Cascade Single Hop - 6.0% American Pale Ale
After the success of my previous brew, Propaganda, I finally felt like I had turned the corner and had started to make some decent beer. I was also painfully aware that I was yet to make a drinkable pale ale so I resolved to put that right.
I had initially intended to make brew 7 a strong American-style IPA in the 6-7% ABV range and I'd drawn up a recipe that made use of mainly Amarillo hops. I managed to get all the grain from Brew2Bottle in Northwich but neither they nor the homebrew shop in Stockport had any Amarillo.
This left me in the position of having a brew day all set aside but not having the ingredients to make the beer I'd intended to. I did have some Cascade hops in the house though, so right at the last minute I rejigged the recipe into a very generic 5.5% American Pale Ale. I also had some Williamette and was going to use this as well but I decided to create a bit of a learning opportunity and make this one a single hop brew instead, to get a better idea of what Cascade is like on its own.
The other new thing I did for this brew was to make a simple Excel spreadsheet that gives the exact weight of each type of grain needed when I enter the intended percentage of each type and the total grain weight. I figured that by keeping the percentages of some of the adjuncts constant, I'd get more repeatable results in the future.
4895g Maris Otter (89%)
275g Torrified Wheat (5%)
220g Caramalt (4%)
110g Biscuit Malt (2%)
I did an overnight mash again but this time I was quite disorganised. Due to the lack of ingredients, I was actually still working out the recipe as I was filling up the mash tun and I never really caught up with myself. Brewing can be like spinning plates at times, there's so much going on and I'm going to try to be a bit more organised next time and get all the ingredients in place at least a few days before.
I only managed to mash in at 12:45am, using 16L of 75C strike water. I had expected this to drop to 68C but the thermometer was quite slow in responding and 5 minutes later, it was still showing 70C. A combination of tiredness and impatience led me to pour a little bit of cold water in, which was a mistake. The temp quickly dropped to 66, then 65C and to get it back up would have required a lot of boiling water. I figured 65 was still probably just about okay, given the long mash time so I put the lid on and went to bed.
Six hours later, the temperature had dropped to 56C, which was disappointing. The last time I did an overnight mash, the temperature only dropped 2C in six hours but this time it had dropped 9. The reason for this will have been that the ambient temperature was much colder this time. I hadn't really thought about that!
I'm hoping that the very long mash time might compensate a bit for the low temperature but this is probably more wishful thinking than anything.
I heated up some sparge water to 75C, with another 5g of gypsum in this. The pH of the mash was only 5.5, so I will have to think about how to get it a bit lower, down to 5.2 preferably for the next brew. The sparge went very well. I filled up the boiler with 25L and put another 6L to boil in pans on the stove, to be used for top-ups. The final runnings had a gravity of 1.012.
75 minute boil with following additions:
60mins 10g Cascade 9.2%
30mins 30g Cascade 9.2%
10mins 30g Cascade 9.2%
1min 30g Cascade 9.2%
15mins 1tsp Protofloc
Total IBU 40
This cooled down to 30C with the copper coil, then I drained the copper into my bottling tub, running the wort over sanitised ice bottles as it went in. A further transfer into the FV made 22L.
Again, I used 2 packets of Safale US-05 yeast, hydrated for 3 hours into about 1/2 L of boiled and cooled water at 24C.
The O.G was 1.055, which was exactly as intended and the bubbles started after about 2 hours. I'm planning to dry hop with 50g Cascade and we'll see how this one goes.
By day 2, the fermentation was going really strong and the brew was swirling and churning round in the fermentation vessel. I managed to keep the temperature at a nice steady 19C all the way through the first few days and the krausen got up to about 2 inches at its highest point.
By day 4 it had all but finished, with no airlock activity any more. The gravity measured 1.009. I have just measured it again on day 6 and it's the same so the fermentation is finished.
This gives an ABV of 6.0%, which is .5% more than I'd intended. At this point, I think that this may be a result of the cool mash temperature, which produces wort with less body but more fermentable sugars. I'm going to add some more cascade hops tomorrow and leave it another week or so to clean up.
This beer is much cloudier than any other I've made at this stage and I'm not sure why. It's definitely yeast though, and not anything else because it was totally clear until I pitched in, and has been cloudy ever since. I'm fairly confident it will clear up though, so I'll just give it some time.
I transferred into a secondary fermentation vessel on day 7 and added 50g of Cascade in a nylon mesh bag. I left this until the following Friday (today) and have just finished racking into bottles. The beer has cleared up quite a lot, I'm happy to report. There was a bit of crap on the bottom of the secondary FV and although it's still a bit cloudy, it's within fairly normal range now.
The beer smelled quite nice while i was bottling it. I don't think it's going to be very hoppy or spectacular but I'll be happy if it's clean, with no yeast-related off-flavours and is perfectly drinkable.