Sunday, May 6, 2012

Brew Day: American Pale Ale

Back to brewing. I've been sitting on a pack of Northwest Ale yeast for a few months now and while I originally wanted to use it in a malty American stout, I've been on somewhat of a hop kick of late. Must have something to do with the Heady Topper and that six pack of Flower Power IPA I drank recently. Anyways, the recipe for today is my standard APA - golden promise, munich, medium crystal, and a small amount of amber malt - that will be hopped with the usual citrusy varieties. Actually, I had picked up a few ounces of Zythos hops to try out in this beer but after doing a bit of research, I'll probably save them for another day. Some people indicated they liked them better in beers that used more of the dank, piney, and earthy hops than the purely citrusy ones. Maybe a columbus IPA? However, one thing I did want to mention, is that I have pretty much settled on a water profile for my hoppy pale ales and bitters. For the APA's, I found I like the sulfate around 250ppm and the chloride at 35-40ppm, with calcium at 100ppm and sodium and magnesium around 10-15ppm. I cut my tap water with upwards of 80% RO water to get my alkalinity down to appropriate levels. So far I've only had to do minor adjustments to get my mash PH right in the 5.4-5.6 sweet spot. As for the bitters, I have been very happy with the sulfate around 150-175ppm and chloride again at 35-40ppm. With both types of beers, I've gone as high as 350ppm sulfate and I found it a bit too much. I won't say I've noticed that much difference playing around with the chloride numbers, but I can say I have noticed a positive change in the bitterness and overall 'crispness' as the sulfate has gone up. As always, there is still more experimenting to be done.

Invert Bitter. 
Levi's APA : American Pale Ale                                                                                                   
Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 4.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 10.50
Anticipated OG: 1.060
Anticipated FG: 1.010
Anticipated SRM: 9
Anticipated IBU: 57
Efficiency: 70%
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

85.7% - 9.00 lbs. Golden Promise
7.1%   - 0.75 lbs. Munich malt
4.8%   - 0.50 lbs. Crystal 60L
2.4%   - 0.25 lbs. Amber malt

0.75 oz. Magnum @ 60 min 
0.50 oz. Amarillo @ 15 min 
0.50 oz. Centennial @ 15 min
0.25 oz. Simcoe @ 15 min
0.25 oz. Citra @ 15 min
0.50 oz. Amarillo @ 5 min
0.50 oz. Centennial @ 5 min
0.25 oz. Simcoe @ 5 min
0.75 oz. Amarillo @ flameout 
0.75 oz. Centennial @ flameout
0.25 oz. Simcoe @ flameout
0.25 oz. Citra @ flameout

1.0 oz. Amarillo dry hop (7 days)
1.0 oz. Centennial dry hop (7 days)

Yeast: Wyeast 1332 Northwest Ale
Mash 154F for 75 min.
Brewed 6 May 


  1. I've been playing around with a pH meter recently, do you regularly test your mash? Whats the carbonate level of your water? What "minor adjustments" have you had to make and what grists caused a problem? We have essentially RO water in Vancouver and so far the only really problem beer was an IRS that caused the mash pH to dip to 5.1

  2. I test almost all of the mashes with a meter. My water is very hard out of the tap, with an alkalinity of around 295 and bicarb of 360! Luckily, besides from the high alk, the other numbers are low. As such, I dilute with RO water for pretty much all of my beers to get the alkalinity way down and add salts to get the water to where I like. As I said, often it is 80-90% RO to tap. I use the program Bru'N Water for water adjustments and have found the predicted numbers to be very close to the real thing. Usually the only adjustments I have to make is to add a bit of acid malt for the lighter styles, usually less than 2% of the grist.


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