Author Topic: Why the Pale Not / An American Pale Ale  (Read 1453 times)

Offline AlbieTom

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Why the Pale Not / An American Pale Ale
« on: March 12, 2017, 11:25:23 PM »
So I just got my results back on a beer I submitted for competition and it came back lower than the last time I had brewed a similar beer. I changed the recipe and this time was a full mash and not a partial mash. I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on the recipe, perhaps I skewed from style unintentionally.

Score Received was only a 24, which is strange to me as it seems to be to style, I'm waiting for the judge notes. I will post them when they are received.

Recipe
10 lbs 2-Row
1   lb Caramel 40L
9   oz Sucrose
.5  oz German Magnum (13.3 AA) - 60 min
.3  oz Cascade (6.7 AA) - 30 min
1   oz Willamette (4.6 AA) - 30 min
.7  oz Cascade (6.7 AA) - 5 min
2   oz Falconers Flight - Dry Hopped 3 Days

I made some water adjustments
8.5 Gallons Distilled Water
11.2 g gypsum
2.4  g Calcium Chloride
5.6  g Epsom
2.4  g Calcium Carbonate
2.4  g Baking Soda

Mashed at 148 F for 60 minutes and did a mash out at 170 for 10 minutes.

Used WLP001 California Ale Yeast and did a 1.5 L starter

Finally it was Cold Crashed for 7 days and Gelatin was used to clarify

Pre Boil Gravity 1.045
Post Boil           1.062
Final Gravity      1.010

5 Gallon Batch

Any advice would be greatly appreciated if there is anything glaringly bad.

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Why the Pale Not / An American Pale Ale
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2017, 01:24:12 AM »
I see that your starting gravity was a bit high and your finishing gravity a bit low. I anticipate that the alcohol perception may have been a teeny bit high. In addition, the low finishing gravity is likely due to the sucrose you added. Most APA recipes are a little smaller beers and they don't use a simple sugar. I also see that you mashed at a relatively low temp. I find that mashing in the low 150's works for me and produces an acceptable attenuation and body.

I'm not going to decipher your IBU level, but it seems like it might be low. I aim for 45 IBU's in my 1.052 APA and this recipe will demand more IBU's than that.

I see that you tried to boost the alkalinity to keep the mash pH from dropping too low due to the big dose of gypsum, but you used calcium carbonate (chalk).  Chalk does not dissolve in the mash or wort and does not deliver the intended alkalinity. Remove that mineral from your lexicon and rely on lime or baking soda in those rare cases where you need alkalinity.   
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Offline Bob357

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Re: Why the Pale Not / An American Pale Ale
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2017, 04:04:39 AM »
6.8% ABV and pushing the high limit of IBUs for an APA, it was likely perceived as an IPA. Especially with the high sulfate to chloride ratio( about 7.3:1) driving the bitterness. I use a 3:1 ratio even in my IPAs with good results.

A few calculations show a PH of around 5.5 without the chalk and baking soda and over 6.2 with both if the chalk was in solution. This assumes 4 gal. strike water and 4.5 gal. sparge water.

Losing the sucrose, chalk and baking soda, adding 2 or 3 ml Lactic Acid 88% in the mash and cutting the gypsum in half would have yielded a reasonable pH and brought you into style. Lowering the IBUs to 40 ish wouldn't have hurt either.

Sounds like something I did when I started building water from RO. Hope this helps
« Last Edit: March 13, 2017, 04:43:43 AM by Bob357 »
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Why the Pale Not / An American Pale Ale
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2017, 03:06:59 PM »
While I agree with the comments above, I would expect that a 24-scoring beer has a bigger problem than being slightly out of style. An APA would be pretty sensitive to oxidation - is this a keg fill, or bottle-conditioned? How long since it has been packaged? How did it taste - any chance there was diacetyl or any other off-flavors?
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Offline AlbieTom

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Re: Why the Pale Not / An American Pale Ale
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2017, 03:14:38 PM »
While I agree with the comments above, I would expect that a 24-scoring beer has a bigger problem than being slightly out of style. An APA would be pretty sensitive to oxidation - is this a keg fill, or bottle-conditioned? How long since it has been packaged? How did it taste - any chance there was diacetyl or any other off-flavors?

This was bottle conditioned, no racking to secondary, just straight to bottle from primary after a cold crash. It had been bottled beginning of Feb, and it was judged last week, the bottles I have are still very good. No Diacetyl or off flavors that I can note, frankly this beer has been nearly depleted because people won't stop drinking it.

I will post the judge notes as soon as I have them it should be later today.


Bob357-My IBU calculator on beer smith put me at around 48 IBUs, which is definitely high. I'll try the lactic acid next time as well. Thank you.

mabrungard - I will throw out the chalk and take your other notes into account for the next batch.  A higher mash temp will be a good test for this.

