Friday 26 May 2023

All-Star Hazy Pale Ale Recipe (All Grain)

 

Following on from our recently published Hazy Pale Ale Recipe Creation Guide - here's our Hazy Pale Ale recipe. 

Notes

We also owe a big credit for the majority of this recipe to Adam Makes Beer and Dudes Brews on YouTube, in particular this video where they cover in detail the Hazy Pale Ale style and a sample recipe provided by Adam.

As the name suggests, we're going for a simple combination of All-Star hops - with Citra, Galaxy and Mosaic. Yakima Valley Hops consider this hop combination in a 1:1:1 ratio as the GOAT combo for IPA's, particularly hazy ones, so they no doubt work well together.

Vitals

Batch Volume: 23L 
Boil Time: 30 minutes
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Original Gravity: 1.052
Final Gravity: 1.013
IBU (Tinseth): 29
BU/GU: 0.56
Colour: 8.3 EBC
Expected ABV: 5.1%

Mash

Temperature: 68°C - 60 minutes
Mash Out: 75°C - 10 minutes

Malts

4.0kg - Gladfield Pilsner Malt (73%)
0.7kg - Gladfield Big-O Malted Oats (13%)
0.4kg - Gladfield Toffee Malt (7%)
0.4kg - Gladfield Wheat Malt (7%)

Hops

Hopstand 20 mins @ 80°C - 50g Citra (9 IBU)
Hopstand 20 mins @ 80°C - 50g Galaxy (11 IBU)
Hopstand 20 mins @ 80°C - 50g Mosaic (9 IBU)

Dry Hop - Citra - 50g - 3 days
Dry Hop - Galaxy - 50g - 3 days
Dry Hop - Mosaic - 50g - 3 days

Yeast

Lallemand (LalBrew) New England Dry Yeast (2 packets)

Fermentation

20°C - 14 days

Carbonation

2.4-2.9 CO2-vol

Water Profile

Custom water profile with only addition of calcium chloride to raise calcium and chloride levels

Ca2+ (Calcium): 89
Mg2+ (Magnesium): 4
Na+ (Sodium): 12
Cl- (Chloride): 170
SO42- (Sulfate): 8
HCO3- (Bicarbonate): 37


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Thursday 25 May 2023

Hazy Pale Ale - Recipe Creation Guide

Hazy Pale Ale's are the latest trending beer style, with craft beer lovers craving heavily hopped and flavour-packed beers, without all the alcohol and heaviness you usually get with styles like Hazy IPA.

The Hazy Pale Ale is the craft beer industries solution to this problem - a beer you can have more than a couple of and not fall asleep, or still be able to legally drive a car home. Think of it as a Session Hazy IPA. There's a bit to consider when designing a Hazy Pale Ale recipe so read on to find out what you should (and should not) be doing when designing and brewing your own.

Although the Hazy Pale Ale is not (yet) a recognized BJCP beer style so we're going to outline how the style would be outlined if it were to be a BJCP style.

Appearance

Colour should range from light straw to a very light amber or even an orange hue. It should appear hazy or opaque but not cloudy or murky. There should be no visible matter such as hop debris, yeast clumps or any other particulates. Thick white head with high retention is desirable.

Aroma

Hop aroma should be high to very high. Expect notes of stone, tropical and/or citrus fruits. Should not have grassy or herbal notes. Clean, neutral, grainy or light bready malt in the background, but no caramel or toast. Total absence of malt character is a fault. Neutral to fruity fermentation character is acceptable but esters from yeast and hops should not clash. A creamy, buttery or acidic aroma is a fault.

Flavour

High to very high fruity hop flavour with notes of stone, tropical and/or citrus fruits. Low to medium perceived bitterness with a soft, medium finish. Hop character should be strong but not harsh or sharp, particularly in the aftertaste. Fruity esters from the yeast are acceptable and should complement the hop flavours. No strong/notable alcohol flavours.

Mouthfeel

Body and mouthfeel should be medium with a supporting level of carbonation. No harshness. Should not have a creamy or viscous mouthfeel and should not have an acidic twang or raw starch texture.

Vital Statistics

ABV: 4.5% - 6%
IBU: 20 - 40
SRM: 3 - 7
OG: 1.046 - 1.060
FG: 1.011 - 1.015

Malts/Grains

American Two Row/Pilsner/Extra Pale Malt - 70 - 75%
Combination of Malted Wheat and Malted/Unmalted Oats - 20 - 25%
Low Colour Dextrin/Crystal Malt (eg. Carahell) - 5-8%

The majority of the grain bill should be two row, pilsner or extra pale malt or any combination of these. This will provide most of the fermentable sugars in the wort.

