American Pale Ale — Snowbirds Flee!! Pale Ale

American Pale Ale #1

Last summer I planted 3 hops vines.  They grow well here in Maine, and I thought it would be fun to give it a shot.  I did not expect much of a harvest the first year, but I did get a couple ounces of hops, some Nugget, and Cascade.   Hopefully this coming summer, now that the rhizomes will be more established, I will get a better harvest.  However, since I had some homegrown hops, I had to make a beer to to show them off.  I also had 10# of 2 row barley from Malteurop I had never tried, so it just seemed natural to make an American pale ale.

I am not really a hop head, but I do enjoy a good pale ale from time to time.  A beer that featured hops that shows off the classic citrus/piney taste and aroma of American hops was what I was shooting for.  Nugget makes a nice bittering hop, and while I did not know the alpha acid compliment of my Nugget hops, I had some storebought Nugget hops that I could supplement with to give me a better idea of my bittering component.  Some of the farmers in the area grow hops, and I was able to get both Cascade, and my personal favorite American hop, Centennial.  So, I used those to build the flavor and aroma components of the hopping schedule.  I also brewed this on the day we had our first snow here, which happened to be Halloween.  Thus the name.  Please be aware, the alpha acid credited to these hops maybe off, but from the flavor/aroma portion, it is really not as critical, so this is my best guess.

Also, a comment about the glass.  My parents were traveling in Europe this past fall, and they met someone who hand blows glassware, saw the odd shape, which they were told was to more comfortably fit the hand, and decided to get my brother and I both .

10.00 lb      Pale Malt (2 Row) Malteurop (1.8 SRM)     Grain        97.56 %
0.25 lb       Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (60.0 SRM)     Grain        2.44 %
0.50 oz       Nugget — home [10.00 %]  (60 min)        Hops         14.9 IBU
0.50 oz       Nugget [12.20 %]  (60 min)                Hops         18.2 IBU
0.50 oz       Cascade [8.70 %]  (20 min)           Hops         7.9 IBU
0.50 oz       Cascade [8.70 %]  (10 min)           Hops         5.2 IBU
0.25 oz       Cenntenial [9.20 %]  (5 min)        Hops         1.4 IBU
0.50 oz       Cenntenial [9.20 %]  (1 min)        Hops         0.6 IBU

0.50 oz       Cenntenial  [9.20 %]  (Dry Hop)

1 Pkgs        Safale (Fermentis #05)                    Yeast-Ale

Beer was mashed at 154, single infusion.  OG: 1.052, FG: 1.010.  ABV: 5.4%.  Fermented in mid 60′s.  This beer was kegged, and I put 0.5 oz of Centennial in a large teaball, and dropped that in the keg.

Tasting:  The beer is a nice golden color with some copper tones depending on the light.  It has a nice thick, white head that just hangs around and laces down the glass.   The first thing on the aroma is the grapefruit followed by a touch of pine from the Centennial dry hop.  My favorite American hop did not disappoint.  There is also a certain oiliness to the first sip, which I think is also the dry hopping.  The taste of the beer has some nice sweet malt with the citrusy hops right behind it on the initial taste, and finishes dry with a decent amount of bitterness.   My father was out visiting over the holidays, and he used to really enjoy IPA’s, but over the past few years, they have gotten just too hoppy for his taste.  He paid me the compliment of saying, “Wow, it is hoppy, but you can drink more then one.”  Of course, that is what he proceeded to do!

Critique:  I am pretty happy with this beer, and would use this as the base for my American pale ales in the future.  It goes down easy, finishes dry, and has a very pleasing bitterness to it.  I was also quite pleased with this malt, and would definitely use this again in any beer where I am looking for more of clean/sweet malt taste.  Pretty basic recipe, but then again, simple is often the best.

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