Posts Tagged 'american pale ale'

AG#54 – Whamarillo Pale Ale


In my bid to do some new beer styles and experiment with new techniques in 2016, I’ve decided to do my first ever SMaSH beer. SMaSH is a home brewers term meaning “Single Malt and Single Hop”. It’s a way of keeping a recipe simple in order to taste a variety of malt and hops in an unadulterated way. It’s an interesting technique, though it has me worried as I tend to go a little complicated when it comes to recipes. Particularly with hops, where I love the complexity that comes with using 2 or 3 complimentary hop varieties in the same beer.

The decision on which malt and hops to use in this beer is driven by practical reasons. I’ve at least 30kg of Munton’s Maris Otter malt, some of it past its prime, so I’m going to use some of it up in this recipe. I’ve several hops varieties in the fridge at the moment, but I’m going to use Amarillo here, which will give the beer some fantastic citrus flavours.

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 27.92 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.92 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.056 SG
Estimated Color: 10.8 EBC
Estimated IBU: 52.8 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 72.6 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


5.600 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter, Muntons (6.5 EBC, 100.0 %
15 g Amarillo [10.90 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 21.3 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
50 g Amarillo [10.90 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 14.2 IBUs
51 g Amarillo [9.90 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 10 mins, 10.2 IBUs
34 g Amarillo [10.90 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 10 mins, 7.2 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) (400ml slurry from Harvest Pale Ale)
100 g Amarillo [8.80 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days, 0.0 IBUs
Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.600 kg
Mash In Add 15.68 l of water at 71.2 C 65.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 18.35l) of 77.0 C water

28/02/2016 Brew Day – Runoff extremely slow from the mash tun, which I thought was to do with the fact that I hadn’t charged the drill fully and had to crush the grain in stages. I think the grain wasn’t quite as crushed as usual, but not sure. Wort was really clear, but I had to exercise serious patience to let the wort run off fully. I ended with the full pre-boil volume, so I tried to watch the boiler like a hawk. It was a close thing at times. Hops weren’t the freshest, but I was determined to use them, as they’re so expensive. Smells nice in the fermenter anyway. Pitched a yeast cake from the Harvest Pale Ale. It’s surprising how much colour you can get out of this pale malt. Target OG was low at 1.050 – 1.052.

13/03/2016 – Racked to secondary and dry hopped with a metric shitload of Amarillo. Well, 100g to be exact. But as dry hops go, that’s quite a lot, especially in one go.

14/03/2016 – The smell from the fermenter is absolutely amazing. Really intense. I’m going to have to remove the hop bag and leaving the beer to settle for a few days, as I think there is going to be a lot of fine hop matter in there.

20/03/2016 – Bottled with 112g corn sugar (17 litres @ 2.5 vol). Got 12 x 750ml and 12 x 500ml bottles from the batch. Lots of sediment in the secondary fermenter from the massive dry hop.

AG#16 – Monkey Feet Pale Ale


The search continues for my “go-to” pale ale recipe and one that is worthy of the title “Monkey Feet”. For this attempt I want to use some of the lessons learned during the design of my Galway Hooker clone. Namely, a simple grain bill and restrained use of crystal malts to obtain a biscuity flavour rather than an overwhelming caramel flavour.

I’ve tried being restrained on hop additions in the past and it just doesn’t work for me. I just like hops, that’s the way it is. So I’m going to load this beer with mountains of Cascade and Mosaic, the latter being a variety I’ve never used before. Going to use massive flameout additions to give plenty of flavour and aroma. Will give the dry-hop a miss this time.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 25.40 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.050 SG
Estimated Color: 14.1 EBC
Estimated IBU: 39.8 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 71.1 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


4.500 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (4.8 EBC), 89.1 %
0.300 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC), 5.9 %
0.250 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (118.2 EBC), 5.0 %
7 g Columbus [15.90 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 16.3 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
50 g Mosaic [11.50 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 16.8 IBUs
25 g Amarillo [10.10 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 6.7 IBUs
50 g Mosaic [11.50 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
25 g Amarillo [10.10 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) (fresh sachet)

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.050 kg
Mash In  Add 13.17 l of water at 75.7 C   68.9 C 45 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (4.84l, 12.95l) of 75.6 C water

14/06/2014 – Brewed. Had lots of problems try to separate the wort from the break material and hops. Even though I used hop bags during the brew. I suspect I might be using too much Irish moss, or adding it at the wrong time. Lately, I have been adding it at 15 mins instead of 10 mins. Might have something to do with it.