Offline denny

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Re: Why the Pale Not / An American Pale Ale
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2017, 04:04:44 PM »
Keep in mind that Experimental Brewing showed that software IBU estimates can be off by as much as 40%.  Don't just assume you have 48 IBU...either go by what it tatses like or get it analyzed.
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Offline AlbieTom

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Re: Why the Pale Not / An American Pale Ale
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2017, 07:36:37 PM »
Here are the judge sheets. So seems like there are some good notes, I will be heading home tonight to try this beer again and try and see if I can taste what they are tasting. Truly some of these come off as odd because I don't recall any of these. I will admit my boil was too aggressive, as the first judge suspects. I'm not sure how that caused the aeration as I cooled it incredibly quickly with an immersion chiller. As for the astringency, I will be paying closer attention to my pH for the next batch of beer I brew.

The Head Judge


Second Judge


I want to thank everyone for your comments and thoughts on the recipe. I'll take all of these and head back ot the drawing board.

Offline santoch

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Re: Why the Pale Not / An American Pale Ale
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2017, 04:03:25 AM »
It looks like there was more prominent malt aroma than hop flavors, in a style that demands hop presence.

Also, the cloudiness and under-attenuation noted by the first judge indicates that the yeast probably hasn't completely flocculated and in fact may still be working on the beer, OR they found the crystal to be a bit cloyingly sweet.   Regardless, there's really no need for table sugar in this style. Folks use it in IIPAs to help make them drier and more drinkable, but that's because those beers are starting way bigger than this one is.
It will only add alcohol, which accentuates the bitterness but not the hop flavor, and even could present itself as an increased astringency/harshness.  I agree with the likelihood of astringency due to the mash pH.

So, I agree you should drop the sugar, and also suggest you reduce the Crystal to 1/2 a lb, then target an OG more towards 1.051-54 by adjusting the amount of base malt as needed.

Hop wise, I would combine the 30 min cascade addition back with the 5, move the Willamette to 10, and add a couple more oz of late boil hops @ 15 and 0 mins for additional hop flavor.  Even though the judges were saying the malt exceeded the hops, what they were really looking for was a more prominent hop flavor in the balance.  The bitterness presents later in the swallow, so by reducing the crystal and getting rid of the sugar as above, adjusting to be more hop flavor prominent will actually balance this beer better, whereas adding IBUs at 60 will only add bitterness, leaving the

A good heuristic for an APA is a 66%-75% BU:GU, which means at 1.053 you'd target around 35 - 39 IBUs. 
Compensate the IBUs by adjusting the 60 minute addition.  If you end up with some insanely small amt at 60 (like 3/16th oz), then make it a 1/4 oz and it to 55 or 50 so that you can keep a 1/4 oz minimum. 

Finally, absolutely listen to Martin on the water.

HTH-




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Offline chinaski

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Re: Why the Pale Not / An American Pale Ale
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2017, 12:44:09 AM »
Sounds like you are open to the feedback that judges and forum member provide- which is great.  Don't forget to also ask yourself if the beer is what you want it to be for your tastes.  Unless your intention is do be a competition brewer, I think its worth holding on to recipes that you like despite competition results.  Try a version addressing the feedback but have some of your own tasting notes from this version to compare to.  My 2 cents for what it's worth.

Offline duelerx

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Re: Why the Pale Not / An American Pale Ale
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2017, 02:51:50 AM »
Denny can a judge use a typewriter when filling a scoresheet?, OP scoresheets look readable but i see cases where it is not.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2017, 02:53:36 AM by duelerx »

Offline santoch

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Re: Why the Pale Not / An American Pale Ale
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2017, 03:00:05 AM »
Several years ago (proably 6 or 7), we tried using the electronic forms for a small (but important) competition here in WA (it was the Bert Grant competition, where the Gold Medal winners from all of the WA State comps for the previous year submit an entry for every gold they took in during the year). For most people (myself included, and I am a sw engr so I type for a living), it takes quite a bit longer to fill in the digital format judging forms than it does to write them out by hand.  It was a fun experiment but it showed that the electronic forms are impractical in real time.

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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Why the Pale Not / An American Pale Ale
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2017, 03:49:13 PM »
How great would it be for judges to have actual typewriters at the tables? CLACK CLACK CLACK CLACK


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Offline duelerx

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Re: Why the Pale Not / An American Pale Ale
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2017, 10:16:15 PM »
Several years ago (proably 6 or 7), we tried using the electronic forms for a small (but important) competition here in WA (it was the Bert Grant competition, where the Gold Medal winners from all of the WA State comps for the previous year submit an entry for every gold they took in during the year). For most people (myself included, and I am a sw engr so I type for a living), it takes quite a bit longer to fill in the digital format judging forms than it does to write them out by hand.  It was a fun experiment but it showed that the electronic forms are impractical in real time.

That's interesting and i did not think about it. If it is with typewriter i would not mind if i bring one even if i look sort of a hipster  ;D