Tuesday 16 January 2024

Stone & Wood - Pacific Ale (Version 2) - Tasting Results/Review

Unfortunately we failed to capture any photos of this finished beer, because to be honest, we simply blew through the keg too fast. We were quite surprised when the tap started pouring foam and straight gas, and we were certainly disappointed it had run out. Perhaps a testament to the improvements we made this time around compared to our first attempt at making this beer, we went through it pretty fast and enjoyed every bit doing so. It's still not as close as we'd like to the original, and we did make a few notes though that we'll go through below.

In terms of appearance, to the naked eye it was pretty similar to our first attempt and was still a bit too dark/golden when compared to the original version. Especially when you can get a fresh glass of Pacific Ale from a tap at a pub, it has this almost green tinge to it - most likely from huge amounts of dry hopping.

Our latest version was still a touch too bitter - the IBU's from the recipe (26) were higher than the 22 IBU's stated by Stone & Wood, so this was expected and needs to be dialed back just a touch, though perhaps an even bigger dry hop could help to balance this out a bit more. Even with a 100g dry hop, it still seemed to lack that tropical fruit "punch" you get with the original, so a bigger dry hop will be in order next time around.

No doubt the water chemistry plays a really big role in how this beer works - particularly the chloride to sulfate ratio. In our first attempts we've had a heavy amount of sulfate and low amounts of chloride, which we think is accentuating the bitterness and giving it a certain sharpness and bite that the original version doesn't have. Like with Hazy IPA's, we think the chlorides should be increased and sulfates decreased, with a 2:1 or even 3:1 ratio of chloride to sulfate respectively to give it a softer edge and remove that harshness.

Bumping up the chloride should allow for an even bigger dry hop - we're thinking 200g as a starting point, which is double what we used in this most recent attempt. A significant dry hop like this may also help contribute to that green tinge we previously mentioned.

This beer was still really good, we certainly enjoyed it but there are definitely still some adjustments and improvements to make to get it closer to the real thing. It's been fun working through this, and we'll probably have a 3rd attempt at brewing it by making some more adjustments later in the year, and will update this post with links to the respective recipe and brew day.

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