Base Pale Ale

This ba­sic pale-ale recipe can pro­vide a sim­ple “blank” can­vas on which to com­pare yeasts for the “Yeast Throw­down.”

Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine - - Recipes In This Issue - Jester Gold­man


Batch Size: 5 gal­lons (19 liters) Brew­house ef­fi­ciency: 72% OG: 1.051 FG: 1.012 IBUS: 45 ABV: 5.07%


7 lb (3.17 kg) Pale liq­uid malt ex­tract (LME) 1 lb (454 g) Crys­tal malt 20L


1.5 oz (42 g) Mt. Hood [5% AA] at 60 min­utes 1 oz (28 g) Cas­cade [5.5% AA] at 30 min­utes 1 oz (28 g) Colum­bus [13.5% AA] at flame­out


See “Yeast Throw­down” (page 45) for a list of pos­si­bil­i­ties


Fol­low a stan­dard ex­tract brew­ing process: Bring 5.4 gal­lons (20.4 l) of water to about 155°F (68°C) and hold. Steep the grains for 20 min­utes, then re­move the bag and al­low to drain into the wort. Add the LME while stir­ring and stir un­til com­pletely dis­solved. Boil for 60 min­utes, fol­low­ing the hops sched­ule.

Af­ter the boil, chill the wort to slightly be­low fer­men­ta­tion tem­per­a­ture, about 65°F (18°C). Aer­ate the wort and pitch the yeast. Fer­ment at 68°F (20°C). Once fer­men­ta­tion is com­plete, bot­tle or keg the beer. you’ve re­viewed them all, it’s time to do some head-to-head com­par­isons.

Across the spec­trum, it’s very likely that some will stand out as unique, ei­ther for good or ill. Try your fa­vorite against your least fa­vorite and see if you can iden­tify why you pre­fer the one. Is it an off-fla­vor or a less-pleas­ant af­ter­taste in the least fa­vorite? It may be that the least fa­vorite pushes the beer a lit­tle out of style.

It’s also good to pick two that seemed fairly sim­i­lar and see what de­tails sep­a­rate them. For ex­am­ple, the ester lev­els may be com­pa­ra­ble, but the nu­ances of the fruiti­ness be­tween ba­nana and stone fruit may dis­tin­guish them. Al­ter­na­tively, one may fa­vor the hops a lit­tle more strongly.

Fi­nal Thoughts

Aside from giv­ing you a more in­tu­itive sense of yeast char­ac­ter­is­tics, this tech­nique can help you de­cide which strain com­ple­ments a given style best for your own per­sonal taste. This comes in handy when you’re try­ing to take a recipe to the next level. Af­ter you’ve fine-tuned a recipe over sev­eral batches, it’s worth­while to try this split-batch ap­proach to see how chang­ing the yeast im­pacts the beer. Broad­en­ing your choices is es­pe­cially help­ful if you’re in the habit of us­ing the same set of yeasts for most of your beers. An­other vari­a­tion on this ex­per­i­ment is to use a smaller set of yeasts but in­tro­duce the ad­di­tional vari­a­tion of fer­men­ta­tion tem­per­a­ture. This is most in­ter­est­ing when ap­plied to Ger­man weizen or Bel­gian strains, be­cause their char­ac­ter tends to be more tem­per­a­ture de­pen­dent in terms of whether they fa­vor es­ters or phe­nols. Try this out a time or two, and you’ll have a much stronger feel for yeast char­ac­ter. This will not only help you make bet­ter beer; you’ll also have a deeper ap­pre­ci­a­tion for all the beer you drink.

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