Brewday: American Pale Ale

I really wanted to make beer yesterday, but I didn’t have time to do the all-grain Halcyon Wheat I’ve had on my schedule for so long, the grains have probably gone stale. So I asked Anne what style she’d like me to make, and went to the homebrew supply to pick up the ingredients for the caramel American Pale Ale from Brewing Classic Styles.

The only problem was, my homebrew supply didn’t have any Munich extract, which is an important part of the recipe. Greg (the owner of Eagle Rock Homebrew Supply) and I stood in the store for several minutes trying to figure out what I could do instead, and then we simultaneously realized that I could just substitute Munich malt for the extract, and do a partial mash of that malt with the caramel 40 specialty grains.

I gathered my hops, milled my grains, and then went to get the LME … only to realize that the recipe calls for 7.9 pounds, and the homebrew supply only sells LME in 6 and 3 pound units. Undeterred, Greg and I did some math, figure out that I could substitue an appropriate amount of light DME for 2 pounds of LME, and pretty soon, I was in business.

I mashed the grains at 154 with a thickness of 1.5qt/pound for 45 minutes, circulated the resulting wort through the bag one time, and was delighted when I saw that my calculations were spot-on, leaving me with exactly 2.25 quarts, which I added to about 6 gallons in my brewing kettle.

My boil was uneventful. I didn’t boil over, I didn’t boil too much, I didn’t evaporate too much, and when the whole thing was over I collected just over 5 gallons of wort. The best part? The target gravity was 1.052, and that’s exactly what I got. I pitched 2 WLP001 at about 74* (a little warm, I know, but I had to leave) and when I got home six hours later, the yeasties were already doing their thing.

This beer is currently unnamed, but I’m looking forward to drinking it in a few weeks, so I can find out if the adjustments I made worked, and if I brewed to style.

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