Brewing a NZ Pale Ale

Following on from my New Zealand Saison,  single hopped with Motueka, my next brew will be a New Zealand Pale Ale, which if you want to be picky is an American Pale Ale hopped with NZ hops? Anyway, what better inspiration than the much revered Hawkshead NZPA.  I like this beer, I like the other beers that comes from the brewery, and the head brewer, Matt Clarke, seems to be a nice chap, although his stranglehold over the UK’s antipodean hop supply could change my mind!

The label on Hawkshead’s NZPA lists four NZ hop varieties; Green Bullet, Motueka, Riwaka and Nelson Sauvin.  I set about sourcing these hops only to find that Riwaka might as well be a ‘Class A’ substance, and the Nelson Sauvin in my freezer was there after ‘borrowing’ it from a recent brewery visit.  I decided on NZ Cascade as a replacement for Riwaka, whereas Matt had used Pacific Jade.  I’m told that NZ Cascade is quite ‘soft’ in character so will use it wisely.

I’d already decided to use Safale US-05 yeast, keeping things simple.  So the next step was to try and come up with a malt bill that would get me close to the real deal.  The NZPA label gave me a strong lead to work on…I knew I was looking for malted barley.  After a short Twitter discussion with Matt Clarke and Graeme Coates, a brief gander at the BJCP and the realisation that there is no clone recipe available to guide me, I set about concocting my best guess.

I want to achieve a 6% abv beer, with around 45IBU, the colour will be on the pale end of the style, as per NZPA.  I want to have a medium/full bodied beer, so in addition to 80% pale, I’ll be using a combination of Vienna, Munich and Melanoidin malts to hopefully create a wort that will stand up to the hops.  Pale Wheat Malt for head retention, but also to build the flavours.  Caramalt to add some sweetness/colour but mainly to prevent the beer finishing too dry.  Incidentally, I had to adjust the BrewMate software to accommodate the consistently eager attenuation of Safale US05.  My US Porter achieved 92% attenuation!  “Whooa!” *that’s English for ‘stop a yeast’*.

The hop schedule is also guess-work, but with four lovely hop varieties to work with, I will be hard pushed not to get good results.  Right?  Green Bullet for bittering, then a couple of mid boil additions of Motueka, NZ Cascade, then large additions of the same to steep.  Dry hopping (5g/l) with all the Nelson Sauvin I have and may use some Green Bullet too.

I’ll be brewing this evening and will blog the results.  Comments welcome.

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5 thoughts on “Brewing a NZ Pale Ale

  1. would be interesting to compare your single hop motueka to the dark saison a friend of mine has home-brewed to my idea.

    NZPA is probably a favourite style of mine, much preferred to US hops, hope it goes well!

  2. What a, ahem, coincidence! I too am brewing an antipodean pale ale with loads of Nelson Sauvin. I had the decency to feel slightly ashamed as I threw handfuls of Nelson, Stella and Summer into the copper. The twist with mine is that it is my first attempt at an 100% brett beer. If it turns out at all drinkable we should do a swap.

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