Thoughts on my first Pale Ale recipe

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

primalyeti

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2013
Messages
45
Reaction score
4
Location
Kelowna
Hey everyone,

I just recently got into homebrewing and I'm looking to brew a nice easy drinking pale ale for the hot summer months. Would love to get some feedback:

5 gallon batch
9.5lb 2 Row
0.75lb Crystal 20
0.75lb Munich
0.5oz Zeus @ 60m
0.75oz Cascade @ 20m
1oz Cashmere @ 0m
Safale S-04

Mash @ 150 for 60m
Est fermentation temp ~68f
Est ABV 5.1 (OG 1.051, FG 1.012)
Est IBU 35

The main goal is to make it a nice refreshing Pale Ale and not a light IPA

Thanks!
 

Gnomebrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
2,707
Reaction score
1,470
Location
Hobart
Recipe looks solid to me. I've never used cashmere, so can't comment there, but the malt bill looks good and the bitterness about right for the malt. You certainly won't end up with a light IPA - it's quite light on for late hops. I'd personally prefer Nottingham as a dry yeast over S-04, but opinions are well and truly divided on that one!
 

NSMikeD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2017
Messages
677
Reaction score
482
Location
Huntington
Are you making a British pale ale. I’ve used both 04 and Nottingham and like both. For British style I like maris otter malt which my LHBS carries or is that why you are using the Munich

cascade is a pretty bold and throws out a lot of grapefruit which makes this look more like an American pale ale.I prefer 05 for my American pale ales and IPAs. It’s. About cleaner and dryer and love it with cascade. I haven’t tried the other hops.
 

micraftbeer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2015
Messages
463
Reaction score
185
Location
Farmington Hills, MI
Grain bill is totally not what I was expecting when you said new brewer. It seems people put a little bit of everything when starting out (me included)- and then learn that's dumb when it hits their taste buds.

Whole recipe looks great. Cashmere I remember being pretty soft on bitterness. I don't know if this will be an odd combination, or just the right touch to give you different hop flavors, yet not be too overpowering.
 

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
4,174
Reaction score
2,570
Location
Bremen
In general, nice and simple, I like that!

But now some food for thought:
I would either go with an English yeast and noble hops (don't know Cashmere, but cascade would certainly be not within the range of a spicy noble hop character), or I would choose a clean yeast like us05 or bry97 to get an American type of ale.

I know tastes differ, but I don't like the combination of American hop flavour and British yeast expression.

I for myself would go with the British version. If so, do yourself a favour and use lallemand verdant IPA yeast. It is by far the best English tasting dry strain out there. Finally something that can compete with the liquid strains!
 
OP
P

primalyeti

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2013
Messages
45
Reaction score
4
Location
Kelowna
Some solid feedback here!

I'm definitely trying to make more of an American PA and not English. I didn't realize S-04 was for English beers, so I'll switch it to S-05. My LHBS only carries 5 different Fermentis dry yeasts and the Imperial Yeast lineup. The goal is to make sure it's crushable for the summer. I might even drop the grain bill a little bit to bring it under the 5% mark.

On that note, how would I alter this to make it English?
 

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
4,174
Reaction score
2,570
Location
Bremen
Some solid feedback here!

I'm definitely trying to make more of an American PA and not English. I didn't realize S-04 was for English beers, so I'll switch it to S-05. My LHBS only carries 5 different Fermentis dry yeasts and the Imperial Yeast lineup. The goal is to make sure it's crushable for the summer. I might even drop the grain bill a little bit to bring it under the 5% mark.

On that note, how would I alter this to make it English?
Imperial yeast is my favourite yeast manufacturer! Solid choice!

To make it English, you could basically leave the recipe as it is, lower the grain bill to reach about 4.3 abv and exchange all the hops (except for bittering additions) with a noble hop like for example the English classic Golding's. But saaz or Mittelfrüh would also work. Go for about 30 ibus and don't overdo the dry hopping. 0,5 to 1g per litre is plenty of dry hop for an English bitter.

