Archive for the 'American Ale' Category

Apr 11 2008

American Amber Ale – Batch 2

Published by under American Ale,Homebrew

American Amber or Red Ale is definitely a West Coast classic, yet has a very wide interpretation. There are many commercial examples. Some that I think are similar to an ESB (or even called such), some with very complex malt profiles, and yet others that are closer to a somewhat darker interpretation of an IPA. Here is an attempt at not too complex of a grain bill, with perhaps a somewhat unique hop schedule. Will also attempt to reduce the attenuation (as compared to the Pale Ale) to balance out the slightly higher IBUs and accentuate the malt a bit more.

Follows is our recipe for 13.5 gallons of finished beer:

22.00 lb. American Two-row Pale Malt
2.50 lb. American Crystal 60L Malt
1.00 lb. American Victory Malt
0.50 lb. American Crystal 120L Malt
0.25 lb. American Chocolate Malt
(SRM ~ 14, target gravity 1.055)

1.00 oz. Newport 11.1% AA, 60 min.
2.00 oz. Amarillo 8.2% AA, 10 min.
2.00 oz. Columbus 12.0% AA, 5 min.
1.00 oz. Nugget (whole/leaf) 12.0% AA, Hop-back
1.00 oz. Amarillo (whole/leaf) 8.4% AA, Hop-back
1.00 oz. Nugget (whole/leaf) 12.0% AA, Dry hopped
1.00 oz. Amarillo (whole/leaf) 8.4% AA, Dry hopped
(IBU ~ 31)

2 vile WLP001 California ale yeast, 2000 ml. starter 24 hours on the stir plate

Straight forward single infusion mash:

alpha rest, target 155° F / recorded 156° F, 75 min.

The mash temperature is intentionally higher then Max Spargethe Pale Ale, to increase body and leave a little more residual (unfermented) sugar. The sweater finished beer should balance out the more aggressive hop schedule.

Do to the larger batch size and target gravity, batch sparging kind of pushed the limits of the mash tun. However, was able to collect about 15 gallons of sweat wort at around 1.053 Specific Gravity. This boiled down some during the 65 min. boil, and some lose in the hop back / crash cycle, was left with (again roughly) 13.5 gallons at an Original Specific Gravity of 1.058


Crashed the wort down to 72° F and pitched. There were some temperature control issues with this batch. The 10 day primary fermentation (reportedly) peaked out at 78° F, which may result in stronger (maybe fruity, or alcohol) flavors. Ready to RackThe two weeks of secondary conditioning were at a much more suitable 68° F. The dry hops being added in the last week / week and half. Final gravity coming down to 1.0145 Specific Gravity.

Racking beer off of free floating hops can be tricky, and has giving me a lot of trouble in the past. I need to post a picture, but I’ve found that one can slip the mesh lint traps found at your local home improvement stores (super cheap) over the business end of the racking cane. This strains the wort really great, with a very minimal amount of hop matter getting through to the keg.

Orig. Specific Gravity 1.058
Final Specific Gravity 1.015
Alcohol by Volume ~5.5 %

2 responses so far

Mar 01 2008

American Pale Ale – Batch 1

Published by under American Ale,Homebrew

Here is an attempt at not only a homebrewing standard, but a staple of American Micro Brews. The American Pale Ale, perhaps of the hoppier West Coast verity. It is a little funny to think that I have rarely (if ever) taken a stab at this style of beer, taking into consideration how much I enjoy drinking it. Will employ my homemade “hop-back” in an attempt to capture as much hop aroma as possible. Perhaps dry hop as well, but undecided at the formulation stage.

Follows is our recipe for 10 gallons of finished beer:

16.00 lb. American Two-row Pale Malt
1.50 lb. American Victory Malt
1.00 lb. American Crystal 40L Malt
0.25 lb. CaraPils Malt
(SRM ~ 7, target gravity 1.052)

0.50 oz. Cascade 6.3% AA, 60 min.
1.00 oz. Amarillo 8.2 % AA, 15 min.
1.00 oz. Cascade 6.3% AA, 15 min.
1.00 oz. Amarillo 8.2 % AA, 5 min.
1.00 oz. Cascade 6.3% AA, 5 min.
2.00 oz. Amarillo (whole/leaf) 8.4 % AA, Hop-back
(IBU ~ 29)

2 vile WLP001 California ale yeast, 1800 ml. starter two days on the stir plate

Straight forward single infusion mash:

alpha rest, target 153° F / recorded 153° F, 70 min.

Shooting for a somewhat lower temp. to promote fermentability, and hopefully a drier finish. Batch sparged, collecting about 12 gallons of sweet wort of 1.045 specific gravity. The mash started to stick a little on the last (third) draw. Starting to consider adding a small percentage of rice hulls to every mash from now on. Better safe then sorry I think.

The new improved hop-back:

The boil went pretty much as planned. Allowed about 10 minutes of rolling boil before starting the hop additions, for a total boil time of around 70 minutes. I don’t believe we had a boil over this session. Does that even count as a proper brew session then? Or, maybe we are starting to get a little better?


Anyway, here you can see the improved hop-back in action. A hop-back is a vessel that allows hot wort to come in contact with hops right before cold crashing, imparting mostly the aroma of hops. My previous design was more or less what you see in the picture, but the top was simply the original top of the mason jar, with the plumbing sort of glued in place. This was a compromise, for at the time of original construction was unable to locate a sheet of copper and rubber to fabricate a better lid and gasket. By chance, ran across a plumbing supply house in the city, and found every thing I needed. With the in and out pipes sweated in place this is a much more stable, sanitary, and air tight set up. It is so air tight in fact I think now I’ll need to add some kind of bleeder valve. For as you can see in the picture the wort never completely fills the jar, but only rises to the level of the output.


Had a little bit of an equipment failure (the kettle manifold fell off) so employed a bit less then perfectly sanitary procedure to collect the final gallon or so of wort (Orig. Specific Gravity 1.052). Also, pitched at what seems a rather low temperature, ~64° F. Though, good activity was observed after about a six or eight hour lag time. The temperature naturally rose and peaked at ~68° F. Racked to secondary after 1 week. Activity still seemed solid, and did not want the beer to dry out completely. Specific Gravity at 1.011. A little taste, seems more bitter then I expected and the “biscuity” flavor of the Victory malt too strong. The beer has some ways to go, but already thinking about adjustments for batch 2.

Orig. Specific Gravity 1.052
Final Specific Gravity 1.011
Alcohol by Volume ~5.3 %

2 responses so far