summertime” pale ale. Medium carbonation, could be a bit higher.

Drinkability & Notes – An easy to drink, bright, refreshing, citrusy pale ale. Not quite as much grapefruit character as I was going for, which may have taken a bottle of grapefruit juice added directly to the keg. While waiting for this batch to ferment I drank a few bottles of fresh Dogfish Head 60 Minute with a splash of grapefruit juice added to the glass. A few drops of Bittermens Hopped (Palisade) Grapefruit Bitters works too, although I enjoyed the added acidity from the juice.


hiikeeba said...

I am looking forward to trying this recipe. It sounds delicious.

William said...

If you had to do it again, what would you do differently?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I might add the same amount of zest at flame-out in addition to dry-zesting to up the flavor contribution.

Ben Cops said...

Chopped up oranges in a hop rocket worked for me.

Mauro Scappa said...

I came across this recipe while searching for a radler/shandy recipe. Would you consider at this one possibly close?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Not really, although the citrus puts it in some proximity. Usually radler/shandy are made at serving by mixing beer and something sweet. The beer is usually something not as bitter or hoppy as this pale ale. If you like hoppy beers and grapefruit, this is a good recipe to try.