I really fecked up this beer because I got much more evaporation loss than usual. Lately I’ve been thinking that I’m not getting enough kettle caramelisation from the boil along with a lack of malt character. So today I tried boiling harder – cycling my second element on and off. By doing so, I only got 15 litres into the fermenter.

24/06/2014 – Even though the fermentation has long died off, the smell from the FV is amazing – huge fruity hop aroma. Mosaic seems to be doing the trick. Might end up being a fantastic pairing with Amarillo.

27/06/2014 – Bottled with 93g of glucose (because I was only bottling about 15 litres). Got 27 bottles from the batch. Great aroma. Little light on malt flavour though?

10/07/2014 – Wasn’t really expecting this to taste great at this early stage, but it’s pretty nice. Nice tropical fruit flavours from the hops. The sweetness is a bit cloying, but I think this would age out slightly if left to cold-condition for a bit. Need to leave a bottle in the fridge for a few days.

21/07/2014 – Pretty pleased with this given the less than ideal fermentation temperatures. Great hop flavours and aroma but it could do with being a bit more bitter and the malt flavours are a little cloying. I might consider leaving the specialty malts as they ate, but reducing the base malt to give a lower ABV.

AG#11 – Chasing Tail Pale Ale



Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 24.88 l
Post Boil Volume: 22.88 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.059 SG
Estimated Color: 11.0 EBC
Estimated IBU: 52.7 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 69.5 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


1.00 tsp Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins)
4.500 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC), 75.0 %
1.000 kg Vienna Malt (6.9 EBC), 16.7 %
0.250 kg Cara-Pils/Dextrine (3.9 EBC), 4.2 %
0.250 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC), 4.2 %
22 g Chinook [13.80 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 40.8 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
57 g Amarillo [7.80 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 11.9 IBUs
41 g Citra [14.80 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
28 g Centennial [10.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
20 g Chinook [13.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
19 g Simcoe [13.20 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 6.000 kg
Mash In Add 16.80 l of water at 74.6 C 68.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun, , 14.59l) of 77.0 C water

28/03/2014 Brew Day – Mash temp 67.5C. Used a couple of hop bags on this batch but still ended up with a stuck runoff and a lot of break material entering the fermenter. Recorded an OG of 1.064, so this is going to come out a little bit stronger than expected.

12/04/2014 – Bottled with 130g of dextrose (17.5 itres @ 2.6 vol). Got 12 x 750ml bottles and 14 x 500ml bottles from the batch. Abolsutely amazing smell from the fermenter – toasty and really fruity. Very high hopes for this recipe and suspect it could become my default pale ale recipe.

02/05/2014 – Probably a bit early for a taste, but it was in the fridge and I couldn’t help myself. Pretty good, but a bit immature. Jammy. Great hop flavours, very catty, but that’s not a bad thing. Surprising how much sweetness is there, considering there’s absolutely no crystal malt in it.Even at this early stage, there’s great head formation, really silky. Really nice colour, but not as pale as I expected. A little less Vienna next time? Hazy, but not hugely so.Plenty of tropical fruit and cattiness on the nose. Needs more bitterness perhaps, as the sweetness is very prominent.

16/05/2014 – Wow, this is really shaping up, but should be even better in a week or two. Really dank and hoppy. Lots of sweetness there still, but I wanted the beer to be a lot drier. I will try reducing the gravity on this the next time and I might drop the CaraPils, just in case that is contributing some of the sweetness I’m getting. I might also drop the Vienna malt slightly.

21/05/2014 – The combination of CaraPils and wheat malt has produced a fantastic pillow of a head, with great lacing on the glass. I think I’d definitely do this combination on any future IPAs, but I suspect the CaraPils is contributing a bit more body than I actually want in an IPA. But maybe this was caused by the mash temperature? Great hop aroma and flavours. Quite hazy. I think it needs more bitterness.

