This week on BrewZasters: Session IPA

I got a call from my friend Ron, the owner and head brewer, at Kelsey Creek Brewing Company the week before last. He had some American ale yeast, would I like it? Hell yes, I would like it. Getting “some yeast” from Ron is the equivalent of maybe 10 starter batches; it’s probably a pint (~0.5L) of active yeast.

I recently found a recipe for a “small” IPA (India Pale Ale) that I wanted to try. The recipe falls pretty well into the hoppy pale ale category. The idea is to give the “mouthfeel” and hoppiness of an IPA without the alcohol kick. Or, what I call a session IPA. Here’s the recipe:

(Anticipated) Original gravity = 1.045

(Anticipated) Finished gravity = 1.012

(Anticipated) SRM (Color) = 18

(Anticipated) Alcohol By Volume = 4.3%

Grain Bill (Mash at 152F/67C for 60 minutes)

2.9 lb (1.3 kg) 2-row pale malt (2 SRM)

2.5 lb (1.13 kg) Munich malt (9 SRM)

2.0 lb (0.9 kg) Vienna malt (3.5 SRM)

Hop Schedule

0.78 Oz (22g) Simcoe hops (12% Alpha acids) at 90 minutes

1.0 (28g) U.S. Golding hops at flameout

2.0 Oz (56g) Amarillo hops “dry hopped” in secondary

Yeast

Wyeast 1968 (London ESB) yeast

The author appears to be going for an English/American fusion IPA taste by calling for a London Extra Special Bitters yeast and the aroma/dry hop additions of Golding and Amarillo hops. These aroma/dry hop additions should give the beer a floral and citrus aroma but the London ESB yeast should dampen some of the taste in ways a cleaner American ale yeast wouldn’t. The use of Munich and Vienna malts should give a fullness (I’m no expert here, I’m checking BeerSmith and BeerAlchemy for descriptions) that wouldn’t be there with straight 2-Row barley because they will yield less fermentable sugars than straight 2-Row barley would. (Experts, please leave a comment to let me know if I’m totally off base)

I wanted to make this. I really like the session beer idea where you get a lot of taste but don’t need to take a nap after two beers.

Of course, I had only two ingredients of the recipe: 2-row malted barley and Munich malt.

I needed to get creative. I had ten to twenty batch-worths of yeast that wouldn’t last indefinitely. So as somebody (Hunter S. Thompson?) once said, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

My version of Laurel IPA. Slightly cloudy with a SRM color around 6.

This is a picture of my Laurel IPA, but the Session IPA looks similar.. Slightly cloudy with a SRM color around 6.

Here’s the recipe I came up with:

Estimated Original Gravity: 1.045

Estimated Final Gravity: 1.010

Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 4.5 %

Estimated Bitterness: 39.0 IBUs

Estimated Color: 6.1 SRM

5 gallon batch

Grain Bill (Mash at 152F/67C for 60 minutes)

5 lbs 12.7 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)

1 lbs 12.1 oz Munich Malt – 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 2 20.5 %

12.8 oz Corn, Flaked (1.3 SRM) Grain 3 9.3 %

3.8 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 4 2.8 %

Hop addition schedule

19.84 g Galaxy [14.00 % AAU] – First Wort Hop

1 Oz (28 g) Centennial [10.00 % AAU] – Boil 0.0 min

1 Oz (28 g) Falconer’s Flight [10.50 % AAU] – Dry Hop

Yeast

3 pkg Wyeast Labs #1272 American Ale II (a bit fruitier than my go to yeast Safale 05)

I brewed it on July 8 and hit the estimated numbers right on. The wort cooled and I added the yeast. Visible fermentation happened in 30-40 minutes. It started so quickly I worried that it had an infection. I covered the Better Bottle carboy with a wet t-shirt to keep it cool and closer to the optimum fermentation temperature. The coolest part of my house, the basement, was hovering around 80F during the day—too warm for something that is not supposed to be a Belgian-style beer.

The specific gravity after two days in the fermenter was 1.010. It was transferred to another carboy (i.e. the secondary) and left for several more days.

My beer wench (i.e. my wife) and I bottled the beer today using four ounces of corn sugar mixed with the beer to carbonate (bottle conditioning).

I’m pleased with how it turned out. I give the beer 4 out of 5 stars. It tastes delightful with a citrusy hoppiness that dances on your tongue. It has a pleasant aftertaste. The mouthfeel is on the light/watery side of the scale. I would like to have a bit more fullness and maybe a little biscuit. I’ll add Victory and Vienna malts to the next batch in lieu of the corn and Crystal 60.

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Working on developing a ‘house’ pale ale

beers

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.