Next we want to include somewhere between 20-25% malted wheat and either malted or unmalted oats. You can experiment with the ratios to get different flavours, but these will impart lots of proteins and contribute to the desirable haze that we're after for this beer which is why it's important to have at least 20% of the grist made up of these.

This beer will be loaded with hops so we need a little something extra to help support them, so a low colour dextrin malt like carahell should be included in 5-8% to help provide a little extra residual sweetness. Go for a low colour option here as we're not after caramel or toasty flavours, just a little bit of sweetness to hide behind the hops and prop them up a bit.

Hops

For your Hazy Pale Ale you're looking to use new world hops and lots of them. Also look for hop varieties with high levels of "survivable compounds" to ensure maximun aromas and flavours preserved within the finished beer after active fermentation. Examples include citra, mosaic, galaxy and sabro. When determining/researching hop combinations, any combination that works well in a Hazy IPA (or any IPA for that matter) will likely yield good results in a Hazy Pale.

The following article from Yakima Valley Hops on Top Hops for Hazy IPAs is a good place to start for some hop suggestions.

Whirlpool Hop Additions

Whirlpool hop additions are a requirement for this particular style. Utilise a large whirlpool hop addition to extract more of the desirable fruit characteristics from the hops whilst minimising the harsh bittering compounds that are typically extracted when added at boiling temperatures. You can even opt to get all of your IBU's for your Hazy Pale Ale from a whirlpool hop addition - aim for around 80-85°C and 15-20 minutes to get into the 20-40 IBU range.

Dry Hopping

Dry hopping is essentially mandatory to help promote the hop flavours and aromas that are desirable for this style. You can dry hop during active fermentation to leverage the effects of biotransformation, or wait until active fermentation has finished before adding your dry hop charge.

Aim for a dry hop rate of at least 5g/L, but don't exceed more than 8g/L or  you'll risk putting things out of balance as you may not have the IBU's or alcohol content to back it up, and you'll start creeping into Hazy IPA territory.

Mash (Temperature & Time)

Mash @ 67-68°C to help create a slightly less fermentable wort to achive a slightly higher final gravity (FG)
Mashout @ 75°C for 10 minutes

Yeast

Use an ale yeast with medium flocculation. Some examples are below;

Dry Yeast:

  • Lallemand Verdant IPA 
  • Lallemand New England American East Coast Ale
  • Fermentis Safale S-04
  • Fermentis Safale S-33
Liquid Yeast:

  • Wyeast 1318 London Ale III 
  • White Labs WLP066 London Fog
  • GigaYeast GY054 Vermont IPA
  • Imperial Yeast A38 Juice

Water Profile

Similar to the NEIPA/Hazy IPA style, leverage a water profile with high levels of chloride and reduced levels of sulfate. Aim for a minimum 2:1 chloride to sulfate ratio. 100ppm or less of calcium.

Fermentation Temperature

Ferment within the upper range of the yeasts recommended temperature range to help promote some slight ester formations, though a clean, neutral yeast flavour profile is also acceptable.

Pressure Fermentation

If you're going for a clean and ester-free flavour profile then pressure fermentation can be beneficial here, but if leveraging a yeast that can impart some esters and desirable characteristics then avoid using pressure for the first few days of active fermentation which is when these esters are typically formed.

Cold Crashing

Cold crashing can be beneficial to this style of beer as it can help the hop debris settle to the bottom of the fermenter with the rest of the trub.

Sample Recipe

Hazy Pale Ale Recipe (All Grain)


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Friday 19 May 2023

American Amber Ale - Tasting Results & Review

Intro

When we set out to design the recipe for this beer, we made a conscious decision to focus on using hops that would give a flavour profile more resinous and piney than outright fruit, or citrus - and that's exactly what we got.

We're very pleased with how this one turned out, and it's not really any surprise, as we researched loads of recipes when putting this one together and found many commonalities in the recipes other people were using and documenting for their American amber ales. Striking the right balance between malt and hop flavours can be tricky in an amber ale, but we feel we've done a pretty good job with this one with both complementing each other nicely and neither dominating the palate.