AG#9 – Grapefruit Moon Pale Ale




Boil Size: 24.88 l
Post Boil Volume: 22.88 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.051 SG
Estimated Color: 12.9 EBC
Estimated IBU: 35.9 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 69.5 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


4.170 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC), 82.2 %
0.300 kg Biscuit Malt (45.3 EBC), 5.9 %
0.300 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC), 5.9 %
0.300 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (3.9 EBC), 5.9 %
25 g Cascade [7.40 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 27.7 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
15 g Cascade [7.40 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 3.3 IBUs
15 g Centennial [10.90 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 4.9 IBUs
25 g Centennial [10.90 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
6 g Cascade [7.40 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) (400ml slurry from Galway Slapper Ale)

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.070 kg
Mash In           Add 14.20 l of water at 74.6 C          68.0 C        60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun, , 16.26l) of 77.0 C water

02/03/2014 – Brew day, got slightly less than usual volume (about 18.5l) into the fermenter, but OG was spot-on. Less than 100g of hops in this recipe, so I had no trouble draining off the wort and got a pretty clear wort. Strange thing was, there was still a lot of flecks of cold break, despite leaving it for ages in the boiler before transfer to FV. Huge amount of foam in FV before pitching yeast.

03/03/2014 – Massive overspill from the FV!! Could it be the wheat malt. I really didn’t expect this from a moderate gravity beer that is being fermented in the coldest room in the house. The only thing I can think of is that I must have massively overpitched the yeast. Seems to have calmed down now. Will monitor for a couple of days.

17/03/2014 – Bottled with 120g glucose (18 litres @ 2.5 vol), but got only 34 bottles from the batch (17 litres). Great beery, grainy smell from the fermenter. Looks quite murky though.

15/04/2014 – First taste, not too bad. Tastes a tiny bit yeasty at first, then it settles down a bit and some of the toasty, grainy flavour comes through. I’d say (hope) it will improve with another couple of weeks conditioning. Although I was trying not to make a hop bomb, I can’t help thinking “needs more hops”. Old habits die hard. Level of crystal malt is nice, lots of spiky bitterness poking through. Very dry finish.

19/04/2014 – The bottle I’m tasting at the moment is markedly better than the one I tasted only 4 days ago. Crisp and malty, but with a lovely residual sweetness to balance the assertive hop bitterness. Hops coming through quite nicely, but it’s not a hop bomb. This is the kind of beer I can’t wait to have on tap. Think I might have found my regular pale ale recipe.

AG#8 – Galway Slapper Irish Pale Ale


Galway Hooker was probably the first “Irish” pale ale I tasted when I was just beginning to get into craft beer. I gave up on it for a couple of years as more hoppy pale ales came onto the Irish market and I chased more aggressive hop bombs. But I’ve recently got back into “Hooker” in a big way. I’ve come to appreciate “balance” in beer a lot more since I first embarked on this journey, and and “balance” is one thing that Hooker has in spades. It boasts a fantastic interplay of caramel sweetness and restrained hop bitterness, with the eclectic combination of hops (English Goldings & First Gold, Czech Saaz and American Cascade) lending the beer a unique and intriguing hop flavour and aroma. The level of crystal malt is fantastically judged, giving a beer a hint of toastiness that complements the other flavours so well. It’s a wonderful beer and one that Irish craft aficionados should be very proud of.

I haven’t done a lot of clone recipes in the past, but I just had to try a clone of Galway Hooker after tasting an excellent home-brewed version by one of the lads from the National Homebrew Club. I’ll be using his recipe as a guide with some adjustments based on comments that I’ve read on various homebrew forums and information I’ve gleaned from the excellent (though slightly outdated at this stage) book “Beer & Cider in Ireland: The Complete Guide” by Iowerth Griffiths.

I don’t normally have any use for First Gold hops, so I’ve done some creative substitution with a fresh bag of Fuggles. I’ve got a fresh bag of Saaz for the 5-minute addition and lots of Cascade hanging around in my fridge for that final flameout addition which contributes so much to the flavour of Galway Hooker. The grain bill includes a fair percentage of wheat malt and judicious use of Crystal 60, which gives the beer that characteristic colour and caramel flavour. I’m really going for it by using Pearl as my base malt, the same base malt used in Galway Hooker. Though, I only have 3kg of it, so I’ll be supplementing the grist with Maris Otter.