Then swap the yeast to an English strain. Imperial a09 pub is my favourite and it doesn't need a starter if a fresh pack is used.

Otherwise verdant IPA.

You might also try to replace about five to ten percent of the grain bill with some English invert sugar syrup. That brings English flavour and boosts the attenuation.

Anyway, mash long and low as a09 has a relatively low attenuation, as most English strains have.
 

NSMikeD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2017
Messages
677
Reaction score
482
Location
Huntington
Some solid feedback here!

I'm definitely trying to make more of an American PA and not English. I didn't realize S-04 was for English beers, so I'll switch it to S-05. My LHBS only carries 5 different Fermentis dry yeasts and the Imperial Yeast lineup. The goal is to make sure it's crushable for the summer. I might even drop the grain bill a little bit to bring it under the 5% mark.

On that note, how would I alter this to make it English?
Broken rules have resulted in great beers. As a generality British ales have “bready malts and noble (subtle) hops. American ales tend to be drier and big hop profiles.

As I posted maris otter malt is the classic British style malt (ie bready). Crystal malt to add some flavor mouthfeel and complexity. Kent Golding is a classic pale ale hop. And as mentioned Nottingham or SafAle 04.
This is just a very basic combination, but I like brewing super basic the first time I brew a style so I can have a base understanding of how the ingredients play together. I’ve seen the Munich malts added like on your recipe. Go figure.

Mash about 151.

read up on water chemistry and profiles but don’t over think it or attempt to play with water just yet. For now just keep in mind that when you taste your beer it may be more bitter or more malty than you expected and it may have more to do with the compounds in your water rather than your ingredients or technique.

BYO tends to have good write ups on beer styles that I find useful to understand what is being attempted and why. There are other good resources including posting here but that’s the place I usually start with to get an a basic idea of the style.

PS: I mentioned dry yeasts. IMO dry yeast are very reliable, very good and help keep things simple. I still use dry yeast nearly exclusively.
 

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
4,174
Reaction score
2,570
Location
Bremen
Broken rules have resulted in great beers. As a generality British ales have “bready malts and noble (subtle) hops. American ales tend to be drier and big hop profiles.

As I posted maris otter malt is the classic British style malt (ie bready). Crystal malt to add some flavor mouthfeel and complexity. Kent Golding is a classic pale ale hop. And as mentioned Nottingham or SafAle 04.
This is just a very basic combination, but I like brewing super basic the first time I brew a style so I can have a base understanding of how the ingredients play together. I’ve seen the Munich malts added like on your recipe. Go figure.

Mash about 151.

read up on water chemistry and profiles but don’t over think it or attempt to play with water just yet. For now just keep in mind that when you taste your beer it may be more bitter or more malty than you expected and it may have more to do with the compounds in your water rather than your ingredients or technique.

BYO tends to have good write ups on beer styles that I find useful to understand what is being attempted and why. There are other good resources including posting here but that’s the place I usually start with to get an a basic idea of the style.

PS: I mentioned dry yeasts. IMO dry yeast are very reliable, very good and help keep things simple. I still use dry yeast nearly exclusively.
Sorry to be a bit blunt, but except for verdant IPA, there is simply no match in the dry yeast world for propperly flavourful expressive english liquid yeasts. It is just like this, I would love it to be different, but before verdant there was NOTHING within the range of propper english liquid yeast strains in dry form. I am pretty thankfull for Imperial Yeast bringing the ready to pitch package sizes, so their yeast is pretty much the same as dry yeasts handling wise, but still liquid.

Nottingham is just really bland, no character at all und muting hops. S 04 can be really great in a stout, but does not produce great bitters. It can be ok, but i never had a GREAT bitter brewed with S 04. Windsor is somehow ok-ish, but not great handling-wise and also a bit bland. Lallemand ESB is somehow similar to Windsor but I like it a bit better. Can make a nice English style IPA.

But none of them is close or even in the same league regarding ester expression as for example Imperial A09 or Lallemand Verdant IPA (having an AK brewed with it right atm). It is what it is, English beers live and die with the yeast and it's esters. If there are none, it might be ok to drink but never great.
 

