This Week in BrewZasters: American Pale Ale

Cover of "Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winn...

Cover via Amazon

Yesterday at flog this dead brewing we made an American pale ale (definition here). And, for the first time ever in our brewing history, we made a 10 gallon batch of beer. The recipe came from the book, “Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew” by Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer. If you don’t have this book in your library, you should. The recipes are designed for extract brewers, and also have the recipe for all grain brewers.

American Pale Ale
Anticipated alcohol by volume: 5.82%
Anticipated Original gravity: 1.056
Anticipated Final gravity: 1.012
Anticipated IBUs: 39
Anticipated Color: 4.5 SRM
Anticipated Efficiency: 65%

Recipe (keep in mind this is for a 10 gallon batch of American pale ale):

We needed to slightly modify the grain bill for Jamil’s American pale ale by replacing the Munich malt with 1.75 pounds of Vienna malt. The rest was 23 pounds of 2 row barley malt and 1.25 pounds of white wheat malt.

The hop schedule for this one was 1.25 ounces of Galaxy hops at 60 min. (we had no Horizon hops in stock), 1 ounce of Cascade hops at 10 min., 1 ounce of Centennial hops at 10 min., 1 ounce of Cascade hops at 0 min., and 1 ounce of Centennial hops at 0 min. in addition, we will dry hop with 2 ounces of Falconer’s Flight hops.

4 packages of Fermentis’s Safale 05 yeast

In addition to this being flog this dead brewing’s 1st 10 gallon batch, it was also the 1st time we have ever fly sparged (our 15 gallon keggles could not handle that much grain and water at the same time). Perhaps it was the fly sparging for our better than 65% efficiency, but our efficiency was 73%. As a result, what should have been an original gravity of 1.056 turned onto be 1.068. Our American pale ale is in the India pale ale category at least as far as alcoholic content.

The beer is now in Better Bottle fermenters (and covered with wet T-shirts to keep the beer as cool as possible under trying conditions) and merrily percolating away. The initial taste of the raw wort is of a sweet pleasantly hopped ale. We should know in a week to 10 days if this batch will be a success.

This Week on BrewZasters: One Gallon Batches

You know that you would like to brew your own beer but:

  • You don’t have time to brew your own beer.
  • You don’t have the space (because you live in an apartment) to brew your own beer.
  • You don’t have the money to brew your own beer. All the extra equipment can really drain the wallet.
  • You live in an apartment, you don’t have room to store all that stuff to be able to brew your own beer.

As Charlie Papazian says, “Relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew,” perhaps, micro batch brewing may meet your needs. For our purposes, micro batches are one to three gallons in size. And, they can be as simple or complex as you wish to do, and some can be done in under an hour. It’s easy to make beer. People have been brewing their own beer for as long as they have been growing grains (there is evidence that it’s even longer than that). If you can make oatmeal, you can make beer (in beer’s case you’d throw away the oatmeal and keep the liquid). At its most basic, beer is made from water, malted barley, hops, yeast and, sometimes, other stuff.

Making beer involves three or four steps:

  1. You boil the batch
  2. You ferment the batch
  3. You bottle the batch
  4. (Optional) You drink the batch.

I’ve brewed three micro (one-gallon) batches of beer and have had good results using the following recipes:

15-Minute Pale Ale (15 minute Boil That is)

4.3 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (60.0 SRM)
1 lbs 3.1 oz Light Dry Extract (8.0 SRM)
27 g Cascade hops [5.50 %] – Boil 15.0 min
11 g Cascade hops [5.50 %] – Boil 5.0 min
3 g Cascade hops [5.50 %] – Boil 0.0 min
0.5 pkg. Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)

See Ya Nevada Pale Ale

2.6 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (60.0 SRM)
1 lb. 1.6 oz Light Dry Extract (8.0 SRM)
9.33 g German Perle [6.50 %]
7.01 g Cascade hops [5.50 %] – Boil 60.0 min
7.01 g Cascade hops [5.50 %] – Boil 10.0 min
9.39 g Cascade hops [5.50 %] – Boil 0.0 min
0.5 pkg. Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) Yeast

This Week in Brew Disasters: Big Irish American Red Ale…the bottling

It’s been nearly a month since we at Flog This Dead Brewing avoided injuring even though we boiled 10 gallons of wort for over 3 hours inside a drafty hall filled with randomly running children and tipsy people. We were able to move the wort into fermenting carboys and added yeast at which point the wort changed (legally at least) into beer. A week later we took a sample (using a wine thief, essentially a long plastic pipette)  and its specific gravity measured 1.023.  Though there were some “dish soap” tastes–probably phenols produced by the yeast.

Hydrometer shows the finishing specific gravity of 1.014

After one month in the primary and secondary combined, and two weeks after dry-hopping with an ounce of cascade hops, the specific gravity has reached its final gravity of 1.014.