Boil Size: 25.38 l
Post Boil Volume: 22.88 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.045 SG
Estimated Color: 12.5 EBC
Estimated IBU: 40.9 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 69.5 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


3.000 kg Pale Malt, Pearl  (5.0 EBC), 64.2 %
1.200 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (4.8 EBC), 25.7 %
0.300 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC), 6.4 %
0.175 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (118.2 EBC), 3.7 %
24 g Fuggles [4.30 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 15.4 IBUs
24 g Goldings, East Kent [6.90 %] – Boil 60.0 Hop, 22.5 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
25 g Saaz [4.80 %] – Boil 5.0 min, 3.0 IBUs
35 g Cascade [5.50 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 4.675 kg
Mash In           Add 13.09 l of water at 74.6 C          68.0 C        60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun, , 17.47l) of 77.0 C water

06/02/2014 – Mashed at 66.4C, a good bit lower than my target temperature of 68C. Mash started to stick and I ended up re-stirring and recirculating the last few litres out of the mash tun. Not sure what caused this – I was using 100% pre-crushed malt, so the grind won’t have been the problem. I was also using some aluminium foil tp prevent the grain bed from being disturbed when I recirculated the first mash runnings. I got only 24 litres at a pre-boil gravity of 1.040, so rather than accepting a lower volume, I topped up the pre-boil to the target 25 litres and aded 150g of light spraymalt. Completely unscientific, but hopefully I will hit my target OG.

Update: I wasn’t expecting problems running the wort from the boiler, but the trub and hops clogged up the bazooka screen again! I also got an actual OG of 1.050!! I shouldn’t have added so much spraymalt after all. So it’s going to be a bit of a turbo-charged Galway Hooker clone.

22/02/2014 – Bottled with 125g of glucose and got 33 bottles from the batch. Aroma from the beer is very good and distinctly hooker-like.

17/03/2014 – First taste. not bad, tastes a little young. I was expecting it to be in perfect condition after nearly 4 weeks in the bottle though. The colour is a little light, and it doesn’t have that toasty aroma that’s so prevalent in Galway Hooker. It seems that there’s more crystal malt needed? I was concerned that I had too much flavour & aroma hops in the beer but they actually don’t seem that prominent. Though admittedly, it’s hard to judge a beer when it’s immature. Head retention is not bad, carbonation level good. Promising, but no dice yet. At least another 2 weeks conditioning needed here. [Update: getting closer to the end of the glass – that toastiness is there in both the aroma and flavour; it’s just masked by those immature flavours at the moment, I think.

02/03/2014 – Very disappointed with this. I can’t for the life of me figure out why this still tastes so immature after 5 weeks in the bottle. It still tastes yeasty. It had plenty of time to cold-condition in the shed, given the temperatures out there at the moment. This being a clone beer, I’ll be very interested in doing a side-by-side tasting with the real thing. Though I have to give the homebrew at least another couple of weeks to make sure it’s full conditioned. So ,the faults… there’s not enough of that toasty flavour in the beer.  I suspect it’s not quite dark enough. The American hop character is not shining. This all points to more crystal malt and Cascade hops. Some more patience required, perhaps.

12/04/2014 – This is pretty pants, I have to say. Doing a side-by-side tasting with the real thing, and it doesn’t stack up very well. It’s inexplicably yeasty still. And it’s hard to get any aroma off it. the colour seems spot-on, though the Galway Hooker is filtered, and so it sparklingly clear. I’ve almost given up on this becoming good. Though I think a re-brew is in order. Not sure what I’d change about the recipe. The Hooker seems toastier, but I don’t want to use any more C60 as there’s already plenty of colour and residual sweetness in the beer. Maybe using 100% Maris Otter might be the key. I definitely won’t be using a fresh sachet of US-05.

PM#14 – Monkey Feet Pale Ale


If I had to pick one favourite style of beer it would be the classic American Pale Ale. Hands down. It’s generally a mid-gravity beer, allowing the brewer to showcase a wide variety of citrussy American hops against a nice malty backbone. I’ve brewed several APAs at this stage and I’ve enjoyed all of them, though my recipe still has plenty of room for improvement. They always seem just a little too bitter or too dry for my liking. It’s generally thought that a dry APA is better as it accentuates the hop flavour, but I disagree. I like my APAs to have a little more caramel flavour and mouthfeel. I think this stands up better to the level of hopping I like in a pale ale.