NitrogenWidget

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2017
Messages
721
Reaction score
346
Location
WNY
still a newb.
For my own recipe's i've stuck with pale malt, pilsner malt and wheat malt. (with flaked oats or torrified wheat added)
i've decided i can't tell the difference between a beer made with pale vs pils so i go with whatever is available and on sale in bulk.

i picked up a couple pounds of crystal 20 to try out in a few of my session blondes and ales to see if they come out better or just different or if i can even really tell.

for munich malt I think i've only used that in octoberfest recipe's.
 

NSMikeD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2017
Messages
677
Reaction score
482
Location
Huntington
Sorry to be a bit blunt, but except for verdant IPA, there is simply no match in the dry yeast world for propperly flavourful expressive english liquid yeasts. It is just like this, I would love it to be different, but before verdant there was NOTHING within the range of propper english liquid yeast strains in dry form. I am pretty thankfull for Imperial Yeast bringing the ready to pitch package sizes, so their yeast is pretty much the same as dry yeasts handling wise, but still liquid.

Nottingham is just really bland, no character at all und muting hops. S 04 can be really great in a stout, but does not produce great bitters. It can be ok, but i never had a GREAT bitter brewed with S 04. Windsor is somehow ok-ish, but not great handling-wise and also a bit bland. Lallemand ESB is somehow similar to Windsor but I like it a bit better. Can make a nice English style IPA.

But none of them is close or even in the same league regarding ester expression as for example Imperial A09 or Lallemand Verdant IPA (having an AK brewed with it right atm). It is what it is, English beers live and die with the yeast and it's esters. If there are none, it might be ok to drink but never great.
I won’t disagree other than I was posting in a new brewer thread and IMO dry yeast makes more sense, at least as a recommendation vis a vis basic brewing. A new brewer may not have a reliable source that took proper care of the liquid yeast prior to getting their hands on it, nor be able to use it right away. Dry yeast stores and rehydrates reliably.

If we are going to get into the nuances of esters, then temperature control needs to be introduced, which IMO, is another unnecessary complexity to pile on a née brewer.

These are all good topics to discuss, as advanced

Fwiw all I used 20+ years ago was liquid yeast.
 

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
4,174
Reaction score
2,570
Location
Bremen
I won’t disagree other than I was posting in a new brewer thread and IMO dry yeast makes more sense, at least as a recommendation vis a vis basic brewing. A new brewer may not have a reliable source that took proper care of the liquid yeast prior to getting their hands on it, nor be able to use it right away. Dry yeast stores and rehydrates reliably.

If we are going to get into the nuances of esters, then temperature control needs to be introduced, which IMO, is another unnecessary complexity to pile on a née brewer.

These are all good topics to discuss, as advanced

Fwiw all I used 20+ years ago was liquid yeast.
That is why I love Imperial Yeast, it takes away the necessity of making a starter. I brewed a lot of great ales with A09, without any temperature control. Complete different league than any dry yeast I trie before.. and I really tried. Ok, if your ambient tempereature is far beyond 20C, then you got a problem, but also with dry yeasts. But if you have 18 to 20 C in your room and are about to brew a normal strangth bitter, then you are good to go without any further investment. Just pitch the whole pack of A09 and be done with it.
 
OP
P

primalyeti

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2013
Messages
45
Reaction score
4
Location
Kelowna
Tons of feedback, loving it, thank you guys so much!

With all that's been said, I could just as easily swap from S04 to Imperial A01 House. Also, should I nix the Munich and replace it with something else, wondering if it'll make it too "bready." Lastly, with that hop schedule and amount, will I get a nice balance flavour or will it be weak/too strong? I'd like it to taste balanced, and not a hop bomb.
 

Gnomebrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
2,707
Reaction score
1,470
Location
Hobart
Both questions are personal preference and depend on what you're trying to achieve.

