Author Topic: Troubleshooting my pale ale  (Read 2272 times)

Offline madscientist

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Troubleshooting my pale ale
« on: December 24, 2011, 12:34:49 PM »
So back on 11-11-11 I brewed a pale ale.  It's been just over 2 weeks in the bottle, and it's good... but it's missing something.  The best way I can describe it is that it's a little "thin."  It has great head and carbonation, but to me it just tastes like something is missing.

The recipe is as follows (Partial Mash)
5 gal batch
3 gal boil

Grains:
2.5 lb American 2-Row
0.5 lb Crystal 40
3 lb light DME
1 lb light DME @ (Late addition, 30 min)

Mashed at 154-155 for 60min at a ratio of 1.8 qt/lb
Towards the end of the mash i noticed the temp slipping down below 150 so I added a few cups of hot water to get it back up.
Batch sparged with 0.51gal and 1.50 gal at 168.  (Not sure how exact I was with the temperature here. 

Hops:
0.5 oz Simcoe @ 60 min
0.3 Amarillo @ 20 min
0.3 Cascade @ 20 min
0.3 Amarillo @ 10 min
0.3 Cascade @ 10 min
0.3 Simcoe @ 10 min
0.5 Amarillo @ 5 min
0.5 Cascade @ 5 min
0.5 Simcoe @ 5min
0.5 Amarillo @ 0 min
0.5 Cascade @ 0 min
0.5 Simcoe @ 0 min

Chilled wort to ~ 60 deg and pitched 1 bottle of East Coast Yeast (ECY 10) Old Newark Ale
Primary: 10 days (Temp roughly 68-72).  Tried to keep it down with a swamp cooler... may have gone down to 63 at one point.  I kept it up around 70-72 towards the end of fermentation.
Secondary: 10 Days (Temp probably around 70-72).
Dry Hopped for 7 days with 1.4 oz Amarillo, 1.4oz cascade, and 0.7 oz simcoe.

OG: Measured was around 1.03, but I got a low reading because I neglected to really mix up the wort and top off water really well before pitching.  I topped up to 5 gallons.
Anticipated OG was 1.050.
FG: 1.012 at bottling time.

Carbonation: 5oz corn sugar (it has now been in bottles for roughly 3 weeks).

So I think I did everything ok... the thing that concerns me is maybe my temperature control.  Everything is always cleaned with oxyclean and then sanitized.  I was concerned about the low OG reading, but I've read a lot where if you don't mix up the wort really well, then you can get a low reading.  Even if I removed the grains, my OG should still be 1.03. 

The hop flavor/profile is great.  But I still think it's missing something.  Based on the process what would people recommend?  Add another malt?  (Victory or munich or something else), increase the amount of crystal?  What would cause this beer to have such a "thin" taste to it.  I really hope it didn't get infected because I have given some out as christmas gifts.  I don't think infection is the issue personally, because it's still a decent beer, just not what I expected.  Then again, my level of expectations for my beers are 100x higher than anyone I would give it to. 

Thanks and Merry Christmas.
Homebrewed since 2010

Offline euge

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Re: Troubleshooting my pale ale
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2011, 12:58:16 PM »
First I was like "infection?", but the lack of an accurate OG reading is concerning me. You don't know for sure what it actually was. Something could have happened with the mash and lauter. Anyway mash temps not so worrying; but with a mash on the thin side it probably was more fermentable.

I'm sure you'll find the answer.
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Offline madscientist

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Re: Troubleshooting my pale ale
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2011, 01:16:45 PM »
Hmm... ok.  I gave some to a friend who's a homebrewer, so I'll be getting some feedback from him.  My Celebartion ale clone which is in the fermenter was brewed the same way (Partial mash), and I hit 1.063 for my OG (anticipated was 1.066).  So i'll see how this one comes out. 
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Offline dannyjed

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Re: Troubleshooting my pale ale
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2011, 06:36:02 PM »
After looking at your fermentables, you would need about 80-85% efficiency on the two-row and crystal to get a OG of 1.050.  My guess is that your OG was somewhere around 1.040 and that would seem thin for a pale ale.  Next time add another lb. of DME or two-row and see if that helps.
Dan Chisholm

Offline madscientist

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Re: Troubleshooting my pale ale
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2011, 08:20:39 PM »
After looking at your fermentables, you would need about 80-85% efficiency on the two-row and crystal to get a OG of 1.050.  My guess is that your OG was somewhere around 1.040 and that would seem thin for a pale ale.  Next time add another lb. of DME or two-row and see if that helps.

Yea, I think i've started to realize that I need a bit more DME/base malt.  However I had a few more pale ales tonight, and it as much better than a few days ago, so I'm guessing that it needed some additional conditioning time too.
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Offline madscientist

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Re: Troubleshooting my pale ale
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2011, 09:02:54 AM »
Lots of positive reviews from the beer I gave out, so it looks like the additional conditioning time helped.  Also proving that once again, I'm my own worst critic.
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Offline euge

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Re: Troubleshooting my pale ale
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2011, 01:40:11 PM »
Lots of positive reviews from the beer I gave out, so it looks like the additional conditioning time helped.  Also proving that once again, I'm my own worst critic.

Amen to that. I am my own harshest critic.

Drink it up and make any changes you see fit man. Sounds like you got some beer on your hands. :D
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

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Offline gmac

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Re: Troubleshooting my pale ale
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2011, 03:26:59 PM »
I find I really like a pound of light Munich in my pale ales.  I think a lot of commercial examples use some Munich as well.  You could add some or see if you can find a Munich extract to make up your extra pound you need.  You're probably right about conditioning too.  I always find the last glass out of the keg was the best one. 

Offline morticaixavier

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« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2011, 07:37:58 PM »
I find I really like a pound of light Munich in my pale ales.  I think a lot of commercial examples use some Munich as well.  You could add some or see if you can find a Munich extract to make up your extra pound you need.  You're probably right about conditioning too.  I always find the last glass out of the keg was the best one. 

I see your one pound of munich and raise you all munich (+ a little crystal) nice malty base to support all those hops
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Offline gmac

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Re: !
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2011, 08:01:59 PM »
I see your one pound of munich and raise you all munich (+ a little crystal) nice malty base to support all those hops

OK, I'll call.
I've got a starter of WLP002 ready for Thursday and not enough pale malt.  I've been wavering between using some Pilsner or trying an all Munich brew.  I will give all Munich a try in pale ale (plus a bit of crystal and maybe just a touch of home-made amber).

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: !
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2011, 10:01:47 PM »
I see your one pound of munich and raise you all munich (+ a little crystal) nice malty base to support all those hops

OK, I'll call.
I've got a starter of WLP002 ready for Thursday and not enough pale malt.  I've been wavering between using some Pilsner or trying an all Munich brew.  I will give all Munich a try in pale ale (plus a bit of crystal and maybe just a touch of home-made amber).

sounds good to me. I have been really enjoying my ordinary bitter recipe which is 6.5 lb munich and .5 lb crystal 40 with an f***load of hops at 15, 10, 5, 0 and keg hop. yum.
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Offline madscientist

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Re: Troubleshooting my pale ale
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2011, 06:35:23 AM »
Thanks everyone for all the suggestions.  This beer will be definately brewed again with some adjustments.  I think I will try a bit of munich too. 
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Offline roguejim

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Re: Troubleshooting my pale ale
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2011, 09:41:57 PM »
Frankly, back when I bottled, I never drank a beer after just two weeks in the bottle that wasn't thin.  There was always a profound difference after an additional 1to 2
weeks.