American Pale Ale – Recipe & Review

American Pale Ale brewed with Briess’ new Copper Carapils malt.

At this past year’s National Homebrewers Conference I had the chance to try a couple of beers showcasing Briess Malting’s new Carapils Copper malt. While it seems hard these days to get folks excited about anything that’s not over-the-top hoppy, sour, or barrel-aged, I was genuinely impressed by said beers. The malt had a subtle bready character backed up by a soft toasty quality that I found unique and appealing. While these descriptors sound pretty generic, this malt had a unique character that was subtle yet different from what I’d expect from similarly colored crystal or kilned malts.

Wanting to get a chance to use this malt—and eyeballing some leftover Mosaic hops in my freezer—I decided to formulate a hoppy pale ale that would perhaps test the specialty malt’s ability to stand out in an intensely hopped beer.

Cryo Hop Pale Ale Recipe

Size: 3.25 gal
Efficiency: 68%
Attenuation: 80.7%

Original Gravity: 1.055
Terminal Gravity: 1.010
Color: 11.46 SRM
Alcohol: 5.98% ABV
Bitterness: 30.6 IBU (does not account for whirlpool isomerization)

Malt Bill:
3.25 lbs. (40.6%) Briess 2-Row
3.25 lbs. (40.6%) Crisp Maris Otter
0.75 lbs. (9.4%) Weyermann Vienna
0.75 lbs. (9.4%) Briess Carapils Copper Malt

Mash Profile:
150°F – 60m

Water Treatment:
Extremely Soft NYC Water
3 g. Gypsum (to mash)
3 g. Calcium Chloride (to mash)

10 g. Warrior (16.2% AA) – 60m

16 g. Centennial (10.4% AA) – whirlpool 15m
33 g. Chinook (11.6% AA) – whirlpool 15m

80 g. Mosaic (12.8% AA) – dry hop 3 Days

Kettle Additions:
0.5 ea. Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – 15m
0.5 tsp. Wyeast Nutrient – 10m

Wyeast 1056 American Ale

Tasting Notes

Judged as a BJCP 18B American Pale Ale

Aroma (7/12):
Medium-plus hop nose with aromas reminiscent of pine resin, mango, and some pithy citrus. The hop is slightly grassy and vegetative. Beyond the hops lies a subtle malt toastiness that is trying to make itself known beneath the more boisterous hop components.

Appearance (3/3):
The beer is deeply golden, bordering on copper. There is just a whisper of haze, somewhat remarkable considering the amount of dry hop that went into the beer. There is a large white persistent head that leaves lacing all the way to the bottom of the glass.

Flavor (14/20):
The flavor showcases a very hop-forward balance heavy on pithy grapefruit, pine, and just a touch of tropical fruit. This beer illustrates the variability in character that is common with hops, especially for homebrewers and small commercial brewers that are unable to cherry pick their hop selections. My previous experiences with Mosaic were much more tropical and fruity than what I experienced with this beer. Beyond the hops lies a subtle malt character that has some intriguing toasted bread crust and biscuit flavors. There is not a whisper of caramel sweetness—something I try to avoid in my pale ales. There is a light minerality that intensifies the moderate amount of hop bitterness. The beer is very dry and balanced.

Mouthfeel (5/5):
The beer features a medium-to-low body. This is a crisp and refreshing beer. No hop astringency or other unpleasant mouthfeel components.

Overall Impression (7/10):
This is a really nice beer. The hops I used were a bit old and not as bright and fruity as I would have hoped from such a heavy dosing of Mosaic. Finding an appropriate malt balance seems to be a perpetual challenge when brewing American Pale Ale. The trends in APA have been moving towards minimizing malt while driving up hop aromatics and flavor. This beer strikes an excellent balance by creating some nuanced malt character that is toasty and dry without detracting from the hop character or burdening the beer with heavy, sweet caramel flavors.

Very Good (36/50)

Citrillo Pale Ale Recipe and Brewday

citraUpdate 3/25/14: Tasting and Review

I have a bit of nostalgic love for the humble American Pale ale. I can only assume this sentiment is shared by a large number of craft beer drinkers that came of age during the beginning of the craft beer explosion we’re currently in the midst of. Experiencing the relative extremity of a beer like Sierra Nevada pale ale for the first time was somewhat shocking and admittedly, not instantly pleasurable. To my inexperienced palate, the beer was extremely bitter and intense, something radically different from the adjunct-laden lagers I cut my consumption teeth on. It took some time to acclimate, but since those early experiences with SNPA, I’ve rarely looked back.

Revisiting SNPA today makes me realize just how much my palate has changed. The  transition my drinking habits have made towards bigger and bolder closely aligns with the shifts that we’ve seen within the APA category. SNPA would now barely register as a pale ale compared to the highly alcoholic hop bombs that are the most popular examples of the style today. My goal with this recipe is to capture the intense tropical and citrusy hop flavor and aromatics that today’s most popular APAs possess (Zombiedust comes to mind) while pairing down the alcohol to be more in-line with something like SNPA.

Citrillo Pale Ale Recipe

Size: 4.0 gal – My goal is to net 2.75 gallons into the fermenter after hop-related and equipment losses.
Efficiency: 68%
Attenuation: 78.0% (estimated)

Original Gravity: 1.056 SG
Terminal Gravity: 1.012 SG (estimated)
Color: 8.82 SRM
Alcohol: 5.76% ABV (estimated)
Bitterness: 4.5 IBU – Note, my software doesn’t take into account isomerization during the whirlpool where I am getting the majority of my bitterness.

7.75 lb (81.6%) 2-Row Brewers Malt (Briess)
1 lb (10.5%) Vienna Malt (Weyermann)
6 oz (3.9%) 2-Row Caramel Malt 40L (Briess)
4 oz (2.6%) 2-Row Caramel Malt 10L (Briess)
2 oz (1.3%) Acidulated Malt (Weyermann) – Used for pH Adjustment

2 g Citra™ (13.7% AA) – 60 m
2.75 oz Citra™ (13.7% AA) – Whirlpool 20m
1.25 oz Amarillo® (8.7% AA) – Whirlpool 20m

3 oz Amarillo® (8.5% AA) – Hop back. Unfortunately, my hop back broke during the brew day. In lieu of the hop back addition, I ended up adding the hop back hops to my kettle with 5 minutes left in the whirlpool.

1.5 oz Citra™ (13.7% AA) – Dry Hop 3 Days
0.75 oz Amarillo® (8.5% AA) – Dry Hop 3 Days

Kettle Additions:
0.5 ea Whirlfloc Tablet – 15 m
0.5 tsp Wyeast Nutrient – 10 m

WYeast 1056 American Ale™ (1 very fresh packet)

Mash Regiment:
Saccharification Rest – 154 °F – 60m
Mashout – 168 °F – 5m

1. Chill to 60°F and let rise to 64°F. Hold until activity begins to slow.
2. Raise temp to 70°F until all activity is complete.
3. Dry hop at room temp (74°F or so)
4. Crash to 32°F 2 days then package.