Sunday, October 9, 2011

Brew Day: American Pale Ale

Just as man cannot live on bread alone, so too does this homebrewer need a change of pace from endless batches of bitter, mild, and porter. Considering how successful my latest American IPA was (brewed with Brewers Invert) I thought it would be appropriate to brew up a very hoppy and bitter APA, of the sort California is so famous for. Also, with Thanksgiving just around the corner, I wanted to have some hoppy beer on hand for my extended family who are quite the hop-heads. While I have done hoppy APA's before, this one is a bit different than I would normally do. I am trying out a new hop combination - Amarillo, Simcoe, and Citra - and a new water profile that is a bit 'lighter' on the sulfate than what most people are familiar with. I will be dry hopping this one too.

Simarillo APA : American Pale Ale

Recipe Specifics:
Batch Size (Gal): 4.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 9.85
Anticipated OG: 1.057
Anticipated FG: 1.012

Anticipated SRM: 8
Anticipated IBU: 40
Efficiency: 70%
Boil Time: 60 Minutes    

76.1%  - 7.5 lbs. Pale Malt
15.2%  - 1.5 lbs. Vienna Malt
5.1%    - 0.5 lbs. Crystal Malt 60L
3.6%    - 0.35 lbs. Cara-Pils

0.25 oz. Columbus @ 60 min for 10 IBU
0.50 oz. Amarillo @ 15 min for 9 IBU
0.50 oz. Simcoe @ 15 min for 13.5 IBU
0.50 oz. Amarillo @ 5 min for 3.6 IBU
0.50 oz. Simcoe @ 5 min for 5.4 IBU
0.50 oz. Amarillo @ flameout
0.50 oz. Simcoe @ flameout
0.50 oz. Citra @ flameout
0.50 oz. Simcoe dry hop (7 days)
0.75 oz. Amarillo dry hop (7 days)
0.50 oz. Citra dry hop (7 days)

Yeast: Wyeast 1275 American Ale II
Brewed on 9 September


  1. Do you dilute your water with RO ? I have a bit less alkalinity than you do in my water (110) and I'm debating wether to start diluting with RO for paler styles.

  2. Yep. I changed water sources not too long ago and the alkalinity is very much higher than I used to have. I'll typically dilute my water with 40-60% RO or distilled, depending on the style. For really pale beers, I'll start with RO and build it up from there. I check my mash PH with a meter and will add acid malt (no more than 2%) if I need to get the PH in line.

    I normally wouldn't brew pale ales with so much bicarb or alkalinity, though I've seen a number of pale ale water profiles with these numbers, so I thought I would see how it turns out. I normally use Randy Mosher's Pale Ale profile for my very hoppy beers.

  3. How did the hop flavour turn out?
    I'm dying to brew an APA with the Simcoe/Amarillo combo, but Simcoe is a little hard to come by up here. Should be getting some in soon I hope. Also, what kind of sulphate level do you usually use for an APA if 150 is little lower than usual?


    1. Jeff,

      The hop flavor on this one was pretty intense. The Simcoe gave the beer a very strong pine/tropical fruit flavor and the Amarillo came through with its usual floral grapefruit. I think much of the aroma was dominated by the citra, though the flavor was all amarillo/simcoe. It was a very nice beer, though to be honest I thought my APA II - the Levi's recipe - was better. Much cleaner flavors and more balanced for my taste.

      I try to aim for around 250ppm sulfate for hoppy pales, though I've been waffling between that and 150. I like some bitterness, though I am starting to get away from sharp, high bitterness in favor of more hop aroma. I tried using Tasty's water profile and the 350ppm sulfate was too much for me. Also, the bicarb and alkalinity numbers I posted for this beer were completely wrong. Both numbers were much lower.

  4. Cheers Will,
    I've been targeting between 150ppm & 300ppm sulphate myself. I've got a few batches fermenting at the moment and will be able to taste the results soon to see the difference. Was just curious what you aim for. One thing I've noticed since I started adding gypsum, my pH levels are better, but my efficiency has dropped by about 7%, did you notice any difference? I guess there's a lot of factors to it, but I've got my process down pretty good. The last 3 batches with the gypsum additions, I missed my OG for some reason.
    Anyways, thanks for your response, can't wait to try the amarillo, simcoe combo!

    1. I don't have the most fine-tuned set up, though I get a very consistent 70-75% efficiency. Never had an issue adding gypsum or water salts. Weird that your PH is better but eff goes down? One of these days I'd like to switch over to a false bottom (from a braid) as I suspect I get some channeling with my setup.

  5. ya, very strange. Not sure what's causing it. 3 times in a row now. You'd think the proper pH would get better conversion. Oh well, I'll keep digging and try to figure it out.I built my own copper manifold for my mash tun,works like a charm, never had an issue. Here it is if you want to check it out..


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