So today, the beer will be bottled and set aside for bottle conditioning. Bottle conditioning is the process of adding sugars to the beer to awaken the yeast and get them working again. Their burping of carbon dioxide inside the bottle will carbonate the beer.

But, first we will taste the month-old beer to see how it’s doing so far. The beer has a deep red color with a floral nose and taste (reminiscent of rose petals). The soapiness is gone and hoppiness jumps out at you but it is still slightly sweet. In future batches, I think the malt might use a little more presence. Since this was an extract brew there was not much we could do about that. The yeast ate the extract and left the beer a little drier. In an all-grain batch I might try mashing in the 155F (68C) range which will leave some more unfermentable sugars that the yeast can’t digest.

I’ve decided to experiment  with the flavor profile by bottle conditioning half of the batch with corn sugar (0.46  oz/gal) and half with honey (0.56 oz/gal). I’m interested to see how the honey will play with the already great flavors. It may be too much of a good thing. We will know in a few more weeks which method was the right choice.

Carbonation calculation for a brown ale.

Here’s the recipe for the Big Irish American Red beer:

17.00 lb Pale Liquid Extract (4.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM)
2 oz Columbus hops (added at 20 minutes before flame off)
2 oz Centennial hops (added at 10 minutes before flame off)
2 oz Citra hops (added at 1 minute before flame off)
2 oz Amarillo Gold hops (added at 1 minute before flame off)
California Ale Yeast (White Labs #WLP001)

After the yeast has been added and two weeks of fermentation here is the expected beer profile:
Est Original Gravity: 1.062 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.014 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.3 %
Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.3 %
Bitterness: 44.5 IBU
Calories: 278 cal/pint
Est Color: 19.2 SRM

Cervesariis Feliciter.” (“Long live the Brewsters”) — Ancient Roman Blessing

A winning recipe for the Battle of the Brews, but which one?

Oh Well, What the Hell Pale Ale could be a winner

A few weeks back, I entered my “Oh Well, What the HellPale Ale and my House Pale Ale (a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone using Pilsner yeast to ferment due to the cold temperature in my basement) into the tasting competition of the 16th Annual Battle of the Brews .

I don’t know which House Pale Ale it is. It could be this one. But, who knows? Darn it. If you want to get feedback on your brewing you should at least remember which batch it is, so you can know which tweaks might have worked or not. Well, frankly, the House Pale Ale batches I had made tasted pretty similar, but nothing like Sierra Nevada‘s Pale Ale. SNPA has a slightly metallic taste, in my opinion. I like SNPA, but when I tasted the two back-to-back they were quite different. The difference could be the use of Pilsner yeast instead of California Ale yeast.

Well, Gabe Jackson of the Sonoma Beerocrats sent me an email last night letting me know that one of my entries had “placed in our Battle of the Brew/Craft Cup Homebrew Competition!” Cool. But which ones placed, we do not know yet.

Paul, the president of our Lake County Homebrew Club, entered our club’s Bourbon Barrel Stout that we made at the 2011 Big Beer Brew Day. He was told he also placed.

Still, I guess that’s pretty good feedback. I seem to be making decent beer.

The 16th Annual Battle of the Brews is happening on March 31, 2012 at Grace Pavilion at the Sonoma Fairgrounds. And, I’m going. the BOTB is held for charity. According to their website: “For 15 years, the Active 20-30 club of Santa Rosa has held the Battle of the Brews fundraiser. This event has raised nearly $1,000,000 dollars, the proceeds of which have been distributed by our Youth Benevolent Fund to help change the lives of needy children.”

CliffsNotes for the 16th ANNUAL BATTLE OF THE BREWS:

Local charity fundraiser. Beer tasting, food and music. Must be 21 to enter; valid California Driver’s License required at time of entry.

  • Date: Saturday – March 31, 2012
  • Hours: 2:00 – 8:00p.m.
  • Location:Grace Pavilion
  • Admission: Advance Tickets are $40/pp for Main Event & $95/pp for the Craft Tasting
  • Organization: Active 20-30 Club of Santa Rosa #50
  • Website: www.battleofthebrews.com

This Week in Brew Disasters: Big Irish American Red Ale follow-up/Taste and Specific Gravity

Here's Big Red at 1 week old

Last week in brew disasters at the Rhythm and Brews festival in Lakeport, CA on Saturday, Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2012, Paul and Norm avoided scalding anyone while producing 10 gallons of Big Irish American Red beer wort in 30 minutes 3 hours inside a drafty hall filled with randomly running children people unaware that we were boiling liquid.

