Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Beer-30: Beer Style Profile #1 - American Pale Ale

Doug Pominville brewing his contest winning Grunion Pale Ale
 at Ballast Point/ Home Brew Mart
   If you are a craft beer drinker you are probably very familiar with the concept of judging beer. Whether it be at the World Beer Cup, a home brew competition, or just sitting at the bar with some friends. What a lot of people don't know is that there are actually style guidelines by which these beers are judged by. Virtually every style of beer, with every conceivable combination of ingredients is covered by the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP). These guidelines are particularly useful to home brewers and aspiring brewers, but also very informative for the beer drinking enthusiast. With the release of our Grunion Pale Ale, I thought it would be appropriate to share the style guide lines for the American Pale Ale as written by the BJCP:

Aroma: Usually moderate to strong hop aroma from dry hopping or late kettle additions of American hop varieties. A citrusy hop character is very common, but not required. Low to moderate maltiness supports the hop presentation, and may optionally show small amounts of specialty malt character (bready, toasty, biscuity). Fruity esters vary from moderate to none. No diacetyl. Dry hopping (if used) may add grassy notes, although this character should not be excessive.


A pint of American Pale Ale
Appearance: Pale golden to deep amber. Moderately large white to off-white head with good retention. Generally quite clear, although dry-hopped versions may be slightly hazy.

Flavor: Usually a moderate to high hop flavor, often showing a citrusy American hop character (although other hop varieties may be used). Low to moderately high clean malt character supports the hop presentation, and may optionally show small amounts of specialty malt character (bready, toasty, biscuity). The balance is typically towards the late hops and bitterness, but the malt presence can be substantial. Caramel flavors are usually restrained or absent. Fruity esters can be moderate to none. Moderate to high hop bitterness with a medium to dry finish. Hop flavor and bitterness often lingers into the finish. No diacetyl. Dry hopping (if used) may add grassy notes, although this character should not be excessive.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Carbonation moderate to high. Overall smooth finish without astringency often associated with high hopping rates.

Overall Impression: Refreshing and hoppy, yet with sufficient supporting malt.

Comments: There is some overlap in color between American pale ale and American amber ale. The American pale ale will generally be cleaner, have a less caramelly malt profile, less body, and often more finishing hops.

History: An American adaptation of English pale ale, reflecting indigenous ingredients (hops, malt, yeast, and water). Often lighter in color, cleaner in fermentation by-products, and having less caramel flavors than English counterparts.

American hops help to make this style
 distinct among other pale ales
Ingredients: Pale ale malt, typically American two-row. American hops, often but not always ones with a citrusy character. American ale yeast. Water can vary in sulfate content, but carbonate content should be relatively low. Specialty grains may add character and complexity, but generally make up a relatively small portion of the grist. Grains that add malt flavor and richness, light sweetness, and toasty or bready notes are often used (along with late hops) to differentiate brands.

Vital Statistics: OG: 1.045 – 1.060
IBUs: 30 – 45 FG: 1.010 – 1.015
SRM: 5 – 14 ABV: 4.5 – 6.2%

 Now that you know a little bit more about American Pale Ales, go have a beer and let us know which ones are your favorite.

This week's Thursday Cask will be Black Marlin Porter with Amaretto Oak Chips, and Sour Patch Kids. Also, This Friday we will be serving a cask of Calico Amber Ale with Fuggle hops during the Padres/Cubs game at Petco Park!

Cheers

-Ryan Pistole


Home Brew Mart / Ballast Point
5401 Linda Vista Road suite #406
San Diego, Ca 92110
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