Friday 7 January 2022

American Pale Ale - Recipe Creation Guide

Style Overview

A pale, refreshing and hoppy ale, yet with sufficient supporting malt to make the beer balanced and drinkable. The clean hop presence can reflect classic or modern American or New World hop varieties with a wide range of characteristics. An average-strength hop-forward pale American craft beer, generally balanced to be more accessible than modern American IPAs.


Pale golden to light amber. Moderately large white to off-white head with good retention. Generally quite clear, although dry-hopped versions may be slightly hazy


Moderate to strong hop aroma from American or New World hop varieties with a wide range of possible characters such as citrus, floral, pine, resinous, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry or melon. Low to moderate maltiness to help support the hops. Small amounts of specialty malts are acceptable such as bready, toasty, biscuit or caramelly. Fruity esters from moderate to none.


Moderate to high hop flavour, typically showing American or New World hop character. Low to moerate clean grainy-malt character supports the hop presentation. Balance is typically towards late hops and bitterness. Malt presence should be supportive, not distracting.


Medium light to medium body. Moderate to high level of carbonation. Overall smooth finish without astringency or harshness.

Vital Statistics

ABV: 4.5% - 6.2%
IBU: 30 - 50
SRM: 5 - 10
OG: 1.045 - 1.060
FG: 1.010 - 1.015


Common/Popular/Classic Option

Pale Malt - 95%
Crystal Malt - 5%

Alternative Option

Pilsner Malt - Up to 95% (using pilsner malt instead of pale will give a more neutral base allowing hop character to shine through even more)
Munich - Up to 30%
Biscuit - 1-3%
Aromatic - 1-5%
Melanoid - 1-3%


Hops are typically added at the beginning of the boil (typically 60 minutes) for bittering, with later additions being added at any or all of 15, 10, 5 and 0 minutes for flavour and aroma. 30 minute additions are redundant and should be avoided (unless you're doing a 30 minute boil instead of 60 minutes)

There's no shortage of hop options and varieties, but some popular combinations are;

Ahtanum, Centennial, Simcoe
Galaxy, Nelson, Columbus
Cascade, Chinook, El Dorado, Mosaic
Chinook, Simcoe
Columbus, Citra
Chinook, Mosaic, Citra
Citra, Simcoe, Amarillo
Galaxy, Citra
Columbus, Centennial, Cascade
Citra, Mosaic
Centennial, Nelson, Citra
Centennial, Chinook, Columbus
Centennial, Amarillo - (research has proven this combination to be incredibly popular)

If in doubt, look to the five C's - considered to be the cornerstones of modern American craft beer brewing. Any or all of these hops in combination will work very well and give that classic american flavour;

Cascade, Centennial, Columbus, Chinook, Citra

Dry Hopping

Dry hopping is optional - typical rate is 2-4g/L - being too aggressive can lead you into IPA territory

Whirlpool Hop Additions 

Whirlpool hop additions are also optional but can certainly be done to help impart even more hop flavour and aroma in addition to (or instead of) late hop additions to the boil. Typical whirlpool hopstand would be for 15 minutes at approx 80 degrees celsius.

Mash (Temperature & Time)

Mash @ 65C (for a drier/crisper finish)
Mashout @ 75C for 10 minutes


Go for a neutral American style yeast. Some popular/common options are below

  • WY1272 American Ale II
  • WLP 001 Californian Ale
  • Mangrove Jacks M36 Liberty Ale
  • Fermentis US-05
  • Lallemand BRY-97

Fermentation Temperature

Begin fermentation at the lower end of the yeasts recommended temperature range. After at least 5 days of fermentation, begin raising the temperature 1C per day for 3 days (for a 3C total increase in temperature). Raising the temperature towards the end of fermentation helps the yeast clean up after itself.

Pressure Fermentation

Pressure fermentation can be beneficial for this style of beer as fermenting under pressure will help to suppress any off flavours from being created. Typical pressure used is around 10psi

Cold Crashing

Cold crashing can be beneficial to this style of beer. If you are dry hopping, it can help the hop debris settle to the bottom of the fermenter with the rest of the trub. Can also help improve the clarity of the beer.

Sample Recipe

Check out our favourite American Pale Ale Recipe

Related Articles

All Recipe Creation Guides

All-Grain Recipe List

No comments:

Post a Comment