Nailed it!

So about a month ago I realized that the beers I have been brewing lately have generally been big, high alcohol and complex beers.  Except for the gluten free beer, which pretty much has turned into a drainpour (new version coming soon), these have not exactly been good quaffing beer.

With summer approaching, it was time to get serious.  Along with a few bitters that I have been working on honing (trying for a few classic English style bitters–Ordinary, Special and Extra Special–and unique attempts to replicate beer, about which I will write more another day) I decided to work through some of my ridiculously large hops stash by making a few American-style pale ales.

The first was a variation of a very tasty American Pale Ale I brewed last year.  It was called My Little Sister’s Not so Little American Pale Ale (APA), because I brewed it the day after my little sister turned 40.  That one was an extract ale, so I tried to replicate it as an all grain version.

Now, this has been both my most successful fully home-made recipe (ie: not just using someone else’s recipe) and also my most unsuccessful. the extract version rocked my world, and I drank it up pretty quickly.  The first time I did an all grain, it ended up with some crazy wheat ale characteristics.  I think I must have used the wrong yeast, which is odd because I’m pretty sure I used WYeast’s California Ale yeast.  It turned out sweet and yeasty. Very strange.

This time I tried something a little different. Modifying the recipe, I added a dry-hop stage.  I have been having fun with whole hops  or plugs, which are different from the processed hop pellets.  For this one I dry hopped with an ounce of whole hops.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I brewed this march 20, 2011. I had just learned that my little sister, the beer’s namesake, who lives in Vancouver, was not coming home for a planned visit.  Consequently, this is called Missing Sister APA.  I think it’s more of an IPA, but whatever.

Recipe for a 3 Gallon batch

  • 3.5 lb Cdn 2-row malt;
  • 3.5 lb Pilsner malt,
  • 8oz 40L Crystal;
  • 6 oz Melanoiden malt;
  • 4 oz Carapils.

Boiled for 60 min with the following hop additions:

  • .75 oz Warrior pellets (60min)
  • 1 oz Willamette pellets (20min)
  • 1 oz Willamette pellets (1 min)
  • 1 oz Cascade whole hops (dry hops for 1 week after 2 weeks in primary)

I inoculated it with WY1056 American ale yeast, which I had stepped up in a starter.

Here is the result, two weeks after bottling:

Tight lacing, perfect colour, sure, a little cloudy, but that's ok.

It’s nearly perfect.  I could probably figure out to deal with the cloudiness, but that is a slight chill haze and a slight trub haze (bad pouring) so out of the bottle when a little warmer (cellar temp) it is beautifully clear.

It has nice tight head, with lovely lacing.  The nose is somewhat muted for a dry hopped, but that could be my nose, not the beer.  slightly sweet maltiness balances against perfect bitterness, and the hop flavour was bang on what I’d want for the APA.  A little more alcohol for an APA–7%ABV.  It went right to my head, although that could be the euphoria of knowing I had a total winner here.

I think I’ll have another.  So much for working today!

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About danmalleck

Medical historian and jack-of-all-trades curmudgeon. I tend to ramble about politics, social incivility, and our self-centred culture more interested in buying the next cool ringtone or LED TV than actively engaging in the sorts of discussions and issues that matter. The more opportunity we have to buy more stuff, the less concern there is, it seems, in politics, social justice and let's face it, basic human decency, unless those things actually can save us money or get us more things to show how awesome we are through displaying our material wealth. And I like to brew beer, make cheese, and put food in jars.
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