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Old 07-10-2012, 03:10 AM   #1
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Default Ahem! What exactly is . . .

. . . a northwest pale ale?

I've been searching the forum and the internet for a general idea. Does this style actually exist (not a BJCP style of course) or is it just a marketing scheme by some of those northwest breweries (Rogue, Deschutes)? If it does exist, what qualifies a pale ale as "northwest"?

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Old 07-10-2012, 03:12 AM   #2
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I don't think there are specific style guidelines, but it's a hop forward pale ale, usually showcasing the pine/citrus character of the hops from that region.

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Old 07-10-2012, 03:16 AM   #3
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Pretty much. I have always thought of it as a light IPA.

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Old 07-10-2012, 03:30 AM   #4
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Being from the northwest I feel to be a northwest pale you have to hop exclusively with hops grown in the northwest. Willamette and cascade seem to dominate this "style" with a few others occasionally mixed in for complexity. There is still a lot of xenophobia around these parts and I am sure it is more marketing than anything. Still tasty beers though.

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Old 07-10-2012, 03:32 AM   #5
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While I dont know the exact answer I had some experience lately with Northwest ale yeast. My last brew was a pale ale. I was experimenting so I used Wyeast American Ale1056 in one 3 gallon fermentor and Northwest ale 1332 in the other, and then combined them in the keg. The grain bill was simple with light malt ( full extract recipe), 20 and 60 carmel malts, and I used cascade and falconers hops- a very basic pale ale recipe. I tasted each batch at the end of fermentation just prior to kegging. The 1056 was very basic- it produces a very clean crisp flavor which allowed the hops to come through and had a very familiar generic pale ale taste. The 1332 on the other hand was very different. It was much more complex, and had a malty, fruitier taste (almost a slighty wine-like flavor). It amazed me how different the two fermentors tasted considering they were from the same recipe and fermented under Exact same conditions.

When i first kegged the beer, i let it sit for a week and tried it- the flavors hadnt quite mingled yet but it was ok. I left on vacation, and when i came back the beer was amazing, my best batch yet. The brew got muvh better with age, and 6 weeks after brewing the beer (3 wks of fermenting and 3 weeks in the keg, it was truly incredible.I believe the IBUs were a little high at 36, so next time i will tone them down to around 30-32, but other than that it was great. It reminded me of Left hand sawtooth ale, which is my favorite beer.

So if you feel like brewing with this ale, give it a shot, it worked out great for me! :-)

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Old 07-10-2012, 03:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri_Rage View Post
I don't think there are specific style guidelines, but it's a hop forward pale ale, usually showcasing the pine/citrus character of the hops from that region.
Thanks Yuri.

But aren't almost all US hops grown in the Washington/Oregon/Idaho region? Why would the NW style be limited to just pine/citrus when there are many other US hop styles that don't show those characteristics?
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Old 07-10-2012, 03:37 AM   #7
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And, deschutes uses british yeast in their NWPA.

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Old 07-10-2012, 03:38 AM   #8
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There are 2 brews i always think of as a typical cali ale. one is American amber ale. The other is steam beer which is a lager fermented at cooler ale temps
http://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/style10.php#1b
http://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/style07.php#1b

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Old 07-10-2012, 03:42 AM   #9
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There is a brewery in Duluth, MN that makes what they call a north shore style Pale Ale. Nt quite sure what that means since none of the hops, yeast or malt is grown or made here.

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Old 07-10-2012, 04:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaz4121 View Post
Thanks Yuri.

But aren't almost all US hops grown in the Washington/Oregon/Idaho region? Why would the NW style be limited to just pine/citrus when there are many other US hop styles that don't show those characteristics?
True. However, at least IMHO, the "style" connotes strong pine/citrus flavor and aroma over grassy, spicy, flowery, or herbal notes.
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