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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Great American Pale Ale Experiment
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Old 03-20-2008, 11:59 PM   #1
james3
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Default Great American Pale Ale Experiment

Hey everybody!! I’m in the process of designing an experiment to get a better understanding of everything that goes into making beer from the ingredients to the processes. The main reason is to increase my knowledge of everything beer based on personal experience as opposed to theory or the results of others. I think this will give me a better understanding of this art and allow me to hone my skills, so tell me what you guys think! Any comments and or suggestions are all welcome and appreciated!

p.s. I have 5 one gallon carboys that I plan on fermenting in and the only thing different in each carboy is going to be the variable listed below in each experiment.

Ultimate Goals
• Get empirical data on malt/hop profiles and brewing processes
• Create a recipe for a top notch APA based on the results from experiments


APA Experiment Part I (malt i)
Variables (grain bill)
• Base Malt
• Base Malt + Aromatic
• Base Malt + Biscuit
• Base Malt + Crystal 15
• Base Malt + Crystal 60

Goals
• determine what each crystal/specialty malt contributes to finished product


APA Experiment Part II (malt ii)
Variables (grain bill)
• Base Malt + Munich
• Base Malt + Toasted
• Base Malt + Victory
• Base Malt + Vienna
• Base Malt + Wheat

Goals
• determine what each crystal/specialty malt contributes to finished product
• choose which malts from experiment i and experiment ii to include in final APA


APA Experiment Part III (hops)
Variables (hop flavor and aroma)
• Amarillo
• Cascade
• Centennial
• Summit

Goals
• gain a better understanding of each hop’s defining characteristics
• choose which hops to include in final product


APA Experiment Part IV (mash temp)
Variables (light body to full body)
• 150
• 152
• 154
• 156

Goals
• determine which mash temperature appeals to my tastes for APA


More experiments to come (e.g. fermentation temps, oxygen amounts, yeast pitching rates, etc.) once I have a better understanding of ingredients. After experiments are done I plan on fine tuning my recipe to make sure everything works together!

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Old 03-21-2008, 12:10 AM   #2
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you are going to be a busy boy
congrats on the enthusiasm

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Old 03-21-2008, 12:12 AM   #3
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Keep notes.

The original advice I was given was change only one thing at a time until you understand what your changes are really doing. It seems to me that is what you are doing and so I applaude your focus. I hope you can stick to it.

Another approach is to just brew like crazy, keep notes and pay attention. In time you will learn a great deal that way too. I think brewing is a bit science, a bit art and always fun.

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Old 03-21-2008, 02:41 AM   #4
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I always wanted to do something like this but man, it's gonna be a long road. I thought about how I'd mash individual portions at the same time. I thought of using 5 containers immersed in my larger rectangular cooler. I'd regulate the mash temp with a larger water bath inside the cooler. Then you have to sparge them all individually, and boil. Ugh.

If you stay sane throughout the ordeal, I'd recommend having as many homebrewers over for the blind taste test. If not, at least have someone else prepare your samples so you can taste them without preconceptions.

I'm curious what percentage of the bill are you planning for the specialties? 10%, 20%? I'd think you'd want to exagerate just a bit to really taste it.

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Old 03-21-2008, 03:24 AM   #5
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James3 I like your approach to things. I wish I had time to do it myself. I'd love to hear how this turns out. Definitely post updates when you have them. And keep up the good work!

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Old 03-21-2008, 03:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
If you stay sane throughout the ordeal, I'd recommend having as many homebrewers over for the blind taste test. If not, at least have someone else prepare your samples so you can taste them without preconceptions.

I'm curious what percentage of the bill are you planning for the specialties? 10%, 20%? I'd think you'd want to exagerate just a bit to really taste it.
i do plan on having taste tests so i have more opinions to base my decisions off of. and i thought about exaggerating the amounts of specialty grains, but i don't want it to be too cloying or anything like that from putting too much in so i'm just going with 10 percent for the specialty grains since it's the max recommended on beersmith for grains like aromatic malt. i will do one batch that is just base malt so i should be able to taste the differences. thanks for the ideas!
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Old 03-21-2008, 03:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by explosivebeer
James3 I like your approach to things. I wish I had time to do it myself. I'd love to hear how this turns out. Definitely post updates when you have them. And keep up the good work!
thanks for the support!! i'll definitely keep you guys updated!
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Old 05-22-2008, 08:28 PM   #8
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How is this going? Any updates?

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Old 05-22-2008, 08:37 PM   #9
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I have been planning on doing something like your Part III hop experiment. I have a base APA recipe that is very popular around my house and I am just going to change the hops in it every time I make it to become better aquainted with each one. I did Centennial last time and I am drinking that now and loving it. I have the Amarillos to do the next one on order. I use the same ones all the way through so there is no interferance and I plan to do this until I run out of new hop varieties that can be used for bittering and aroma.

Be sure to keep us updated on this as it goes on, I am especially interested in the mash temp experiment.

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Old 05-22-2008, 09:42 PM   #10
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I applaud you for your efforts.

Looking at part 1 of the experiment, I think you could mash just the base grains, then split the resulting wort into 5 parts and steep the specialty grains and ferment in 1 gallon jugs. It would speed the process up and give you an idea of what each grain brings to the table with out having to do 5 different mashes.

Just a thought. Let us know how it goes.

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