American Pale Ale – Experiments with Homebrewing # 1


Picked up a new hobby and I have become an amateur brewster. My first ever brew was supposed to be an extract + steeping grain based American Pale Ale. It turned out to be drinkable even after so many mistakes by me – those who drank it could barely distinguish between great beer and alcohol mixed with jet fuel. I could noticeĀ 2-3 very strong off flavors.

  • Hot alcohol: Very prominent in the early stages (green beer) but got toned down after carbonation. However could sense it every now and then in between gulps. Higher than intended and fluctuating temperatures may have contributed to it.
  • Tannic astringency: I squeezed the steeping grains which had been crushed to a flour size as well. I did everything you are not supposed to do while steeping grains. This was the chief off-taste which made my beer more bitter than intended.
  • Solvent like tastes: Someone who drank my beer described this but my palate could not detect it.

I also underpitched the yeast and could not see any visible Krausen, had to repitch later but it did not help. I suspect that the fermentation was stuck although could not detect any unfermented malt in the final beer. I also thoroughly oxidised the wort while bottling (due to lack of equipment) but could not detect any sherry or cardboard offtastes maybe because I consumed all of it in a couple of weeks. I could also not achieve a quick cold break (it took me 3 hours :() and this made the beer very hazy and opaque. The steeping grain additions made the beer darker than the style I aimed for.

The beer was also very heterogenous with the lower part of the bottle more bitter than the top, maybe because I was pouring out the yeast as well. All in all, I made every kind of mistake possible except for infecting the beer. Still made something drinkable. Moving on to all grain Hefeweisen now for the next brew.

STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.052
Final Gravity: 1.020 (lower than calculated maybe due to under pitching)
ABV (standard): 5.25%
IBU (tinseth): 35.68
SRM (morey): 19.1

FERMENTABLES:
1.8 kg – Dry Malt Extract – Amber (67.9%)

STEEPING GRAINS:
0.85 kg – American – Caramel / Crystal 60L (32.1%)

HOPS:
6 g – Columbus, Type: Pellet, AA: 15.9, Use: Boil for 90 min, IBU: 19.16
4 g – Columbus, Type: Pellet, AA: 15.9, Use: Boil for 80 min, IBU: 12.6
5 g – Cascade, Type: Pellet, AA: 6, Use: Aroma for 15 min, IBU: 2.79
5 g – Cascade, Type: Pellet, AA: 6, Use: Aroma for 5 min, IBU: 1.12

YEAST:
Fermentis / Safale – American Ale Yeast US-05

 

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