Summer Dream – my first American Pale Ale

For everything is a first 🙂 and yes, finally I am tackling the American style beers (with the exception of the American Barley Wine I brewed earlier this year – Barley Trouble). Many of you will laugh now, as these styles (Indian Pale Ale and American Pale Ale), are normally the styles you start with as a home brewer. Stubborn as I am though, I started with the Belgian styles, as I can’t deny my Belgian roots. That resulted in a lot of trying, as I still feel I have not been able to brew the perfect Belgian Blond as I like it.

That said, after 5 years of home brewing, I feel it is time to broaden my horizon. So that is why I decided to make an American Pale Ale (APA), also because I adore this beer style when done right. These beers are very aromatic – beautiful flavors coming from the hops – but are not as bitter as an Indian Pale Ale (IPA).

I invited a friend to brew with me and he was even more courageous than me, as he brewed a pilsner style that day for the first time. So it was pretty exciting to get started. My brewer’s friend brought his Grainfather, while I brewed on my Braumeister.

As I am not a fan of pale malt, I decided to use a mix of pilsner malt, Munich malt and a very low amount of biscuit malt to get the caramel character. For the hops, I used mosaic as bitter hops and late aroma hops. I was lucky to get 5 kg mosaic hop pellets from another brewery, so I could use a lot of it as aroma hops. I love the aroma of mosaic, very fruity and citrusy.

As I got an extra accessory to my Braumeister, namely a filter to block hop and other herbs from the wort when filling the fermentation bucket, I needed to try that out. You can almost not see it, but it is the stainless steel funny looking pipe in the front of the picture.

After a vigorous long boil, the wort was ready to be put in the fermentation bucket to cool down and ferment.

After 16h of cooling down, I added Safale US-05, the standard yeast almost for a lot of APA’s and IPA’s. After only 5 days of fermentation, I added loads of mosaic and citra hops as dry hops. Another 6 days later, the beer was ready to be put on bottles. I added extra sugar (dextrose) to referment on the bottle.

And today is the day to try the first bottle, after 10 days of refermentation on the bottle.

The foam is really amazing, small bubbles and it stays. The color is also perfect, amber like. The smell is very citrusy and fruity, but I also can still smell the malt. The taste is still a bit sweet, so it needs some longer time to referment all the sugar. However, the bitter-sweet balance is quite good and the bitterness is for sure not too high. A good first attempt I would say, but next time I will need to add less Munich malt, as that gives the more malty taste. I should also not be shy with the hops, as I have plenty and the smell can definitely be more hoppy.

The beer needs some more time and then I’ll taste again :-).

Do you have any recommendations on how to accentuate the hoppy aroma more?

2 thoughts on “Summer Dream – my first American Pale Ale

  1. Andreas May 29, 2018 / 7:57 am

    For aroma edition on hot side; cool wort to 80C before adding (more) hops. Leaves more aroma and less bitterness.

    For dryhopping; do two of them. One during mid fermentation, and one after fermentation, but when cooled to 16C.

    For the sweetness, it could also be te added dextrose. It’s not fully fermentable. I would just use regular table sugar for conditioning. Easier and cheaper, 6-8 g/L is good for these styles.
    ☺️👍🏿

    • sofiesaerens May 29, 2018 / 4:19 pm

      Hi Andreas!

      Thanks a lot for the very valuable comments! Next time I’ll definitely try cooking down the wort to 80C and then add aroma hops. I will also try your two times dry hop suggestion.
      I also found out I added too much Munich malt, around 20% is the malt bill, that seems too much. From what I can read I should keep it down to only 10% max of special malts.
      You might be right about the sugar, I need to try that as well. Next time i try both dextrose and table sugar, to see the difference.
      Now I know what to change for next time :-).
      Thanks again!

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