Author Topic: Drying out an APA  (Read 1694 times)

Offline gmac

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Drying out an APA
« on: October 02, 2012, 09:45:44 AM »
I normally use about 1/2 lb of crystal malt in IPA/APA.  It could be 1/2 lb of C40 or a blend of various crystals depending on what taste I want to create.
But, I'm wondering what would happen if I left out the crystal entirely?  I'm just thinking of making a drier pale ale without any sweetness.  I'm looking to make something fairly malty but dry, a session style beer with good hop character but decent balance for fall.  In particular I'm considering the following:

4.5 lbs 2-row
4.5 lbs Munich 1
20 g Centennial @ 60
28 g Centennial @ 10
28 g Centennial @ flameout
WLP007
Mash at 152 for 60 mins.

I guess I'm wondering if the maltyness of the Munich would make it malty enough without the sweetness of the crystal.  Or, is crystal just absolutely essential for an APA/IPA?  I've done IPAs with almost all Munich and just a touch of crystal and they've been good but I'm thinking 50/50 for this attempt.
Please let me know what you think.
Thanks

Offline garc_mall

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Re: Drying out an APA
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2012, 10:04:16 AM »
I did a "APA" with 35% munich and no crystal. It turned out pretty amber, and I started referring to it as an american amber. I loved the beer, so did a lot of people that tried it, but it didn't do so well at competitions, coming across as too dry. I don't think it helped that American ambers are supposed to be sweet, but I think it ended up on the dry side for an APA as well. However, if you don't plan on entering it in a competition, I love that blend, and I think the maltiness of munich can really support the hops and make for a more interesting beer.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Drying out an APA
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2012, 12:17:29 PM »
From the first hoppy beer I've brewed, I've reduced the amount of crystal malt in each successive batch. Now I won't even let crystal malt in the same room as my IPA/APA/XPA's any more. I just don't like the sweetness. Right now I go with about 25% Munich and 10% Victory in my IPA, and my next XPA is going to be all Maris Otter with some rye and flaked barley to fill out the body.

I'd be willing to bet your beer is going to turn out damn tasty.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline denny

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Re: Drying out an APA
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2012, 12:23:35 PM »
If even a little crystal malt is making your beer too sweet, you're not using enough hops!  I really like the flavor I get from using crystal in APA/AIPA.  I just add more hops to balance it out.
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Online blatz

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Re: Drying out an APA
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2012, 12:37:48 PM »
If even a little crystal malt is making your beer too sweet, you're not using enough hops!  I really like the flavor I get from using crystal in APA/AIPA.  I just add more hops to balance it out.

here here.  I can't imagine a half lb of xtal  leaving an APA too sweet unless you don't have enough IBUs!
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Online hoser

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Re: Drying out an APA
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2012, 12:58:35 PM »
When I think "drying out an APA" it is more a function of mash temperature and attenuation of the yeast, no?  I believe you are talking more about creating dextrins and mouthfeel with the crystal malt?  I think it is honestly a matter of personal preference. With the WLP007 at 152F (knowing that yeast rather well) regardless of whether you use crystal malt or not, I would be surprised if you don't get near 80% attenuation. Which most people would say is "dry," but will it be thin and flabby?  With 50% Munich, I doubt it. I recently brewed a Nelson Sauvin APA with 80% MO, 10% Munich, 6%Victory, and 4% Wheat.  It turned a deep golden copper (per BJCP APAs can border on being Ambers, there is some overlap in the style) with nich malt complexity, but finishes crisp and dry.  I am thinking this will be my base malt recipe for APAs from now on.  Certainly, hopping rates can create some of this "dry" mouthfeel from the tannins and the bittering provided by the hops.  It is all a function of balance.  I suppose you could always brew 2 recipes with the same hopping regime: one with 50:50 2-row:Munich and the other with 80-90% base malt, and 10% crystal with some other combination of malt (maybe, 10% Munich?). Then see which you like more?
« Last Edit: October 02, 2012, 04:38:00 PM by hoser »

Offline erockrph

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Re: Re: Drying out an APA
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2012, 03:59:20 PM »
If even a little crystal malt is making your beer too sweet, you're not using enough hops!  I really like the flavor I get from using crystal in APA/AIPA.  I just add more hops to balance it out.

here here.  I can't imagine a half lb of xtal  leaving an APA too sweet unless you don't have enough IBUs!
Now that I've made the jump to all grain, I may have to give crystal a shot again. It could very well be that it was the combination of crystal plus extract that pushed the sweetness over the edge for me.
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Offline gmac

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Re: Drying out an APA
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2012, 05:35:21 PM »
If even a little crystal malt is making your beer too sweet, you're not using enough hops!  I really like the flavor I get from using crystal in APA/AIPA.  I just add more hops to balance it out.

I'm sure you're right, you usually are :)
Thing is, I don't want to add more hops.  I want to reduce the hops and keep balance which is why I wanted to back down the crystal.  I like the flavour and aroma of hops but I'm not as ecstatic about over the top bitterness. 
I'm not unhappy with my current APAs as much as I want to make something that is a bit more refreshing, more easy drinking for my friends who aren't as into craft beers.  I've tried doing blonds etc but I want a bit more hop character.

Offline thebigbaker

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Re: Drying out an APA
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2012, 05:45:12 PM »
Thing is, I don't want to add more hops.  I want to reduce the hops and keep balance which is why I wanted to back down the crystal.  I like the flavour and aroma of hops but I'm not as ecstatic about over the top bitterness. 
I'm not unhappy with my current APAs as much as I want to make something that is a bit more refreshing, more easy drinking for my friends who aren't as into craft beers.  I've tried doing blonds etc but I want a bit more hop character.

My wife doesn't like bitter beers, so I've been doing a basic APA w/ a little Magnum up front and load all my Cascade in the last 10 minutes (10 and flame out).  Also add 2oz of Cascade for dry hop.  Very hoppy beer w/ fairly low bitterness (compared to my regular APA that I brew for myself), low enough that my wife really likes it. 
Jeremy Baker

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Offline Mark G

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Re: Drying out an APA
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2012, 07:10:13 AM »
I've been playing around with the grain bill on my APA the last few times I've brewed it. The last two iterations have had no crystal, just MO, 2-row, Munich, and wheat in varying ratios. I'm very pleased with the results. There's plenty of malt character. Give it a shot and see if you like it without the crystal malts. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Mark Gres