Saturday, April 16, 2011

Screwys Double Recipe #53 - American Pale Ale (Sierra Nevada Clone)

This past February I brewed an 'off the charts' hoppy pale ale and produced a definitely memorable beer, loved by the hop heads and not so much by the light beer crowd. With an estimated IBU of 130 plus points from Saaz, Chinook, Northern Brewer and Cascade hops with first wort additions and 90 minute boils this was a powerhouse of an ale.

10 Lbs. Marris Otter, 3/4 Lb. Crystal 40L and 1/4 Lb. Biscuit Malt
This time around I used qBrew to calculate a not so in your face hoppy recipe that calculated to be a mere 78 IBUs, something still tasty enough for the hop heads in the crowd. I also searched the Internet looking for all grain Sierra Nevada clone recipes out there to see if someone had already unlocked the secrets to brewing this very popular beer at home. I finally found a recipe that was first posted in 2007 and had been revised by other brewers several times over the years until, as I understood it, the recipe actually replicated the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale recipe.

All Grain Wort With Whole Leaf Hop Boil

Of course the only way you can ever really tell if any recipe is great is to actually go ahead order the ingredients and brew it. I understand that there are differences in brewing processes like their efficiencies, fluid transfers process and fermentation technique that do show up in their finished beer.  But most folks who've claimed to have brewed this recipe really seemed to agree it was spot on, so I decided to brew it myself.

I used qBrew's default 'American IPA' style guidelines as the basis for crunching this recipe's numbers and the recipe download contains my complete ingredient list and brewing notes. You can download the latest qBrew database below and use it to upgrade your current ingredient database. This latest ingredient database includes more yeast, fruits, extracts and other helpful entries then ever before.

  Click to download Screwy's latest qBrew database   

Click to download this recipe file for qBrew 
Size 4.25 gallons: Estimated IBU=63, SRM=13, OG=1.073, FG=1.018, ABV=7.1%

10 pounds Marris Otter Malt (UK)
3/4 pound Crystal Malt (40 °L)
1/4 pound Biscuit Malt (Belgium)

1 ounce Yakima Magnum (pellet)
1 ounce Northern Brewer (plug)
1 ounce Cascade (whole leaf)

1 Safale S-05 11g American Ale yeast

Mash at 152° F for 60 minutes.
Boil for 60-90 minutes.
Aerate, pitch at 70° F and ferment at 68° F for 12 days
Raise to 70° F over days 13 to 14 then rack to secondary fermenter and dry hop
Cold condition secondary fermenter for 1 week at 34° F
Keg at 30 psi for 2-3 days and serve at 34° F

Infusion Mash: (Soak mash tun in 8 quarts of 180° F water for 20 minutes to pre heat it)
Heat 21 quarts of filtered water to 172° F
Pour 14 quarts of 172° F water into mash tun
Mix in 11.0 pounds of crushed grain mix at 58° F
Pour the remaining 172° F water to fill mash tun to 4.50 gallon mark
Stir water and grain mixture and adjust to 152°F and mash for 60 minutes
Sparge with 172° F strike water to set mash bed to 168° F
Add 1 ounce of Yakim Magnum hops to boil pot as first wort hop addition
Lauter for 30 minutes adding 11.5 quarts of sweet wort to both boil pots

Full Wort Boil: (Split these quantities between both boil pots)
Add 1 ounce Northern Brewer (U.K.) hops with 30 minutes remaining to boil
Add 1 ounces Cascade hops with 10 minutes minutes remaining to boil
Add 1/4 tablet WhirlFloc with 9 minutes remaining to boil
Use wort chiller to cool wort to 70° F

Primary Fermentation:
Pour wort through strainer to remove excess hop and grain debris
Fill the Mr. Beer fermenter with wort to just above the 8.5 quart mark
Aerate wort and pitch 1 package of Safale S-05 Dry Ale Yeast at 70° F
Ferment at 68° F for 12 days, raise to 70° F over days 13 to 14 for rest

Secondary Fermentation:
Cold condition secondary fermenter for 1 week at 34°F
Keg and force carbonate at 30 psi for 2-3 days at 34°F
Bottle prime and carbonate at 70° for 7-14 days

Mashing Mixed Grains At 152F For 60 Minutes
By now I'm pretty good at calculating my grain thickness, grain temperature and strike water temperature and volumes to hit my mash temperatures every time. Although I do keep extra hot filtered water and cold filtered water on hand just in case it needs a bit of tweaking, or I suddenly change my mind on the mash temperature I want to use.

Lauter Into Two 12 Quart Boil Pots For 60 Minutes
After splitting the wort into 2 separate boil pots I'd been boiling 1 pot for 60 minutes and the other pot for 90 minutes. The 30 minute difference was to allow me to chill the first pot down and pitch the yeast before using my wort chiller to cool down the second pot. I have to change this method though since I can actually tell the difference between the 2 batches, due to the extra boil time.....I think.

Bottled In 1 Liter And Half Gallon Sizes
Well it's May 21, 2011 a little over 4 weeks since I brewed this beer and the first sample I took is very bitter and astringent tasting. I can feel a very fry, bitterness on my tongue and it has a really graining taste that overpowers the hops and last for several minutes in your mouth. It looks clear and has great carbonation but it is really rough. This one I won't even bother tasting for another 4 weeks, it's just that bad right now.

I ended up pouring the rest of this recipe down the drain, it never got any better after conditioning for 3 weeks in the bottles.I think I know what caused the infection, although I can probably never be really sure. I thought back and remembered pouring the cooled wort into the fermenter through a metal strainer to catch the hop leaves. I had given the strainer a quick soak in One-Step but after cleaning it later I noticed the mesh wasn't made out of stainless steel and it had some oxidation on it in several places.

I've since replaced that strainer with an auto siphon made out of clear plastic. I have found the auto siphon to be really easy to use, clean and sanitize too. It's a great tool to have in the brewhaus and I actually look forward to using it for transferring wort and beer.

Surviving Sample Of Recipe #53
 I found a growler of this recipe that I hadn't thrown out with all the rest of this batch that went south. I carefully opened the twist cap and to my surprise no gushing at all. So prepared for the worst I poured a glassful and tasted it and to my surprise it tasted pretty good. Unlike the rest of the batch that turned out to be undrinkable this half gallon of beer actually tasted okay.

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