This Week in BrewZasters – Tasting the Accidental IPA

An Unexpected IPA. It was supposed to be an American Pale Ale.

Accidental IPA. It was supposed to be an American Pale Ale.

When it was brewed two weeks ago, the Accidental IPA was supposed to be an American Pale Ale.  That is, until, due to better efficiency in extracting sugars, the specific gravity was overshot by 12 points and Accidental IPA became an India Pale Ale (American style– though at around 39 IBU it is low on bitterness). The beer was dry-hopped with 1 ounce each of Citra, Falconer’s Flight™, and Centennial hops.

This time, instead of bottling the batch, it was put into a 5 gallon keg and 3 keggettes (Tap-A-Drafts actually, if truth be told).


The beer is cloudy, perhaps due to the yeast not having dropped, or from the use of wheat, or the pickup tube pulling yeast in. Its color is about a 3 or 4 SRM (the color of straw,which is lighter than what the picture shows) and has a foamy white head. There is little lacing left on the glass after the beer is gone.


The beer’s aroma is subtle, a sweet combination of malt and citrus. As the beer warms a fruity character appears (probably from the Citra dry-hopping).


My impression is that the beer leans toward the bitter side but not jarringly so and tastes of citrus. The aftertaste is citrus also. There may be an off-note that I can’t quite wrap my tongue around, but then I could be overly critical.


It strikes me as a bit on the light side, though not unpleasantly so. The beer is well carbonated and tingles the tongue and adds to the bitterness.

Overall Impression

This is a dangerous beer. It’s 7.5% ABV hides in the carbonation and citrus flavors and will definitely affect your ability to say no to another. It’s a drinkable beer with a good beat that many could dance to. I think it will be a hit at the Northern California Homebrewers Festival in September.

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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

Working on developing a ‘house’ pale ale


Image by uberculture via Flickr

Yesterday, I went to MoreBeer‘s showroom in Concord, CA to pick up supplies plus ingredients for my next beer. I want to give a shout out to the good people there. Every experience I have had there has been positive and completely enjoyable and I must have gone there dozen of times now.

One of the cool things that MoreBeer does is offer feedback on homebrews (all of the homebrew stores I patronize do too). Most of the staff (maybe all the staff for all I know) are avid homebrewers and are passionate about beer.

So, I brought in Brew Disasters the “Oh Well, What the Hell” pale ale for an evaluation. The consensus, of the three fellow brewers who were in the showroom at the time, was that the flaws (if there were any) had been nicely masked by the honey. They would have liked a bigger hop presence, a little less carbonation (good thing I didn’t try for the top of the carbonation range–always a bit of a crap shoot when bottle conditioning and not force-carbonating in a keg), a little less alcohol “heat.” They agreed it needed to age a little longer to mellow it some more. All in all, they felt it was a serviceable pale ale.

My next beer project will be a pale ale, though since it will be brewed with Wyeast 2007, Pilsner Yeast, maybe it should be called a pale lager (let’s not get too hung up on designations, okay?). I bought 11 pounds of 2-row barley malt, 8 ounces of 60L crystal, and 2 oz of Amarillo hops and 2 oz of Cascade hops. I’m hoping to come up with a “house” pale ale with loads of flavor and aroma and not too bitter. I want a “Session” beer. To get that high flavor, low bitterness and keep the IBUs within Beer Judge Certification Program‘s (BJCP) Style Guidelines, the first hop addition will be 1 oz of Amarillo at 20 minutes rather than the standard 60 minutes before the end of the boil. The next hop additions will be 1 oz of Amarillo at 10 minutes, 1 oz of Cascade at 5 minutes, and lastly 1 oz of Cascade at 1 minute before the end of the boil. According to the BeerAlchemy software I use, this hop addition schedule should give the beer about 40 IBUs.

Keep your fingers crossed, this pale ale, erm pale lager, will be brewed this coming Saturday.