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Batch 35: American Pale Ale

After a couple of problematic previous batches, I needed to right the ship.  I bought some heavy duty cleaning detergent from my LHBS, and cleaned every piece of equipment that I use.  In hindsight, should have done that a long, long time ago.  I was under the impression that sanitization was the most important thing to think about.  Turns out, any little bit of film or residue that doesn’t come off with a rinse or a soak can also contaminate your beer.  Clean AND Sanitize.  Now I know.

Over the last few batches, I’d accumulated a lot of leftover hops.  The idea for this batch was to make a beer to get rid of some of them, without going to wild.  I’m still searching for my favorite IPA or Pale base, so I aimed a lot lighter on this one.  American 2-row base with a mix of 10L & 40L crystal malts.  Heavy on this Citra and Cascade hops late in the boil, I was hoping to get quite a bit of flavor & aroma from both.

Ingredients:  Grizzly Tears APA

All-Grain Recipe

  • 10 lb American 2-row
  • 3 oz. – Crystal 60
  • 8 oz. – Crystal 10
  • 2 tsp. – 5.2 pH Stabilizer
  • 1 Tablet – Whirfloc – added to during boil, boiled 10 min

Hop Additions

  • .5 oz. – Tomahawk (16.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .9 oz Citra (10.3%) – added during boil, boiled 5 min
  • 1 oz Cascade (5.5%) – added during boil, boiled 0 min

Yeast

  • WYeast 1056 American Ale.  New smack pack.

Additional Details / Notes

  • SG 1.046 / FG 1.008
  • 4.96% ABV | Color: 6.1 °SRM | 37.8 IBU’s
  • Brewed 10/23/11, Secondary 11/05/2011, Kegged 11/12/2011
  • Temps: ~150° Mash, 75° Pitch Yeast,  ~63° in Primary, ~70° Secondary

Brewing the American Pale Ale

This batch went pretty smooth.  My mash started out a little cooler than I’d wanted at 150°, but I kept adding small amounts of boiling water throughout.  Final temp was about 148°  I heated 5 gallons of sparge water to 165°, draining about 7 gallons to my brew pot.

Nothing exciting about the boil.  I generally let the pot boil 15-30 minutes before adding hops, then make my additions accordingly.  I add the wort chiller and whirfloc with 10 minutes to go in the boil.  After the boil, my wort chiller is hooked up to the outdoor hose (when it’s not frozen).  Winter in MT is an easy time to cool a pot if it’s about 35° outside.  I cooled the boil pot to 80° before straining it in to my fermenting bucket.

By the time I added 40 seconds of oxygen and pitched the yeast, my final temp settled in at 75°.

Due to impatience, I sped up the processing time on this batch.  2 weeks in the primary, 1 week in the secondary, then bottled.

Drinking the Grizzly Tears APA

I drink Pale Ales and IPA’s.  It stands to reason that I’d like to brew those styles for myself, but in three years of brewing I’d yet to make one I truly enjoyed.  I’ve made a couple that were fine, and a few that were awful, but none I’d even call good.  This batch finally changed things for me.  I’d finally made a hoppy beer that didn’t get too bitter.  The body is light and crisp, and the Citra hits you hard.  I may never be completely satisfied with a Pale that I made, but this one is by far the closest I’ve been.  I’ve been more than happy to share this one.

I’ve been a huge fan of Citra as a hop for a while, so it was great to make a nice beer with it.  I doubt I’ll repeat this batch exactly, but I’ll certainly come back to it for inspiration on future batches.

One thing to note about this one is that it didn’t age well.  This one was great out of the gate, but a few months later the few that are left aren’t very good anymore.  I can’t pin down exactly why, but it’s probably a lack of complexity in the grain bill.  Don’t be worried to drink this one fast.

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