My recipes for APA are improving all the time though, I think. I think the challenge, especially if you like really hoppy pale ales as I do, is to keep the bitterness restrained. But it’s sometimes hard to use a lot of high-alpha hops for flavour and aroma and not draw significant IBUs from late additions. On my session pale ale, I experimented with hop-bursting. This technique dispenses with the 60-minute bittering addition altogether and you get all your bitterness from the late (15 minutes or less) additions. I was a bit nervous of doing this the first time, but there was no need to worry. The resulting beer was plenty bitter.

My last attempt was a “leftovers” I brewed last Christmas, which turned out to be the best pale ale yet. It had a little extra maltiness from Munich malt and some CaraPils for body and head retention. The hoppinh was a bit of a mish-mash, as befits a leftovers beer. This recipe will use a classic hop pairing of Simcoe and Amarillo, a combination recommended by Stone Brewing’s Mitch Steele in a recent interview with James Spencer of Basic Brewing. Despite using Simcoe a few times before (mainly in my kit days) and using bucketloads of expensive Amarillo over the last couple of years, it’s a pairing I’ve not used before. I can see why the comination of the two would work though – Amarillo is very fruity and citrussy. Simcoe has lots of grapefruit going on, but it’s also a bit dank and piney. Nice.

I’m keeping the recipe simple by using equal percentages of light crystal, medium crystal, Munich, wheat and CaraPils. 400g of crystal malt is the most I’ve ever put in a 1.050 pale ale, but I think it will get me closer to my idea of a perfect pale ale.


Boil Size: 13.00 l
Post Boil Volume: 11.00 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 19.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.051 SG
Estimated Color: 9.0 SRM
Estimated IBU: 36.3 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 55.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 55.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


2.000 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM),46.5 %
0.200 kg Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM), 4.7 %
0.200 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 15L (15.0 SRM), 4.7 %
0.200 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM), 4.7 %
0.200 kg Munich Malt (9.0 SRM), 4.7 %
0.200 kg Wheat, Torrified (1.7 SRM), 4.7 %
0.100 kg Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM),2.3 %
3 g Columbus [13.30 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 6.2 IBUs
1.200 kg Light Dry Extract [Boil for 20 min](8.0 SRM), 27.9 %
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
15 g Amarillo [11.20 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 4.7 IBUs
15 g Simcoe [13.20 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 5.6 IBUs
15 g Amarillo [11.20 %] – Boil 5.0 min, 3.9 IBUs
15 g Simcoe [13.20 %] – Boil 5.0 min, 4.6 IBUs
15 g Amarillo [11.20 %] – Boil 1.0 min, 3.9 IBUs
15 g Simcoe [13.20 %] – Boil 1.0 min, 4.6 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)
15 g Amarillo [11.20 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days, 0.0 IBUs
15 g Simcoe [13.20 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days, 0.0 IBUs

Brew Day 26/05/2013 – My gravity was absolutely spot-on, despite a huge amount of hop material. My hop timings were a little off though, because I wasn’t paying enough attention. My 10-minute addition went in a couple of minutes late, so I set the clock back to 10 minutes. This will theoretically alter the amount of IBUs I got from my 60-minute addition. But I also put my 1-minute addition in a little late, so maybe it will all balance out. I did some sieving this time to remove those pesky hop seeds which plagued my siphoning of my American brown ale a few weeks ago.

03/06/2013 – Dry-hopped with 15g of Simcoe and 15g of Amarillo using a muslin bag weighed down with about 30g of glass marbles.

09/06/2013 – Bottled with 130g of glucose. Got 33 x 500ml bottles out of the batch. No problems.

26/06/2013 – This is definitely due for it’s first sampling. I might open a bottle at the weekend. At room temperature, it is absolutely sparkling in the bottle.

28/06/2013 – First taste and it’s pretty rubbish. There’s a sharpness there I’m not happy with. There’s also a slightly Belgian quality that I’m tasting. Could it be an infection or just an immature beer? I bottled the “Pie-O-My” last night which was fermented with the yeast slurry from this beer and that I suspected that had a rather sharp flavour to it, not to mention visual evidence of an infection. There was a few flecks of white film on top, but I’m not sure whether this was just from yeast or dry hops. Rather worrying.