I really like munich in American style pale ales. It give a bit more maltiness leading to a malt/hop balance that most of them seem to miss (an in-you-face hop bomb seems to be the modern standard).

I've never used A01 (or any other imperial yeast - I can't get them where I live) but will assume it's similar to other liquid English yeasts. It will lead to a slightly sweeter tasting beer that is more estery/fruity than a clean yeast like US-05 or Nottingham. I don't ever use S04 - not that it's bad, just that liquid yeasts are so much better if I want a British style and Notty is so much cleaner if I don't want esters. Either option will work in this beer, but with different results.

The recipe you started with was (IMO) balanced for a pale ale in terms of bitterness to maltiness, and slightly malt focused in terms of taste and aroma. Like an old-school APA rather than something from the last decade. With a 1oz dry hop and clean yeast it would be something similar to Sierra Nevada PA, without it, it'll lean a bit more to the malt.
 

NSMikeD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2017
Messages
677
Reaction score
482
Location
Huntington
Tons of feedback, loving it, thank you guys so much!

With all that's been said, I could just as easily swap from S04 to Imperial A01 House. Also, should I nix the Munich and replace it with something else, wondering if it'll make it too "bready." Lastly, with that hop schedule and amount, will I get a nice balance flavour or will it be weak/too strong? I'd like it to taste balanced, and not a hop bomb.
Not so quick. I would and stick to British malts but if you look up English pale recipes a number of them use Munich. So from what I can tell it’s up to you. I don’t think you can go wrong either way. One thing I have learned about German brewers is that many of their beers styles feature their malts. My LHBS steers me to Munich often.

I do know the Marris otter base malt is a go to breast malt English ales.


I use brewfather (BeerSmith before that) to give me in idea where the IBUs are coming in. Use any brewsoftware and then dial in the hops to your preference.
 

Gnomebrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
2,707
Reaction score
1,470
Location
Hobart
Your first decision should be what you're targeting:
Old school APA (assertive bitterness, good malt backbone, citrusy hop flavour and aroma).
English Pale Ale (assertive bitterness balanced by residual sweetness, good malt backbone, Earthy/floral/spicy hop flavour and aroma).
Hybrid (normally a more American malt and hop bill, with English yeast so the sweetness offsets some of the bitterness. A lot of newer APA's use English style yeasts).
Summer Ale/Blonde Ale/Golden Ale (Just enough bitterness to balance the malt. Not much in the way of specialty malts. Subtle hop flavour and aroma. Can be American or British).
Other? You don't have to fit a style!

I'd suggest you stick with the original recipe but change to Nottingham or US05 for the yeast.
 

Gnomebrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
2,707
Reaction score
1,470
Location
Hobart
Or go with the tried and true......Biermunchers Centennial Blonde Ale might fit what you're looking for
I've bumped it up to 4.7% and 25IBU and it's still a great beer.
 
OP
P

primalyeti

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2013
Messages
45
Reaction score
4
Location
Kelowna
Hmmm definitely either an old-school APA or a Summer Ale! I feel like my recipe could do either and the big differentiator would be the amount of hops, is that correct?
 

Gnomebrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
2,707
Reaction score
1,470
Location
Hobart
I don't know of any formal definitions of summer ale. In Australia they tend to be very pale (pils or pale malt with possibly some oats or wheat; typically no crystal malt), low 4's %ABV, low bitterness (teens to low 20's) with a good burst of fruity hop flavour and aroma.
 

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
4,174
Reaction score
2,570
Location
Bremen
If you want to swap the yeast and go all British with A09, you would need to tweak the recipe a bit to get it more fermentable. For now, I would stick to the apa and us05. Next time maybe something British to compare it against!
 

bwible

I drink, and I know things
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Oct 31, 2017
Messages
664
Reaction score
665
Location
Oxford
I’ve never used Cashmere.

“Its profile has some cascade-like notes, and is even sometimes called the “Super Cascade,” but it also has elements that don’t speak of cascade at all.
...
Cashmere is described as having delicate yet strong aromas of melon, coconut, citrus notes, such as sweet lemon, lime, lemon peel, or an edge of grapefruit. You may even notice some tropical whispers of pineapple. It may contain woody, spicy notes akin to coriander, especially when boiled.

