Friday, June 19, 2009

Sunburst Pale Ale

I'd like to think I'm becoming a bit more adventurous about naming my beers. This pale ale was named last night while finalizing and printing the recipe. Originally, I chose it because its very pale in color and should be bright in taste. But today's weather almost changed it.

It's been such a cool and mild Spring and early Summer here in Chicago, which is totally fine by me. Today however, we experienced torrential down pours, severe winds, and hail the size of nickels and quarters, followed by intense humid heat. While cloudy all morning and afternoon, rolling and booming thunder preceded around 8 serious downpours with lots of zapping lightning. It was during one passing storm, in the midst of a rolling boil, hail came crashing down, so I grabbed a couple chunks and tossed them in. At this point in the day, I almost changed the name to Hail Stone Pale Ale. But, I was holding out for the slight possibility a true sunburst would shine through. And at last, one did, towards the middle afternoon. What a sweet sight it was!

I'd consider myself somewhat superstitious, and in my 7th year brewing, I'm finding it easier to be so. This year I've had more problems than ever before. Today marks a first in mashing disasters for me. While stirring in the second sparge water, I dislocated the hose/false-bottom connection. I knew that while emptying the tun, the temperature would go way down. Acting quickly, I decided to scoop out a thick and short decoction, while the rest was poured into one kettle. Fixing the problem was easy, and after the mash was in it's rightful place, the temp was sitting nicely at 166°F...not bad.

This beer is one that I've been wanted to brew for a while now. The malt bill is quit simple, with only a touch of very light crystal and aromatic malts. The hops start out with smooth bittering from Sterling, and into more aggressive American "C" citrusy varieties...Centennial, Cascade & Chinook. The wort tasted clean with a clear bitterness and hop flavor, so it should come out quite good and refreshing during hot summer days to come.

Sunburst Pale Ale

Grains & Hail
16 lbs. Organic 2-Row
1. lbs. Amer. Crystal 10L
.5 lbs. Belg. Aromatic
1. lbs. CaraPils
2 Hail Stones in boil

1.8 oz. Sterling, 5.3%, pellet, 60+min
1.0 oz. Sterling, 5.3%, pellet, 10min
1.5 oz. Centennial, 9.1%, pellet, 10min
0.5 oz. Cascade, 6.1%, pellet, 10min
0.5 oz. Chinook, 11.3%, pellet, KO
0.5 oz. Centennial, 9.1%, pellet, -KO
0.5 oz. Cascade, 6.1%, pellet, KO

Wyeast 1056: American Ale yeast cakes

Brew Day Stats

Brewed: 6/19/09
Racked: just primary
Bottled: 7/5/09

Water Adjustment:
Strike: 3.8g Gypsum, 1 tsp Acid Blend
Boil: 2.8g Kosher Salt

H2O/Grain Ratio: 1.2 qt/lb
Mash Ph: 5.3
Sacch. Rest Temp/Time: 152°F/60min
Mash Out Temp/Time: n/a
1st Batch Vol/SG: 6.2gal/1.028

2nd Batch Sparge MashTemp: 172->166°F
2nd Batch Vol/SG: 5.5gal/1.028

Pre-Boil Vol: 11.7 gallons
Pre-Boil SG: 1.049
Boil Time: 60+min
Post-Boil Vol: 9.5 gallons
Mash Efficiency: 73%

OG: approx. 1.052
IBU: 39
Color/SRM: Golden/6
Ferment Temp: low 70's

FG: 1.012
ABW: 4.2%
ABV: 5.25%

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