English Pale Ale

Yesterday I got to brew an English Pale Ale, one of my favorite styles to have on draft or as a homebrew. Most bottled commercial examples just aren’t, right.


I was afraid the day would be full of mishaps, I was working on like six hours of sleep or less after staying up until after 4AM and had a deadline held over my head of when I had to finish in order to go to a show that we already had tickets for. Let’s just say it was one of the best (no problems) brew day in a while. I hit my mash temperature, my original gravity, and the day was done in five and a half hours from set-up to janitorial. Only true down side, I didn’t enjoy any beer while brewing, by choice.

Really only two mistakes happened (what would a brew day be without some sort of mishap). Number one isn’t so bad and I’m actually quite used to it, so it isn’t as much of a mistake as it is just the same thing didn’t almost happen. So basically, after your wort is done cooling you transfer it to a carboy to ferment. Well, unlike the finished beer, wort in the kettle is full of suspended debri, and it would be best to leave as much non-liquid behind in the kettle. I have never done this successfully. So, after the wort had cooled I tried to initiate a whirlpool to draw the debri into the center of the kettle, this does work. Typically I get sort-of clear wort which eventually runs kind-of muddy. This time I had almost clear wort. I was pretty stoked and by four gallons into the carboy I was getting excited that I may finally have figured out what I needed to do to draw clear wort from the ketle. I guess because so much more had settled or something, after the four gallon marker it started to look like nasty mud coming into the carboy. It was thick enough I debated whether to just stick with the four clear gallons or go with the extra one which would give me five “normal” gallons – I went for the five. No biggy, not really a mistake, just thought I’d figured something out – guess not.


The second mistake shouldn’t be too bad, at least for me, and that’s the main person to please, but it may have repercussions if I choose to enter this beer into a competition. Anyway, I had decided to use the same yeast that I used in the Oatmeal Stout in this beer, so I had about a pint of WLP002 yeast slurry in my fridge for the past two weeks. Per normal brewing, I made a starter for the yeast 2 days before the brew. The yeast turned the started almost black, like a stout. There was no off aroma, so I was pretty sure it was color carry over from the stout. Knowing I should have made the beers the other way (lightest to darkest) but really wanted to have my own stout for St. Patty’s , I went for it. I have heard on the internet that there could be residual carry over, but I have never seen / met someone who has had it actually happen to them. Well for now on if anyone asks you and your’ve read this, it has happened to someone you know and it does happen. Supposedly you can wash the yeast and stuff, but I don’t like to play with me yeast (ask a doctor about that one). So I decanted as much liquid as I could off the yeast starter and pitched the remaining slurry. I would say that the wort appeared to go from an orangy-copper-tan to an instant iced tea color. Definetly darker than I anticipated, but not “wrong”, well not pale, so maybe wrong – whatever, I’ll drink it and enjoy it.


So the EPA is done, time to start thinking about the brews for the Scavenger Hunt. Anyone want to make a suggestion, now’s the time, ingredients will be ordered by the end of this week at the latest (I hope!).

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