Initially this recipe was supposed to be SNPA plus one gentle manipulation but went way off track. I've wanted to experiment more with hoppy beers as I have very little experience in this realm of brewing and figured this would be a good place to get my feet wet. Then I thought maybe I would try converting SNPA into one of these milkshake/tubid AF pale ales coming out of the northeast with the softer mouthfeel and overloaded fruity hop flavor; basically making SNPA into the exact opposite of itself. But then I decided I didn't want to buy more hops and looked at what I have on hand that I need to use up. I picked a very unusual hop--Celeia--plus the Cascade in SNPA and a little Belma to create a kinda fruity hop flavor that certainly isn't SNPA anymore but doesn't sound like any of the NE IPA or pale ales I've seen. That style also relies on using a softer ale strain than the Chico strain but again I didn't feel like buying ingredients I didn't have on hand so I'm going to ferment this beer with 34/70 but at warm temperatures.
So where does that leave this recipe?
A strange beer for sure. Could be good, could be terrible, could be just unmemorable. I've adjusted the grain bill towards a Vermont pale and less SNPA with some oats and cutting down the specialty grain and adjusted the water profile to go heavy on chloride as is usually used for this style. The hops will have a mix of grapefruit and lime from Cascade and Celeia respectively with that soft melon and strawberry from Belma underneath and just a touch of the grassy and floral notes from Celeia that will make the hop presence a little complex than fruit juice on more fruit juice. Honestly I'm not sure what happens with the yeast. Lager strains fermented warm can throw esters that should play well with the fruity hop flavor. I think lagers have a softer mouthfeel which is a huge target for this style. So it could be a very suitable alternative to using the typical Conan or London Ale III strain. However, it could be totally off the mark and produce a beer as though a cleaner ale strain had been used. One way to find out I suppose...
Donner Pass Vermont-Style Pale Ale -ish Recipe
|Batch Size: 2.5|
|Est. ABV: 5.3%|
|Est. IBU: 35|
|Est. OG: 1.050|
|Est. FG: 1.010|
|Est. SRM: 3.4|
|Grain Bill||Pounds||Ounces||SRM||Pct. Grist|
|Custom NEPA profile|
|Step Temp.||Step Time|
|Single Infusion at 154F|
|Mash volume: 6.17qt (1.485 gal)|
|Sparge volume: 2.86 gal|
|Infuse 6.17 qt at 169F||154F||75 min|
|Sparge 2.86 gal at 180F|
|First Wort Hop 0.10 oz Belma [12.10%]||8.4 IBU|
|60 minute boil|
|Belma [12.10%]||0.35||oz||60 min.||26.6|
|Yeast: W 34/70|
|Pitch half dry packet|
|Dry hop 1 oz Belma, 1.5 oz Cascade and||3||Ambient|
|1 oz Celeia hops|
|Bottle to 2.1 volumes with 1.4 oz table sugar|
Brew day & fermentation notes
Cut a gallon short on sparging. Realized as I was sparging that I set beersmith to the wrong equipment profile.
Preboil volume: 3 gallons
Preboil gravity: 1.043
Mash efficiency: 75%
Postboil volume: 2.25
Postboil gravity: 1.048
Total efficiency: 62%
Rough efficiency but not because the brew went poorly just lost a good amount of liquid to the hops.
Gravity check 3.24.16: 1.011 -- Suspect gravity is pretty much at its final destination. Will wait two days to add dry hops. Hop flavor more gentle than expected but definitely present with bright citrus fruit and some floralness. Soft mouthfeel, definitely tastes like a lager. Slight sulfur presence that I expect to dissipate soon. So far pretty happy with this.