Today, I took my first sample of the wort beer (That’s it on the right ==>). The specific gravity measured at 1.023. That’s after one week in the fermenter at 64F. I tasted it too. It’s okay. Though there are some “dish soap” tastes–probably phenols produced by the yeast. I’m hoping that a week or two longer in the carboy helps. Unless, it really is dish soap then there’s no hope for it.

Should I add more yeast to try to get the specific gravity down to 1.015 and clean up some of those phenol tastes?

Ingredients:

17.00 lb Pale Liquid Extract (4.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM)
2 oz Columbus hops (added at 20 minutes before flame off)
2 oz Centennial hops (added at 10 minutes before flame off)
2 oz Citra hops (added at 1 minute before flame off)
2 oz Amarillo Gold hops (added at 1 minute before flame off)
California Ale Yeast (White Labs #WLP001)

After the yeast has been added and two weeks of fermentation here is the expected beer profile:
Est Original Gravity: 1.062 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.014 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.3 %
Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.3 %
Bitterness: 44.5 IBU
Calories: 278 cal/pint
Est Color: 19.2 SRM

Cervesariis Feliciter.” (“Long live the Brewsters”) — Ancient Roman Blessing

This Week in Brew Disasters: Big Irish American Red Ale (after the Rhythm & Brews event)

In this photograph, emergency medical technici...

Fortunately these guys weren't needed. No one got hurt too badly. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week in brew disasters:Paul and Norm were up to the challenge of producing 10 gallons of beer wort in 30 minutes 3 hours inside a drafty hall filled with randomly running children and less than sober people who have no idea that we were boiling liquid at the Rhythm and Brews festival in Lakeport, CA on Saturday, Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2012.

Speaking of no ideas. I have no idea of how many health and safety codes we might have violated. I love brewing. Brew days just stoke me with excitement. But, if we were to do this again, I would like to see: signs to caution people to the dangers of boiling liquids, first aid supplies for burns and emergency medical technicians close by, cordons around the boil kettles, in other words a decent incident action plan (IAP).

Thankfully, no one was injured.

The yeast joined the wort at 6:45pm on Saturday and by 6am on Sunday the beer showed active fermentation.

Ingredients for Big Irish American Ale:

17.00 lb Pale Liquid Extract (4.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM)
2 oz Columbus hops (added at 20 minutes before flame off)
2 oz Centennial hops (added at 10 minutes before flame off)
2 oz Citra hops (added at 1 minute before flame off)
2 oz Amarillo Gold hops (added at 1 minute before flame off)
California Ale Yeast (White Labs #WLP001)

After the yeast has been added and two weeks of fermentation here is the expected beer profile:
Est Original Gravity: 1.062 SG (Measured 1.060)
Est Final Gravity: 1.014 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.3 %
Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.3 %
Bitterness: 44.5 IBU
Calories: 278 cal/pint
Est Color: 19.2 SRM

This Week in Brew Disasters: Big Irish American Red Ale

Hop cone in the Hallertau, Germany, hop yard

Hang out with me at Rhythm & Brews. (Image via Wikipedia)

This week in brew disasters: will Paul and Norm be up to the challenge of producing a beer in 30 minutes inside a drafty hall filled with people who have no idea what the boiling liquid is for and why hops smell like pot?

Maybe not.

But, you can find out how easy brewing beer really is. Come join me and others from the Lake County Homebrewers group at the Rhythm and Brews festival in Lakeport, CA on Saturday, Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2012.

“Cervesariis Feliciter.” (“Long live the Brewsters”) — Ancient Roman Blessing

At 1:30 pm, we will boiling 12 1/2 gallons of wort (the raw beer before yeast is added) for 10 1/2 gallons of what we are calling a Big Irish American Red Ale. We only have 30 minutes on the schedule so we’ll be using liquid malt extract instead of soaking (mashing)  two-row malted barley in hot water to extract the starches and sugars. We will be steeping some specialty grains to add color (Lovibond–L–denotes darkness) and flavor. The specialty grains are: 40 L crystal malt, 120 L crystal malt, 300 L roasted barley. [Update: boiling liquids and drunk people dancing…should be fun!]

Ingredients:

17.00 lb Pale Liquid Extract (4.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM)
0.75 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM)
2 oz Columbus hops (added at 20 minutes before flame off)
2 oz Centennial hops (added at 10 minutes before flame off)
2 oz Citra hops (added at 1 minute before flame off)
2 oz Amarillo Gold hops (added at 1 minute before flame off)
California Ale Yeast (White Labs #WLP001)

After the yeast has been added and two weeks of fermentation here is the expected beer profile:
Est Original Gravity: 1.062 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.014 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.3 %
Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.3 %
Bitterness: 44.5 IBU
Calories: 278 cal/pint
Est Color: 19.2 SRM

Update [2/15/2012]: I’m working on a starter yeast for this beer using John Palmer’s How to Brew.