29/06/2013 – Curiosity got the better of me on this and I cracked open another one, just to check if it was my tastebuds that were off yesterday. Happily, it seems that my tastebuds were off after having a big glass of Double IPA. This beer isn’t half bad after all, and I can’t pick up any trace of infection. At least in the bottle I opened today. It’s not got the mouthfeel I was was hoping for, even though it’s not bad. Maybe I need more crystal? The torrified wheat doesn’t seem to have done much in terms of the head retention; I’m not sure if I’ll be using this grain again as it was pretty ineffectual in the last beer I used it in too. There’s a great fruity, citrus flavour to it and a nice aroma. It should taste better after aging for another week or two.

02/07/2013 – Had a nicely chilled bottle of this. It’s nearly a month in the bottle but it’s got a slight off flavour which reminds me of immature beer. But it could also be an off flavour due to high fermentation temperature. A little estery possibly.

BIAB#4 – Downtown Train Pale Ale


I really enjoyed making my first all-grain beers, a series of English ales. Using the BIAB method I made two special bitters and a mild, rolling over the yeast cake from one batch to the next. At 4% ABV they are very refreshing and make a nice change from the somewhat larger beers I was brewing at the end of 2012. Each very different beers but using very similar ingredients. I’ve enjoyed drinking them, though I think the S-04 yeast let me down a bit and they scored respectably in the recent competition, though nothing earth shattering.

2013 is going to be the year of the session beer, I think. I recently hunted high and low for a bottle of Brewdog’s “Dead Pony Club”, a 3.8% heavily-hopped pale ale. It isn’t available from the usual Brewdog stockists and I’m still dying to try it. You have to love BrewDog. Like a lot of craft beer enthusiasts, I hate their bolshy (and hopelessly unoriginal) marketing, but you can’t fault the product. The beers are a hop lovers dream, packed with flavour using mostly trendy American and New Zealand varieties like Nelson Sauvin, Ahtanum, Motueka and Amarillo. For a long time, I was under the false impression that a heavily hopped beer necessitated a high gravity and a high level of bitterness, but that isn’t so. Dead Pony Club is by all accounts a cuddly little hop-monster with a reported bitterness rating of only 25 IBU. So challenged by someone to make a low-alcohol pale ale, I’m using Dead Pony Club as a template, even though I haven’t tasted there beer. The BrewDog tells us that the hops used are Citra, Simcoe and HBC. I don’t have any HBC (reported to be Mosaic) so I’ll just be using lots of Simcoe and Citra. The website also hints at using plenty of caramel malts to provide mouthfeel in what is a fairly light-bodied beer.

Mash & Brew Day 09/03/2013 – I doughed in at 73.5°C and settled on a mash temperature of 67.5°C. I probably would have done better to have mashed at 70°C which would have left more dextrins in the wort and thus provided a bit more body, but I’m happy enough with that. The temperature had dropped to 65° after 30 mins so I applied some heat to get it back up to 67.5°C. I sparged in a different way this time. I had treated 17 litres of water in total and I decanted about 5 litres into the smaller brewpot, leaving 12 litres to do the mash with. When the time came to sparge, I gave the grain bag a small squeeze over the large mash pot and transferred the bag to a clean 15 litre fermenter. I then poured the 5 litres of water from the small brewpot over it and stirred to mix in the grain. The mixture was looser than I expected. Even the lid from the large brewpot fits perfectly into the 15 litre FV. I left it to steep for about 5 or 10 minutes and got some nice sugary wort from the sparge.

It seemed really strange not to be using a traditional 60-minute bittering addition, but I fought off the urge to make a last-minute change to the hop bill and sling some Magnum in there at 60 mins. I held off until the 10 minute mark to do my first hop addition. I did make one unplanned change though – I decided to do a hop “stand” for 15 minutes at flameout in order to get maximum flavour and aroma plus a little bitterness from the late additions. If it works out, I’ll dispense with the hop stand next time. Sample tastes like it has plenty of bitterness so no worried there. The only problem is that once again, I have misjudged my efficiency because I was doing my sparging in a different way. I topped up a little to just under the 15 litre mark and I had an OG of 1.010! Bit more water into the fermenter so.


