15/06/2015: This brewing day was first published on the 20/04/2015 but it is now updated with the tasting notes you will find at the end.
As I’m getting more and more into BIAB, I understand more and more about the process and how to maximize it. So far I had my first one to be a complete fail, the second (call it 1st Pale Ale) be good, the third (2nd Pale Ale) an improvement and this one is hopefully the best of the two last ones. This beer is something that my wife really likes and I’m trying to tweak the recipe to her taste (and mine…) to make a beer that hopefully will end up being a good Pale Ale, not sure which style yet.
To the brewing:
I decided to try the method I used in the 1st PA and mash for 90 minutes but aim for the temperatures of the 2nd (64-68°c). Another change I made is mashing 1.5kg of Crush Pale Malt in 4 litres of boiled Brita water rather than 1kg to increase the gravity – it worked!
Mashing went well, it was cooler (60-64°c) in the last 15 minutes to get the “dry” taste but kept pretty stable while playing with the heat, turning it on and off while stirring the grains slightly to introduce them to different water temperatures. At the end of the mashing I had just 3.5 litres of wort with a gravity of 1091 (!), a very good result.
The boil started 3 hours after the end of the mash (I decided to spend time with the family), but it gave the grains a chance to drain completely, giving me a better efficiency.
To the (now cold) mash I added 2 litres of boiled Brita water and popped it onto high heat as the wort was 61°c at this point, and then added 100g of dextrose to keep the high gravity despite more water. Hops additions:
0 minutes – 20g Target Hops (11.7%)
30 minutes – 30g Challenger Hops (9.18%)
45 minutes – 10g Fuggles Hops (3.96%)
At 60 minutes the wort was transferred to an ice bath and cooled to 24°c within 30 minutes.
The yeast was activated when the boil started. I used is the Safale US-05 (6g) yeast this time, unlike the Nottingham yeast the last couple of times. I find that the Safale US-05 results in a less tangy flavour and I wanted to see if a hoppy beer will benefit from an American style yeast.
To the mix I added 10g dextrose and dissolved it (and the yeast) in 500m of cold (21°c) Brita water. The temperature is the ideal temperature range for this yeast.
To the fermentor
The cooled wort and the yeast mix were poured into the fermenter with 2 litres of Brita water (at 21°c) resulting in 5.5 litres of beer at 21°c with 1046 gravity. This result was very good but I haven’t planned on a high gravity beer, so I added another 1.5 litres to reach a total of 7 litres with OG=1036, excellent.
I think this beer might even be closer to an American style IPA, but I will need to wait for the finished beer. The goal here was to combine the depth of flavour and bittering from my 2nd Pale Ale while getting the resulting aromas from the dry hopping I did on the 1st Pale Ale, and hopefully that will work.
Update 1 (1 week after brewing):
Dry hops started with 20g Citra hops (12.7%) and 5g Celesia hops (3.9%); gravity is 1008.
Update 2 (2 weeks after brewing): Fermentation ended, FG=1009, giving an ABV of 3.62%. 35g dextrose was added to 7L of beer for priming. Bottled.
It is funny to write tasting notes on this beer as we are drinking the last couple of beers, but the bottles are still great, and the beer was very popular in our house that it become a house staple and will be brewed again soon. The taste of the beer actually stayed good for the last month or so we’ve been drinking it, staying stable without many changes. To the tasting:
Colour is light blond and when poured has a light white head that disappears quickly. Carbonation is clearly visible in the glass. Aroma is very strong and citrusy, with a clear grapefruit note, as expected from Citra hops. First taste gives a little sweetness on the tongue but that changes to a bitter hoppy flavour with a little green note there.
This beer is very dry and light, both in body and colour, and has very clearly strong hoppy presence. After much reading and comparing I can finally conclude that this is actually and American style Pale Ale with a focus on using Citra for the aroma character.
After a little time the flavoures and aromas really mellow and the beer becomes a little “flat”, so should be drank very cold.