Session Experimental Pale Ale

I attended Homebrew Con this last June in Minneapolis, MN (close to home) and during the expo part of the event, I collected a lot of hop samples, about a dozen different types from various hop growers. Most of these are in 1 oz. packages and hops I’ve not used before so I don’t have a good understanding of what they may provide. Sure, there’s a description on the package or website saying they impart fruity, or citrus, or spicy notes to the beer but with only a single ounce of most, I figure the best way to get a grip with what each does is to use each in a basic beer style – the American pale ale.

Conceptually, I want to use a pale ale base (think Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone) that I’m very familiar with and use each different hop during the dry hope phase to get the most of the aroma and flavor. Here’s my basic recipe:

  • 8 lbs  Pale 2-row
  • 8 oz Caramel 40L
  • 1.5 oz. Norther Brewer Hops @ 60min
  • 2 oz Cascade @ 15min
  • 1 oz Cascade at whirlpool (170º)
  • 1.5 L starter of WLP001 American Ale Yeast

Pretty basic, though a little low on base malt, a mistake I made in weighing my grains – I looked the “8” in ounces and shorted myself by 2 lbs of 2-row, it should have been 10 lbs of base malt. This will bring my abv down from 5.1% to about 4.2% – hence the “session” designation. I can live with that. My initial gravity was 1.038, only 2 points shy of the expected 1.040, again, close enough for this.

Once the primary fermentation is complete, I plan of splitting my 5 gallon batch into 5x 1 gallon batches for dry hopping – each one using a different hop. I’ll dry hop for three days, cold crash for 2, then bottle the beers and let carb for a few weeks.

These are the hops I plan to use and their expected contributions, each with a very different flavor/aroma.

  • Calypso – pear/apple/tropical fruit/mint
  • Eureka – Herbal/pine/dank
  • Bravo – orange/fruity/vanilla
  • X07270 (Hopsteiner experimental) – spicy/resinous/tangerine
  • Comet – grapefruit/lime/grassy

I’ll post when fermentation is done and let you know how it finished out.