This Week in Brewzasters – Jago Pale Ale

Yesterday saw the brewing of another batch of the crowd pleasing Jago Bay Pale Ale, the house pale ale. Our sensory panel (well, me and some of the Malt Konocti Mashers, but “sensory panel” sounds better) says,

“This, to me, is a classic pale. In the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale template. There is an upfront sweetness/maltiness, a bready and toast flavor midway, followed by a the hop bitterness. A very drinkable beer.”

 

“WOW.”

This was the ninth iteration of the house pale. Each time the recipe has been tweaked by one item to learn if the change was better or not. The switching from Vienna to Victory malt has added a pleasant complexity, a bready flavor that is a keeper (though Amber malt will be tried soon–it has the same qualities with slightly more intensity).

Our ribbon-winning House Pale Ale.

Our ribbon-winning House Pale Ale.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the recipe for 5 gallons of Jago Bay Pale Ale* (PDF):

Est Original Gravity: 1.050 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.011 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.1 %
Bitterness: 34.6 IBUs
Est Color: 6.6 SRM

10.63 lb    Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)     90 %
0.75 lb  Victory Malt (25.0 SRM)    Grain        6 %
0.24 lb    Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (60.0 SRM)    Grain        2.0 %
0.24 lb    White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM)    Grain        2.0 %
0.5 oz    Galaxy [14.80 %] – Boil 60.0 min    Hop        23.2 IBUs
0.5 oz   Cascade [7.70 %] – Boil 10.0 min    Hop        4.0 IBUs
0.5 oz  Chinook [13.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min    Hop        7.4 IBUs
0.5 oz    Cascade [7.70 %] – Boil 0.0 min    Hop        0.0 IBUs
0.5 oz  Chinook [13.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min    Hop        0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg    SafAle English Ale (DCL/Fermentis #S-04) [23.66 ml]  Yeast
1.0 pkg    Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) [50.28 ml]    Yeast
1.0 oz    Chinook [13.00 %] – Dry Hop     Hop     0.0 IBUs

Single Infusion 150F mash (Mash into 4.5 gallons of water at 159 F)
Sparge Water: 4.2 gal
Sparge Water Temperature: 168.0 F

*65% efficiency

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

Sierra Nevada Brewing announces their expansion to the east coast

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

Sierra Nevada in North Carolina. Image via Wikipedia

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, the number-two best‐selling craft beer in the United States, behind Boston Beer Company‘s Samuel Adams Boston Lager, announced today they will be opening a second brewery in western North Carolina. The plant will be situated on 90 acres along the French Broad River, 12 miles south of Asheville, in the town of Mills River. Says Ken Grossman, founder of Sierra Nevada. “The beer culture, water quality and quality of life are excellent. We feel lucky to be a part of this community.”

Sierra Nevada Brewing’s east coast brewery is expected to employ approximately 90 workers, and will start with a capacity around 300,000 barrels. The added capacity will accommodate wider production and distribution of their seasonal and specialty beers as well as an expansion of the brewery’s well‐known flagship product: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

Grossman anticipates the construction to take between 18 and 24 months. They hope to be operational by early 2014. Grossman’s son, Brian Grossman along with Stan Cooper will be leading operations of the North Carolina location; a few key Chico staff will also be relocating to the North Carolina.

I look forward to finding Sierra Nevada Torpedo, a good West Coast IPA, on the east coast. Hot darn!

This week on Brew Disasters: House Pale Ale

English: Bathams brewery Mash tun, the spent m...

Aftermash. Spent grain being spaded out of mash tun. (Image via Wikipedia)

This week on Brew Disasters we’re brewing a totally new and untried recipe (at least by us at Batch-22). We’ve got the recipe for a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone from the Beverage People (I immediately changed the hops, so don’t blame them; blame me for the recipe) that we want to enter in Beer-vana. With entries due in only four weeks, we’re under the gun. [Queue theme song]

The recipe:

Two-Row Malt  9lb 0oz
Caramel 40L Malt  8.00 oz
Carapils (Dextrin) Malt  8.00 oz
Ahtanum  1.00 oz  60 Min From End
Ahtanum  1.00 oz  30 Min From End
Cascade  1.00 oz  10 Min From End
Cascade  1.00 oz  1 Min From End

Original specific gravity ~ 1.048-1.052

ABV ~5%, IBU ~ 40

I also am subbing a Wyeast 2007-Pilsen Lager for the White Labs WLP001-California Ale since the basement temps are around 52F, darned near ideal for lagers.