Boil Size: 15.00 l
Post Boil Volume: 13.00 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 15.00 l
Bottling Volume: 15.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.039 SG
Estimated Color: 7.2 SRM
Estimated IBU: 26.0 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 55.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 55.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


  • 2.550 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) 73.8 %
  • 0.340 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 15L (15.0 SRM) 9.8 %
  • 0.225 kg Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM) 6.5 %
  • 0.225 kg Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) 6.5 %
  • 0.115 kg Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM) 3.3 %
  • 0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
  • 10 g Citra [14.80 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 6.7 IBUs
  • 10 g Simcoe [13.20 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 5.5 IBUs
  • 15 g Citra [14.80 %] – Boil 1.0 min, 7.3 IBUs
  • 15 g Simcoe [13.20 %] – Boil 1.0 min, 6.5 IBUs
  • 15 g Citra [14.80 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
  • 15 g Simcoe [13.20 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
  • 1 pkg Safale US-05
  • 15 g Citra [14.80 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days, 0.0 IBUs
  • 15 g Simcoe [13.20 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days, 0.0 IBUs


18/03/2013 – Dry-hopped with 15g of Simcoe and 15g of Citra. Beer has completely fermented and yeast has flocced out. Coincidentally, I also picked up several bottles of “Dead Pony Club” today, but I have tasted them yet. How will the “clone” stand up against it?!

22/03/2013 – Bottled using 85g dextrose. Nightmare bottling session (along with Black Widow stout) where it took an absolute age to siphon into bottling bucket. Due to the huge amount of trub in the primary FV. I’ll have too look into some way of removing trub now that I’m mashing much larger amounts of grain. Still happy to get 24 bottles from the batch. Saved a thin yeast slurry into two flasks.

03/03/2013 – First taste and all I can say is “wow”! You’d never think this was such a low ABV beer – plenty of body and decent head retention. Absolutely bags of tropical and grapefruit flavours. It’s perhaps lacking a little character in the malt department so I might increase the Munich and/or biscuit malt next time. Or perhaps use some crystal 40 instead of the CaraMalt, for a little more character. The crystal sweetness might be a little too prominent for such a low level of bitterness, I’m not sure. I think the recipe needs further tweaking, but I’d be inclined to increase the bitterness slightly rather than reduce the amount of crystal malt which will affect the nice mouth-feel the beer has.

I’ll be doing a side-by-side comparison with Dead Pony Club in a few days; maybe even a blind tasting with my “chief taster”! 🙂

04/03/2013 – Here’s the adjustments I’m going to do on this beer next time:

0.275 kg Crystal 40, 0.225 kg Cara-Pils, 0.3 kg Munich Malt, 0.15 kg Biscuit Malt

I’ve reduced the crystal malt just slightly and used a higher lovibond crystal. I’ll also increase the IBU slightly to 30.

11/04/2013 – As has happened in the past, I’m now in two minds about this beer. I had a bottle last night and while I still think it’s a decent beer, it’s definitely a little one-dimensional in terms of malt complexity. Lacking flavour. The trouble is, I don’t know if it can be fixed by increasing the amount of specialty malts. I suspected it was because of the low gravity, but there are lots of low-gravity beers out there that pack a punch in terms of flavour. Perhaps the neutral US-05 is the wrong yeast to use in a beer like this. I could increase the amount of Munich and biscuit malts, but who knows what I’d end up with then. The only way to know is by re-brewing this with the Crystal 40 instead of the CaraMalt, and adjusting the Munich and biscuit. The hop character is great. I’m also in two minds about the bitterness level aswell. On further tasting, I think the bitterness might be spot-on for the gravity. I’ll do the side by side tasting with “Dead Pony Club” at the weekend in an attempt to improve the recipe. I’m not really aiming for a clone here, but I want to see how the various elements of my beer (malt flavour, bitterness, mouth-feel) stack up against a well-regarded commercial ale.

12/04/2013 – Appearance: Not much difference in colour, pleasant copper colour. Strange that I managed to get a very similar match on colour without having even seen a picture of Dead Pony Club. I pored two samples of each beer into different sized wine glasses; the sample in the larger glass is showing the clone to be a shade darker. The differences are not so noticeable in the smaller glass. The clone also seems just a little hazier. Pretty happy with appearance.

Aroma: Big difference. The hop aroma is more pronounced in the DPC. And the lack of HBC is also contributing to the aroma differences I’m sure. But the DPC also has a caramel aroma that the clone lacks.

