Ahhh, Pale Ale. Tasty. Refreshing. Light, but still hoppy. It’s just a damn good style of beer. Better yet, it’s really freaking easy to brew.
The basic steps are like all basic advanced-amateur beers: grains, malt, hops, 60 min boil, a week in the fermenter (the Ale Pail), and a week in bottles… pop the top and enjoy.
Our first crack at Pale came hot on the heels of our Rockin’ Red concoction (from the last post – blame the kit). We had seen a very similar brew done for us in the class, and we based our recipe on theirs, one “Happy Pappy” Pale Ale that the dude said similar to the original Manny’s recipe. While that may be true, our brew neither looked nor tasted like Manny’s – although it DID taste like beer, so maybe that’s the comparison that he was drawing – but it was damn good nonetheless.
Anyway. We bust out the sanitizer and clean the turkey pot, then t-bag 9oz. each of Crystal 20L, Crystal 40L and Cara-Pils into 4 gallons of water, at 150 degrees, for 20 minutes. With knees bent, we remove the t-bag, bring the wort to a boil, and shut it down. We successfully integrate 3.3 lbs of LME and 3lbs of Gold Light DME into the hot wort with some vigorous spoon-work, and crank the flame back to full.
The boil breaks, and in go half an oz of Amarillo hops. 30 minutes, and numerous beers later another half oz. gets dropped in. 45 minutes sees the addition of an oz. of Cascade and a tbsp. of Irish Moss, and 55 sees the final addition of another oz. of Cascade, and a half oz. of Amarillo.
We wait another 5 (for a 60 minute total boil-time) and remove the heat. The wort-chiller goes in, and the hops come out, and we cool the beautiful smelling wort down to about 80 degrees. The contents of the pot are then introduced to the Ale Pail, which is already holding an additional two gallons of water. The final addition is a tube of liquid yeast (We used Safe Ale 05), which I HIGHLY recommend; it’s simple, easy to store, and tastes great. Actually, the beer that we made with it tastes great, the yeast just tastes like yeast.
The hydrometer reveals that our OG is right on the money at 1.050, and our reading eight days later shows a final gravity of 1.012, giving us an approximate ABV of 5.1% – about the same as the Red Ale.
We bottle, label and wait, and a tasting about a week after bottling reveals a light, tasty beer with a medium amount of hops, a fresh and crisp mouthfeel (yeah, that’s a real thing that you say about beer) and a nice, clean, banana-free finish.
Not bad for our second brew ever.