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Critique My Pale Ale

I’ve been brewing pale ales for several years and always have one on tap. For my next brew I’m going to modify my recipe by changing both the malts and hops. Let me know what you think.

House Pale Ale

Method: All Grain
Style: American Pale Ale
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 5.5 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 7 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.044 (recipe based estimate)
Efficiency: 75% (brew house)

Original Gravity:
1.056

Final Gravity:
1.012

ABV (standard):
5.75%

IBU (tinseth):
44.35

SRM (morey):
7.89

Fermentables

8 lb German - Pale Ale 39 2.3 76.2%
0.5 lb German - Munich Light 37 6 4.8%
0.5 lb American - Caramel / Crystal 60L 34 60 4.8%
0.5 lb American - Caramel / Crystal 20L 35 20 4.8%
0.5 lb American - Carapils (Dextrine Malt) 33 1.8 4.8%
0.5 lb Cane Sugar 46 0 4.8%
10.5 lb Total

Hops

0.5 oz Cascade Pellet 7 First Wort 7.72
0.5 oz Belma Pellet 9.7 First Wort 10.7
0.25 oz Columbus Pellet 15 First Wort 8.27
0.5 oz Belma Pellet 9.7 Boil 60 min 17.66
1 oz Belma Pellet 9.1 Boil 0 min
1 oz Cascade Pellet 7 Boil 0 min
1 oz Columbus Pellet 15 Boil 0 min

Dry hop with 1 oz each of Cascade, Belma, and Columbus

Mash Guidelines

– Sparge 154 F 60 min
Starting Mash Thickness: 1.75 qt/lb

Yeast
Mangrove Jack - US West Coast Yeast

overall I think this looks like a good recipe. A couple of questions:

-why the 154 mash temp? I would think you would want an APA (particularly one with this many caramel malts and dextrins) to be more fermentable.
-similar to last, why all the caramel malts? If its just a question of preference, go for it. I personally have found my favorite APA’s to be on the ‘crisp’ side, around 80-90% base, then 5-10% of melanoidin/munich/vienna and 5-10% of a lighter crystal
-hop bill looks good, have heard great things about belma. However, I generally like my APA’s to have slightly over 1 in the BU:GU ratio, primarily from heavier late kettle additions.

Agreeing with Pietro on several counts. I’d mash lower, like around 150F. For my personal taste, I’d up the Munich and C20 to 1lb each and drop the C60 and Carpils completely. Upping the Munich and C20 will make up for the C60, but will also leave the beer a little less sweet and more fermentable. You should only need/use carapils when no other crystal malts are being used to add body and head retention. The carapils isn’t needed at all if using other crystal malts and highly hopped beers don’t have head retention issues. Soooo, drop the carapils. It’s not needed. I do like the addition of sugar to help dry it out. I add 1/2 to 1lb of cane sugar to all my APAs and IPAs. I prefer them on the drier side. Another reason why I’d mash lower at 150’ish.

Good points. I’m planning on mashing high to give the beer more body. Once again it’s another variable Incan endless game of tweaking things. I do Lind the carapils suggestion. I’ll re work the recipe tomorrow and see what it looks like minus the c60. Reason I’m using the crystal malt is because I have close to 8 lbs of each.

I have a bottle of ketchup in my fridge, but won’t pour it over steak just because. :lol:

Just messing with you. I understand trying to use up grains, but don’t let that ruin a beer.
If you really want to use up a bunch of left over grains, Russian Imperial Stout is the way I like to go.

For future reference, Weyermann’s carafoam malt is a good grain to use when you want a malt that helps with head retention without contributing too much in the way of a heavy body. I totally agree with the others about the caramel malt, too. There’s nothing wrong with using a limited amount of caramel malt in a pale ale, but keep the color down to 20 degrees or lower, or you’ll get too much in the way of sweetness. I see you like German malts, so I’ll recommend another that you may not have tried. It’s another one from Weyermann, called carahell. It’s a very light caramel malt, around 11 degrees L. I use it regularly in my pale ales and IPAs. It gives a great malt richness without adding too much sweetness.

Interesting thread. Recipe looks tasty! Not trying to jack, but a question for you guys. When do you add the sugar for drying? Would it go in the boil or add to primary after a few days? I’d like to try that. I also use carapils quite a bit. Probably too much. I’ll have to re-evaluate some of my recipes. Thanks!

deliusism1, what color level of crystal do you consider to be the “sweetest”? Your statement above leads me to believe that higher L crytals are sweeter. I always thought that 40L was the sweetest but when you go 80L and above, you are getting more caramel/toffee and less sweet as you continue up the color scale. ANd below 40L you are getting some sweetness but less and less of the caramel flavors, so in a way, the balance would be heaviest toward the sweet end the lower you go on the scale.

Have I been living a lie?

[quote=“Steeler D”]deliusism1, what color level of crystal do you consider to be the “sweetest”? Your statement above leads me to believe that higher L crytals are sweeter. I always thought that 40L was the sweetest but when you go 80L and above, you are getting more caramel/toffee and less sweet as you continue up the color scale. ANd below 40L you are getting some sweetness but less and less of the caramel flavors, so in a way, the balance would be heaviest toward the sweet end the lower you go on the scale.

Have I been living a lie?[/quote]
It really all depends on whose malt you’re using. With some maltsters, the caramel malt in the 20-30 degree range actually has the most intense flavor, where other maltsters’ caramel malts are the most intense in the 50-80 degree range. I’d say that in the ranges below 20 and above 80 degrees, the flavors get less sweet, but are still just as potent. Personally, I rarely use any caramel malts that fall into the range between 20 and 80 degrees. It’s not that I don’t like malts in that range, it’s just that I happen to brew mostly beers where those kind of mid-range caramel malts are inappropriate, like IPAs and stouts. The trickiest beer style for me when it comes to selecting an appropriate caramel malt is brown ale, by far. You would think that style could accommodate a fairly wide range of caramel malts, but one step in the wrong direction can make the beer turn out nothing like you had in mind, and like I said, different maltsters’ products can vary all over the map on flavors. It takes a while to really get a grip on whose products have what flavors.

I would say the higher “L” malts are “more caramelly”, not just “sweeter”. I feel like Troegs uses higher “L” crystals in their Nugget Nectar and other hop-forward beers…which are the reasons why I don’t really like their hop forward beers :mrgreen:

Another thing that’s easy to forget is that caramel malt and crystal malt are actually two different things, and the differences between them help a lot to explain some of the confusion we experience when we attempt to formulate recipes that incorporate them. We tend to think of them as interchangeable, but this is not always the case. There can be noticeable differences between malts in the same color range that are not of the same type. Below is a link I’ve posted that goes into some depth on the subject. There are plenty of other sources to explore, but this one gives a quick little summary of the point I’m making
.http://www.differencebetween.net/object … amel-malt/

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