Here are the links to the Recipe and Brew Day posts

A couple of key things to point out with regards to the recipe;
  • Use a tiny amount of pale chocolate malt - we used 50g in total and it really makes a big difference in accentuating the bitterness. Definitely don't use any more than this though as it will quickly overpower everything else at play.
  • Don't worry about dry hopping - we were very tempted to dry hop this but we're glad we didn't. One of the articles we read about designing amber ales recipes stated to try and avoid dry hopping and to trust your kettle hops. Obviously you need to make sure you've got some decent late boil (or whirlpool) additions to get the hop flavours you need balanced out against the malt

Appearance

There's a thick, creamy, off-white head that has good staying-power, and as expected underneath it we've got a fairly dark beer in the glass with the Brewfather recipe estimating a colour of 31.5 EBC. It has cleared slightly in the keg after a couple of weeks thanks to the whirlfloc added to the boil, though the darkish colour doesn't make it look particularly clear.  It's at the darker end of the colour scale for an Amber ale but still within the acceptable colour range within the BJCP guidelines.

Aroma

Thanks to the classic American hop varieties of columbus, chinook and centennial, we've got a fairly prominent earthy, piney and slightly dank aroma, followed closely by a little bit of sweetness from the malts. There's the tiniest hint of yeast aroma too that we've noticed, but this one smells goood.

Flavour

Mouthfeel as you'd expect is medium to full - since we had a relatively high finishing gravity of 1.014, there's a decent amount of residual sugar left that helps give it the desired sweetness. The hop flavours are very much inline with those listed in aroma and are exactly what you'd expect from the hops used - piney, earthy and a little dank. A little bit of floral and fruit from the centennial hops too. The inclusion of centennial hops in the whirlpool only was a late inclusion but we're glad we added them in - we think it rounds the hop profile out nicely against the chinook and columbus.

Up front there's an initial hit of sweetness, closely followed by the hop flavours, and there's a nice firm but not overpowering bitterness from the hops, which appears to be accentuated somewhat by the pale chocolate malt. There's a nice lingering dryness as well that keeps you coming back for more and more sips. We've upped the carbonation just a touch higher than normal to help ensure the sweetness is kept in check, which it is. There's some interesting flavours coming from the malt - a bit of caramel as you'd expect but this is no caramel bomb. The shepherds delight malt has certainly imparted some interesting flavours likened to licorice and even cola. We're glad we kept the shepherds delight somewhat restrained though as this could very easily take over. The balance in this recipe for us is absolutely spot on.

Conclusion

We're very proud of our American Amber Ale. The hop varieties could be tweaked to adjust the flavour profile if desired to use more new-world hop varieties to impart more citrus and fruit like character, but for us we wanted that classic American piney flavour and it's exactly what we got.

If we were making this beer again we don't think we'd change much if anything at all. Perhaps a little more centennial in the whirlpool. We also ended up using BRY-97 yeast as we weren't able to get US-05, but although BRY-97 has gone an admirable job this time, we'd like to try it again with US-05.




Monday 15 May 2023

Top 10 Tips to make high quality homebrew

The process for brewing beer is a combination of many steps - and brewing high quality craft beer akin to what you can buy from commercial craft breweries is the culmination of doing many of these many steps right. For us this was always the goal when we started brewing our own beer - to make something that to us tasted just as good as what we could buy from a craft brewery.

Here are the top 10 things we've found that have drastically improved the quality of our homebrews (in no particular order);

1. Adjusting your water chemistry

Perhaps the most daunting, but arguably the most important thing you can do is start looking at your water profile. Adjusting things like chloride, sulfate, calcium and bicarbonate levels are critical to get the correct flavour profile and mouth feel for your beer. Use a campden tablet to remove chlorine as well. Leverage the power of brewing software to do the hard work and calculations for you and check out our Feature Article on Spike Brewing that covers water chemistry in great detail. It's worth investing the time into researching and learning more about your water chemistry to greatly improve the end result in your beers.

2. Adjusting your water pH


This could arguably be included in point 1 for water chemistry but we felt it needed it's own dedicated spot. We initially started with only adjusting water chemistry and neglected pH levels, which saw us extracting way too many tannins from our grains which lead to enhanced grainy flavours and astringency in the final beer. Get yourself a pH meter and adjust your mash and sparge water using food-grade phosphoric acid so both are in the ideal range of 5.2 - 5.6. As mentioned above, leverage the power of brewing software like Brewfather to help with the calculations - even the free version has the water calculator feature!

3. Go All-Grain

In our opinion you're never going to get a beer that fully replicates the quality and flavour profile of a commercial craft beer by using malt extracts. All commercial beer is made using the all grain method and there's a reason for this - it's just better. If you can get your hands on a fresh wort kit then try fermenting one of these to see the difference for yourself.

