PM#6 – Hoppy Feet Pale Ale

I’m looking forward to the new season hops which should be arriving in a few weeks time. I’ll be putting in a big order for hops and grains so I need to make some room for new supplies. Rather than viewing this as a “leftovers” beer, I like to think it more as a blowout. “Hoppy Feet Pale Ale” will be an intentionally over-hopped American pale ale. I’ve got a good amount of 2011 Citra and Amarillo, and even a smidgin of Chinook (about 5 grams). I’ve also got some Munich and CaraPils which are a little out of date, so they’re going in too.

I’ll be using a small charge of Columbus at 60 mins for bittering but I’m planning on hop-bursting with the Citra and Amarillo (less than 10 minutes boil time) so that’s where I’ll be getting most of my IBUs in this beer. I think I might leave out the dry-hopping this time, but I’ll use my fresh bags of Cascade or Summit if I do.

I’ve been struggling with efficiency in my partial mash batches so I’ve decided to try and nail down my process. I decided to purchase a good quality 11 litre stockpot to do my mashes in. Instead to doing mashes in whatever pot takes my fancy I’ll have a dedicated mash vessel with which I can record volumes and temperature in an attempt to get consistency in my mashing process. I’ll be using my large stockpot (which functions as my brewpot) to do the sparging in. I also bought a snazzy digital theremometer as the liquid thermometer is too difficult to read. Hopefully with this new equipment I’ll have my volumes and temperatures sorted.

When I was designing my recipe, I also used a pretty low efficiency of 65%. I can increase this for subsequent brews as my process and efficiency improve.

My American pale ales have suffered in the past from being overly bitter, so I’ll be watching my hop additions and AA ratings closely. I did the mash today and I’ll only be deciding on the final hop schedule when I open the bags and weigh out the hops.

Category: American Pale Ale
Recipe Type: Partial Mash
Batch Size: 19 L
Volume Boiled: 12 L
Mash Efficiency: 65%
Total Grain/Extract: 3.75 kg
Total Hops: 84.0 g

Original Gravity: 1.052 (1.045 – 1.060)
Terminal Gravity: 1.012 (1.010 – 1.015)
Color: 8.47 °SRM (5.00 – 14.00 °SRM)
Bitterness: 41.3 IBU (30.00 – 45.00 IBU)
ABV: 5.2% (4.50 – 6.00%)

Ingredients

  • 0.19 kg Munich Malt
  • 0.075 kg Belgian Biscuit
  • 1.3 kg Maris Otter Pale
  • 0.36 kg CaraMalt
  • 0.225 kg Belgian Cara-Pils
  • 0.5 kg Dry Light Malt Extract
  • 0.95 kg Dry Light Malt Extract
  • 0.15 kg Dry Wheat Malt Extract
  • 8 g Columbus (Whole, 14.2 %AA) boiled 60 min.
  • 28 g Amarillo (Whole, 11.2 %AA) boiled 10 min.
  • 32 g Citra (Whole, 13.8 %AA) boiled 1 min.
  • 8 g Amarillo (Whole, 11.2 %AA) boiled 1 min.
  • 8 g Chinook (Whole, 13.00 %AA) boiled 1 min.
  • 0.5 ea. Whirlfloc Tablets (15 mins)
  • Yeast: Fermentis Safale US-05

Targets: OG: 1052, FG: 1013, IBU: 38, SRM: 7, ABV: 5.1%

Prime to 2.5 volumes using 150g dextrose.

Mash 04/11/2012 – Heated mash liquor to 74°C and added my 2kg of grain. It was slightly over my intended mash temperature of 68°C but I just put the lid on the mash pot and left it anyway. Next time I’ll shoot for 73°C. After 30 minutes of mashing, I stirred and checked the temperature. Pleased to see the mash was at 67°C which was much higher than I expected. Popped the lid back on and left for another 30 minutes. Heated 6 litres of sparge water in the large brewpot and placed the grain bag in there. Gave the grain a good stir and left for about 15 minutes. Wort looks nice and clear. It’s also pretty light.

Boil 05/11/2012 – I was aiming for around 38 IBUs and had all the hops measured out and recipe calculated. Then I realised 10 minutes into boiling that I had forgotten to adjust the AA ratings on the hops. I was using the BeerTools defaults! So much for paying attention. I adjusted the AA ratings and my IBUs were coming out at 43! So I moved my 5 minute addition to 1 minute which brought the IBU back down to 41.3. A little better. Because BeerTools (inexplicably) cannot accept ZERO minute additions, all my flame-out additions are set to 1 minute. Even though my recipe says otherwise, my 1 minute additions were done at flame-out, hopefully bringing my IBUs down to 37. (Of course, I realise I could have simply omitted some the hops from this brew to get my desired IBU but where’s the fun in that!) I also allowed the flame-out hops to steep for at least 15 mins before I started the wort chiller. Never done this before.

I nearly forgot the Whirlfloc which would have been a damn shame in such a pale beer but I chucked some in at 10 minutes and saved the day. Wort looks clear anyway.

I had a little less wheat DME than I thought so I balanced with regular DME. Plenty of hops to soak up the wort so I had to squeeze them a little in a sieve to get the wort out. I hit my target OG of 1052 but that’s assuming an efficiency of 65% which is pretty rubbish. I know now that my efficiency issues are not being caused by temperature so what is it? I know the hop soakage accounts for some loss, but 65% is crap. I need to up my batch sizes with the intention of leaving a litre behind in the kettle.

Wort is really light in colour. Probably the palest extract/partial beer I’ve done to date. Nice biscuity nose and flavour and huge amounts of orange and tropical fruit. Rehydrated a new sachet of US-05 and it was showing signs of fermentation a couple of hours later. Lots of trub in the fermenter. Should be a good one.

20/11/2012 – Bottled using 140g glucose (18.5 litres at 2.5 vol). I got 32 bottles out of this. I think I need to do some calibration of my fermenters. Never bothered taking an FG reading but I had half a bottle left over and it tasted fantastic. A lot more piney/dank than I was expecting. I was expecting it to be all about the tropical fruit but there’s definitely a lot of cattiness coming through. Is this from the small additions of Columbus and Chinook, or has the Citra contributed this? I’ve heard that Citra can get quite catty when used for bittering, but all my Citra went in as late additions. In any case, I think this is going to be a great pale ale.

08/12/2012 – The biggest surprise for me yet as a homebrewer when I opened this beer after only 2½ weeks after bottling and found an amazing beer. Most beers I’ve made in the past have needed much more conditioning time than this. Fantastic hoppiness and firm bitterness but nicely balanced. I think the Munich is adding a certain maltiness too. The aroma is all about mangoes and other tropical fruit (from the Citra), but there’s a huge blast of Amarillo citrus there too.

29/12/2012 – Only a few bottles left and it’s a real winner. The tropical fruit has dissipated somewhat, but there’s about ten tonnes of grapefruit in this bad boy. Could this be from the late addition of Chinook? Randy Mosher has a recipe which recommends such a late addition to add a real grapefruit flavour. I like the way the Munich comes across in this and I like the level of crystal malt sweetness which really does make the hops pop.

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