I’m still working to find a good house pale ale recipe. Or, perhaps, I have had good pale ale recipes and have had poor execution. These are my brewing notes from yesterday.

For this all-grain recipe, I chose to batch sparge, so the maximum amount of  sugars could be extracted from the 10 pound grain bill. The goal was to have about 8 gallons of wort with a specific gravity of 1.036-1.042 before beginning the boil. After the boil the goal was pale ale wort with an original gravity of 1.048-1.052.

And, I wanted to mash and sparge with equal amounts of water.

The grain will soak up a percentage of the water and hold onto it. So, I started there.
The formula for water loss due to grain absorption is 0.13gal H2O/lb x grain bill (1.3 gal/lb x 10 lb  = 1.3 gallons. If I wanted 8 gallons I needed to start with 9.3 gallons of hot liquor (liquor in brewing terminology is water plus any needed amendments e.g., gypsum).

Next, I decided on how much water to grain I wanted in the mash. I picked 1.5 qt H2O per pound of grain. 10.00 lb x 1.5 qt/lb = 15.00 qt = 3.75 gallons H2O

I heated a tad over 5 gallons (3.75gal + 1.3gal = a tad of 5 gal) to 163F for the mash water. I heat 5+ gallons to 163F (10F above the mash temperature desired), and then “doughed-in” the milled grain (your local homebrew store can help you mill the grain so that it’s not too fine).

After I doughed in making a grain soup,  the temperature was 136F and not 153F. A drop of 27F, and not 10F. So much for rules of thumb. Since I use a keggle with a hand-made false bottom for mashing, I lit the burner under the keggle and set the burner to a low flame (to minimize caramelizing the wort. NOTE: don’t try this if you use an ice chest to mash) and began recirculating wort to equalize the temperature within. Once the mash reached 153F, it sat for an hour to allow the enzymes present on the malted barley to break down the grain’s starches into simpler sugars that beer yeast can digest. After the hour, recirculated wort (Vorlaufed in beer-geek speak) until it ran without bits of grain in it.  I heated the mash up to 168F. Once in the 168F ballpark, I drain into boil pot and measure output (I also put a wire mesh between the bucket and the spigot to catch wayward bits of grain). I measured 3.33 gallons of output (the false bottom area still held about 3 gallons too).

I heated 2.75 gallons to 170F and added that to the grains and stirred it well so the liquor (aka hot water) would need to make new channels in the grain bed. Then it set for 10 minutes. I recirculated, drained, and measured. The two outputs added up to 8 gallons. The pre-boil gravity was a corrected 1.038. (Note: you can’t read hydrometer numbers without correcting for the temperature of the liquid. Hydrometers are calibrated to read 1.000SG in 59F water).

Once the output had been measured (8.0 gallons), it went into the boil kettle.

The wort boiled for 75 minutes. 30 minutes before flame out the wort chiller is placed into the boiling wort to sterilize it. The specific gravity at the end of the boil was 1.050. The yeast was pitched after the wort had cooled to 62F.

The Better Bottle Carboy is now in the basement and the thermal strip reads 52F. After 12 hours there is no sign yet of bubbles from the blow-off tube.

Tune in later to see if fermentation has started.

Good news for backpackers: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in cans

This is certainly great news for anyone who needs to avoid glass bottles, such as around the swimming pool. It’s great news for anyone who wants to take good beer with them without the hassle of heavy and fragile bottles. Sierra Nevada says they will be shipping these within two weeks. We should see Sierra Nevada Pale Ale on the shelves by the end of the month.  I know what I’m taking with me on my next backpack trip in the Sierra Nevada range.

Sierra Nevada has announced their pale ale will be available in cans.