Thursday, August 15, 2013

Nelson-Galaxy Pale Ale, II

When I brewed this beer back in early July, my overall goal was to make an American Pale Ale that had the hop character of an IPA and some of the easy drinking, sessionable qualities of an APA. Basically, an IPA without the the 7+% ABV and high, biting bitterness. Also, as I was using some very tropical-fruity hops (Galaxy and Nelson Sauvin), I didn't want to use a lot of specialty malts in the beer, lest I muddled that amazing hop character. Taking a page from a local brewery that makes a similarly fruity IPA - Ithaca's Flower Power - I went with a simple malt bill of continental pale ale malt and a nearly inconsequential amount of honey malt. As is the case with Flower Power, I like how the simplest malt bills can really help showcase the complex, fruity character of the hops used. For the yeast, I went with a re-pitch of some WLP060 American Ale Bend, as this yeast makes a very clean and crisp tasting beer, and I also wanted to see if the yeast would produce an even cleaner beer with subsequent generations. Shortly put, it does! When all was brewed and kegged, I got a pretty good beer out of it. So good, that even though I just bought a half-case of Heady Topper (canned just over a week ago), I sorta prefer drinking my beer over theirs... although theirs is certainly hoppier and more complex tasting.

Nelson-Galaxy: American Pale Ale
Recipe Specifics:
Batch Size (Gal): 4.50
Total Grain (Lbs): 10.25
Anticipated OG: 1.056
Anticipated FG: 1.010
Anticipated SRM: 5
Anticipated IBU: 45
Efficiency: 70%
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

97.6% - 10.00 lbs. Pale Malt
2.4%   - 0.25 lbs. Honey Malt

0.50 oz. Nelson Sauvin @ 20 min for 18 IBU
0.50 oz. Galaxy @ 15 min for 13 IBU
0.50 oz. Nelson Sauvin @ 10 min for 9 IBU
0.50 oz. Galaxy @ 5 min for 5 IBU
1.00 oz. Nelson Sauvin @ flameout
1.50 oz. Galaxy @ flameout
1.50 oz. Galaxy @ dry-hop 7 days
1.00 oz. Nelson Sauvin @ dry-hop 7 days

Yeast: WLP060 American Ale Blend
Mash 154F for 60 min
Brewed on 1 July

Tasting Notes:

Galaxy APA: American Pale Ale

Appearance - Pours a hazy, light orange/amber color with a two-finger white head that has decent retention.

Aroma -  Big tropical fruit; papaya, mango, and passionfruit with a piney-musky earthiness. The beer has a prominent "juicy/sweet" character, similar to overripe fruit. Hops, hops, hops.

Taste - Tropical fruit dominates - passionfruit, mango, papaya - followed by a slight piney and earthy muskiness that lingers into the finish. Overall, the hop character is quite strong and IPA-like, although there is just enough malt character to keep everything in balance. Bitterness is medium-high.

Mouthfeel - Carbonation is medium-low and the beer has a smooth and creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability & Notes - Again, this hop combo doesn't disappoint. I love the mix of tropical fruit and pine from the Galaxy and the earthy-dank-fruity flavor that the Nelson hops seems to provide. In many ways, this hop combo is very 'American' in character, although it does lack some of the the punchy, citrus fruit intensity that most "C" hops have. And that is a good thing. It tastes both familiar and completely exotic. No complaints as the beer sits now, although next time I will probably dial back the Nelson (in the boil) and add a small amount of Simcoe to both the flameout and dry hop addition for a bit more complexity. 

5.7% ABV.


  1. Nice Heady Topper Porn. I spent hours last month in VT looking for some. Nope. All gone.

    1. It seems like they've changed the hopping with the newer batches. Less fruity-citrus flavor and more of a sharp-herbal character than the previous batches. Still tastes good, but it is markedly different from cans I got a month ago.

  2. This is a random and potentially off-topic question, but do you make any effort to match mash temperature with OG within any given style? Or is 154 a pretty standard temperature for you when you make bitters and IPAs and so on?

    I ask because I've been playing around with no-sparge and relatively low ABV bitters, IPAs, and milds (i.e., 4.2% ABV or so), and I find that mash temperatures lower than about 154 tend to produce an overly-thin mouthfeel (especially with milds, of course, which I try to mash even warmer). On the other hand, when I mashed a no-sparge ESB with an OG of about 1.056 or so at the same temperature, it ended up with a much stronger malt flavour and much thicker mouthfeel than I had anticipated.



    1. I'd say 154F is a pretty standard mash temp for most of my beers, although I will mash hotter for lower gravity beers and vice versa. Although, it often seems like no matter what temp I mash at, my F.G is always right around 1.008-1.012 for beers under 1.070 OG. Also, it depends on the yeast I am using, since some strains level of attenuation seem to be less dependant on mash temp (pacman for instance).

      As for the no-sparge, that has been my case too. Much bigger mouthfeel and malt character, with the same attenuation.

    2. Thanks for the response!

  3. Been looking for a Nelson recipe, I think this'll work nicely. Thanks for putting this together! :-)


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