4. Fermentation Temperature Control

This one is pretty well known by now and well documented. You must be controlling the temperature of your wort during active fermentation to prevent any off flavours from developing and to get the best flavour profile possible. Yes, you can use yeast strains that are more heat tolerant such as Kveik, or leverage pressure fermenting to ferment warmer, but there are some draw backs and limitations to these such as the styles of beer you can make with them, since fermenting under pressure suppresses ester formation which from some yeasts can be desirable.

5. Recipe Design & Development

Quality craft beer is all about balance, so it's a good idea to leverage some tried and true recipes to avoid any issues with imbalances - going overboard with hops, or with specialty malts can lead to overpowering flavours that mean your beer won't quite taste right. There's loads of free recipes available online, or otherwise look for homebrewing recipe books to get started. Be careful when tweaking other peoples recipes too as even seemingly small adjustments could have a big impact on the finished product.

6. Get Kegging

Most of us start out bottling our beers and using bottle conditioning for carbonating in the bottle. The issue with bottling is that you're more than likely exposing your beer to oxygen during the bottling process which will lead to rapid staling of the beer not long after bottle conditioning is finished. It will taste great for a couple of weeks then start to deteriorate. Kegging allows you to package your beer oxygen free, so it will last months in the keg, plus you can have some cool beer tap(s) setup. Yes, you'll need some additional equipment to get going like a dedicated fridge but it's a worthwhile investment if you plan on sticking with brewing, particularly if you like hoppy styles like IPA which are more prone to the effects of oxidation.

If you're intent on continuing to bottle, it's worth seriously considering a small carbon dioxide gas tank and a counter pressure bottle filler so you can do it completely oxygen free. You'll also need a pressure capable fermenter like the Apollo which is a high quality and affordable pressure capable fermenter.

7. Cleaning & Sanitation

Another well documented thing to check off, but well worth a mention. Poor sanitation or unclean equipment will undoubtedly impart undesirable flavours into your beer, or lead to an infection. Make sure all your equipment is clean before use, particularly on the cold side after the boil. Remove any visible contaminants using PBW, rinse, then sanitise with phosphoric acid based sanitiser like Star San. Make sure you dilute your sanitising solution correctly (read the directions on the packaging), give your equipment a quick spray before use and you're good to go. Also check out our article on the difference between cleaning and sanitising.

8. Yeast Matters

Ensure you're using a yeast strain suitable for the style of beer you're making (which ties closely into Point 5 Recipe Design & Development). Also make sure you're pitching an appropriate amount of yeast for the strain you are using - you can easily check this as it's often written on the packet/sachet or otherwise check the yeast manufacturers website. Pitching an insufficient amount of yeast can increase yeast stress and lead to off flavours developing.

Dry yeast is absolutely fine to use - you can definitely make commercial quality craft beer using dry yeast. It's fine to just sprinkle it onto the wort, or rehydrate it if you want. Using dry yeast will usually negate the need for oxygenating wort and creating yeast starters - it's just quicker and easier in our opinion.

Liquid yeast is also fine to use but you will need to make sure your wort has been oxygenated as the proteins and nutrients required for cell reproduction aren't readily available in the packet like they are with dry yeast.

9. Allow Conditioning Time

A number of off flavours are developed and present during active fermentation, and are typically "cleaned up" by the yeast after primary fermentation has finished. For this reason it's important to leave the beer on the yeast cake for at least a couple of days after final gravity has been reached to allow this process to happen. Raising the temperature a couple of degrees, known as a diacetyl rest can help with this process. Bottom line, don't try and rush things - we've found a typical schedule of 12-14 days from pitching yeast to packaging is sufficient for most styles. Even after you've transferred from your fermenter to keg or bottles, you'll more than likely need another week or two before the beer has mellowed out and reached it's prime.

10. Practice & Documentation

Like most hobby's, newcomers aren't necessarily great at them straight away and homebrewing is no different. Learning from your mistakes is a key part of the journey - we've certainly made our fair share of mistakes and errors since we started. There's a wealth of information available on sites like this, YouTube, Facebook groups, books, magazines etc. Seek the advice of others and research.

We also find it incredibly beneficial to have documented all of the beers we've made - keep your recipes in brewing software like Brewfather, or even a notebook. We're always revisiting past recipes to check what we've done before to remember what worked well, and what didn't, and having good notes and records makes this process much easier.


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