Bitterness will remain smooth and clean.
...
Cashmere is a good dual-purpose variety. However, it shines most in late additions, such as knock out, whirlpool, and dry hopping.

Due to its low co-humulone levels, you can expect smooth bitterness with little astringency when used as a bittering addition. Little, if any, of its bright fruit flavors will make it through the boil of a bittering addition.

Later additions will preserve more of the aromas and flavors derived from volatile compounds. The later you use it, the more of the sweet citrus, melon, lemongrass, and coconut will come through.
...
There are no truly good substitutes for this hop. Cascade is probably the closest and safest bet, but still not a great substitution.
 

bwible

I drink, and I know things
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Oct 31, 2017
Messages
664
Reaction score
665
Location
Oxford
“I don't know of any formal definitions of summer ale.”

12A. British Golden Ale

Overall Impression: A hop-forward, average-strength to moderately-strong pale bitter. Drinkability and a refreshing quality are critical components of the style.

Aroma: Hop aroma is moderately low to moderately high, and can use any variety of hops – floral, herbal, or earthy English hops and citrusy American hops are most common. Frequently a single hop varietal will be showcased. Little to no malt aroma; no caramel. Medium-low to low fruity aroma from the hops rather than esters. Little to no diacetyl.

Appearance: Straw to golden in color. Good to brilliant clarity. Low to moderate white head. A low head is acceptable when carbonation is also low.

Flavor: Medium to medium-high bitterness. Hop flavor is moderate to moderately high of any hop variety, although citrus flavors are increasingly common. Medium-low to low malt character, generally bready with perhaps a little biscuity flavor. Caramel flavors are typically absent. Little to no diacetyl. Hop bitterness and flavor should be pronounced. Moderately-low to low esters. Medium-dry to dry finish. Bitterness increases with alcohol level, but is always balanced.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body. Low to moderate carbonation on draught, although bottled commercial versions will be higher. Stronger versions may have a slight alcohol warmth, but this character should not be too high.

Comments: Well-hopped, quenching beer with an emphasis on showcasing hops. Served colder than traditional bitters, this style was originally positioned as a refreshing summer beer, but is now often brewed year-round. Although early on the beers were brewed with English hops, increasingly American citrus-flavored hops are used. Golden Ales are also called Golden Bitters, Summer Ales, or British Blonde Ales. Can be found in cask, keg, and bottle.

History: Modern golden ales were developed in England to take on strongly-marketed lagers. While it is difficult to identify the first, Hop Back's Summer Lightning, first brewed in 1986, is thought by many to have got the style off the ground.

Characteristic Ingredients: Low-color pale or lager malt acting as a blank canvas for the hop character. May use sugar adjuncts, corn or wheat. English hops frequently used, although citrusy American varietals are becoming more common. Somewhat clean-fermenting British yeast.

Style Comparison: More similar to an American Pale Ale than anything else, although it is often lower in alcohol and usually features British ingredients. Has no caramel and fewer esters compared to British bitters and pale ales. Dry as bitters but with less malt character to support the hops, giving a different balance. Often uses (and features) American hops, more so than most other modern British styles.

Vital Statistics:
IBUs: 20 – 45
SRM:2–6

Commercial Examples: Crouch Vale Brewers Gold, Fuller's Discovery, Golden Hill Exmoor Gold, Hop Back Summer Lightning, Kelham Island Pale Rider, Morland Old Golden Hen, Oakham JHB
 

WESBREW

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2018
Messages
448
Reaction score
206
Location
North Florida
Someone said somewhere “a pound of Munich makes everything better.” your addition looks good and should give a bit of malty complexity to the pale. Consider an ounce of dry hop for some aroma. The c20 give a sweet flavor. If you’re looking for a hint of caramel flavor you’d have to go c60. Find your water’s alkalinity-to see if you need to add some lactic acid to the mash. It’s important
 
Top