Brewing a West Coast Pale Ale

With the Lake County Home Wine (and beer) Makers Festival coming up in Lakeport, California on June 25, 2011, 1:00 PM-5:00 PM; it seemed like a good time to make a session beer for the event.

If you want to brew a session beer it’s hard to beat an American Pale Ale. And, first on its list as an example (in the Beer Judge Certification Program), is Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. There must be dozens or hundreds of SNPA clones on the internet in chatrooms, on forums, on homebrewing store sites, and elsewhere.

Cloning a beer is a fun goal to work toward.  Gordon Strong in his book, Brewing Better Beer, says to take a look the brewery’s website for clues as to what’s in their brew.

Here is what Sierra Nevada says about inputs/outcomes of their pale ale:

malts:     Two-row Pale & Caramel

bittering hops:           Magnum & Perle

finishing hops:            Cascade

yeast:                                 Top-fermenting Ale Yeast

alcohol content:       5.6% ABV

beginning gravity:          13.0 Plato (1.052)

ending gravity:             4.0 Plato (1.016)

bitterness units:            37

At the moment, I’m just looking to brew a drinkable pale ale; a house pale ale. One that you can brew and enjoy drinking. I’ll let you know how the final product shapes up.

Here’s the recipe for a 6.5 gallon batch of West Coast style Pale Ale:

West Coast Pale Ale

Mash Efficiency:            65.0%

Volume 6.5 gallon


Ingredient                                                Amount            Per cent

Pale Ale Malt                                                13lb 12oz            95.4 %

Caramel 120L Malt                                    8.50 oz            3.7 %

Carastan Malt                                             2.00 oz            0.9 %


Variety             Alpha       Amount            IBU            Type                                    Timing

Perle                  6.5 %      2.00 oz        29.0     Bagged Pellet Hops            30 Min From End

Amarillo            8.5 %      1.00 oz            4.9            Bagged Pellet Hops            5 Min From End

Cascade            5.0 %       1.00 oz            0.0            Bagged Pellet Hops            At turn off


Safale 05

Wort Volume Before Boil:     7.30 US gals
Wort Volume After Boil:     6.50 US gals
Volume Transferred:     5.25 US gals
Volume At Pitching:     5.25 US gals
Target Pre-Boil Gravity:     1.042 SG
Actual Pre-Boil Gravity:     1.052 SG
Target Original Gravity:     1.047 SG
Actual Original Gravity:     1.058 SG
Target Final Gravity:     1.011 SG
Target Apparent Attenuation:     74.9 %
Target ABV:     4.7 %
Target ABW:     3.7 %
Target IBU (using Tinseth):     30.1 IBU
Target Color (using Morey):     9.6 SRM
Actual Color:     10.3 SRM
Target Mash Efficiency:     65.0 %
Actual Mash Efficiency:     72.8 %


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