Taste: Tasted clone first; big hop flavor, light-medium body, prominent bitterness. Tasting DPC, there’s more caramel flavor, probably darker crystal malts as I suspected. The aroma of the DPC is much more pronounced than the clone when actually tasting the beer. On further tasting the hop character is quite different – there’s an oily, resiny character to the hops in the DPC that isn’t there in the clone. The hop bitterness seems slightly harsher in the clone.

Mouth-feel: More body in the DPC, but that was to be expected. Gentler carbonation than the clone too.

Overall Impression: Not bad for a first clone attempt, considering I’d never tasted nor seen the original. The DPC is more satisfying – chewier mouth-feel, more malt aroma, more balance between body and bitterness.

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%)


  • 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.

EX#6 – Holy Trinity Pale Ale

Category: American Pale Ale
Recipe Type: Extract
Batch Size: 19 L
Volume Boiled: 12 L
Mash Efficiency: 72 %
Total Grain/Extract: 2.90 kg
Total Hops: 90.0 g

Original Gravity: 1.051 (1.045 – 1.060)
Terminal Gravity: 1.012 (1.010 – 1.015)
Color: 7.86 °SRM (5.00 – 14.00 °SRM)
Bitterness: 44.2 IBU (30.00 – 45.00 IBU)
ABV: 5.2 % (4.50 – 6.00 %)


  • 0.3 kg     Crystal 30
  • 0.15 kg Cara-Pils Malt
  • 1.1 kg Dry Light Malt Extract
  • 1.2 kg Dry Light Malt Extract (late addition 15 mins)
  • 0.15 kg Dry Wheat Malt Extract
  • 10 g Cascade (Whole, 5.50 %AA) boiled 60 min.
  • 10 g Citra (Whole, 12.00 %AA) boiled 60 min.
  • 10 g Amarillo (Whole, 8.50 %AA) boiled 60 min.
  • 10 g Cascade (Whole, 5.50 %AA) boiled 15 min.
  • 10 g Citra (Whole, 12.00 %AA) boiled 15 min.
  • 10 g Amarillo (Whole, 8.50 %AA) boiled 15 min.
  • 5g Cascade (Whole, 5.50 %AA) boiled 5 min
  • 5g Citra (Whole, 12.00 %AA) boiled 5 min
  • 5g Amarillo (Whole, 8.50 %AA) boiled 5 min
  • 10 g Cascade (Whole, 5.50 %AA) used as dry hop.
  • 10 g Citra (Whole, 12.00 %AA) used as dry hop.
  • 10 g Amarillo (Whole, 8.50 %AA) used as dry hop.
  • 0.5 ea. Whirlfloc Tablets(15 mins)
  • Yeast: Fermentis US-05 Safale US-05

Brewed 01/04/2012.
Targets: OG: 1052, FG: 1013, IBU: 40, SRM: 7, ABV: 5.1%
Bottled: 17/04/2011
Primed to 2.5 volumes using 150g dextrose.

EX#5 – Jamil’s American Pale Ale

Slightly disappointed by my first extract brews, I purchased Jamil Zainasheff’s “Brewing Classic Styles”. This is my first attempt from the book.

Category: American Pale Ale
Recipe Type: Extract
Batch Size: 19 L
Volume Boiled: 10 L
Mash Efficiency: 72 %
Total Grain/Extract: 2.94 kg
Total Hops: 75.0 g

Original Gravity: 1.053 (1.045 – 1.060)
Terminal Gravity: 1.012 (1.010 – 1.015)
Color: 8.48 °SRM (5.00 – 14.00 °SRM)
Bitterness: 41.0 IBU (30.00 – 45.00 IBU)
ABV: 5.4 % (4.50 – 6.00 %)


  • 0.34 kg Crystal 30
  • 1.1 kg     Dry Light Malt Extract
  • 1.5 kg     Dry Light Malt Extract (late addition 15 mins)
  • 19 g Chinook (Whole, 13.00 %AA) boiled 60 min.
  • 28 g Amarillo (Whole, 8.50 %AA) boiled 15 min.
  • 28 g Amarillo (Whole, 8.50 %AA) boiled 5 min.
  • 0.5 ea. Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) (15 mins) (not included in calculations)
  • Yeast: Fermentis Safale US-05

Targets: OG: 1052, FG: 1013, IBU: 40, SRM: 7, ABV: 5.1%
Actual OG: 1012
Bottled: 19/02/2012
Primed to 2.2 volumes using 115g dextrose.

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