AG#21 Stanley Bay – NZ Pale Ale

I’ve gone on about this brew a bit too much, but I’m excited about it and I shan’t apologise!  I wanted to try to clone Hawkshead’s NZPA, I really don’t like the term ‘clone’ as it implies success before you even roll your sleeves up.  I prefer to say that it’s a bad copy of the original.  We’ll see.  So, it was a late brewday and didn’t mash in until 19:40.  Add to this a hard week at work and an ill-thought-out trip to the pub on the way home to imbibe some Anchor Old Foghorn.  Despite these things, it was probably the most straightforward brew I’ve done.

Original Gravity (OG): 1.056
Final Gravity (FG): 1.010
Alcohol (ABV): 6.1%
Colour (SRM): 7.0 (EBC): 13.8
Bitterness (IBU): 45.9 (Average)

3.8kg Golden Promise Pale Malt
0.300kg Caramalt
0.200kg Vienna
0.150kg Pale Wheat Malt
0.150kg Munich I
0.150 Melanoidin Malt

15g Green Bullet (12.7% Alpha) (First Wort)
10g Motueka (7.8% Alpha) @30 Minutes (Boil)
10g NZ Cascade (8.5% Alpha) @30 Minutes (Boil)
15g Motueka (7.8% Alpha) @10 Minutes (Boil)
15g NZ Cascade (8.5% Alpha) @10 Minutes (Boil)
75g Motueka (7.8% Alpha) @0 Minutes (steep @80C)
75g NZ Cascade (8.5% Alpha) @0 Minutes (steep @80C)

Water treatments: Campden tablet (HLT), 1 tsp gypsum (mash).  My weighing scales aren’t great and I only require 3-4g, which is a tsp (approx).  Same rule for the epsom salts in the boil.  I really should start looking at my water profile to suit beer style.

Strike temp of 75C, 12.0L liquor for 4.8kg grain.  Mashed in at 66C (single step infusion).

Mashed for 60 minutes and temp remained constant.  Sparged at 78C (strike temp 86C), 20.60L liquor. First runnings from the mash were 1.090 20C.  Didn’t take a pre-boil gravity, whoops.

First wort hops were Green Bullet.  I haven’t added hops in this way many times, but may start to do so as standard, my thinking here is that the software tells me ‘X’ IBU’s, but in reality it’s probably a lower extraction than that?  Anyway, as more experienced folk than me keep saying, we (the beer-drinking humans) can’t detect the difference of 5IBU’s either way.

Added the all important protofloc tablet at 15 minutes and remembered to add my immersion chiller this time!  At 80C I added the 150g of Motueka and Cascade.  Cooled the wort down to 22C and then transferred to the FV, pitching the dry US05 yeast in about half way through the run-off.  I’ve started doing this with dry yeast as the drop to the FV aerates the wort and means I don’t need to sanitise a spoon / one less risk of introducing nasties.

Collected my target of 21L of wort post boil with SG of 1.056.  Slightly above my target of 1.054, but nothing worth worrying about.  If the yeast attenuates as per my guesswork it’ll make the beer 6.4%.  A tad stronger than NZPA, but who’s counting!

I’ll be dry hopping in the FV with Nelson Sauvin at a rate of 4.8g/L.  I’d use more if I had it.

Update: 08/10/12 Dry hopped with 100g Nelson Sauvin and 50g Motueka (7.1g/l).

Update: 22/10/12 Bottled 18L, batch primed with 45g sugar syrup (2.5g/l).  FG 1.010 (6.1%).

Update: 18/12/12 I already knew it, but you can’t win them all.  As I feared this brew has issues.  Due to illness the beer was left in the FV on the yeast for way too long and then dry hopped at a ridiculous rate for 14 days.  I knew it was going to have an adverse effect but I was laid-up so nothing I could do about it.  The beer has a musty, yeasty aroma and taste, verging on an infected/clove taste.  It’s a real disappointment, but it reminds me that a lot of the brewing process is about controlling the variables that can consign your beer to the sink.  I’ll have to brew it again, rethink my dry hopping and stay fit and well!

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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.

Well Hopped Ales – Hawkshead Brewery

I recently received three bottles of beer from the Hawkshead Brewery, based in Staveley, Cumbria.  It’s not long since I visited and blogged about my fleeting visit to the brewery and beer hall.  The three beers sent to me are part of Hawkshead’s Well Hopped Ale series and include 330ml bottles of Windermere Pale, NZPA (New Zealand Pale Ale) and Cumbrian Five Hop.

Windermere Pale 

6% abv. A hop blend including East Kent Golding and Citra. Poured a light golden colour, a small white head formed but quickly reduced to a thin covering. Floral, lemon aroma and a hint of sweet caramel coming through.  First taste of punchy citrus fruits and immediate bitterness that moves around your mouth before settling out and blending with the biscuit and caramel malt flavours.  I found the finish a little dry, but all that did was lead me to my next sip.  Despite it’s strength I find this to be a light, easy going beer, but that kind of opinion could get me into a mess pretty quickly.

NZPA

6% abv. A hop blend of Green Bullet, Motueka, Riwaka & Nelson Sauvin.  I’ve had several goes on this beer and it doesn’t fail to disappoint.  Big on aroma, big on flavour, big on satisfaction.  One of my beers of the year.

Cumbrian Five Hop

6% abv. A blend of 5 hop varieties including Fuggle, Citra & Amarillo.  For me this is the most complex beer of the three ‘well hopped’ beers, and ironically it’s the most well hopped!  I found that every sip had me reaching for the flavours, a really interesting balance between malt and hops leaving me guessing as to what I was tasting.  I drank this beer before looking at the notes on the bottle, and having recently proclaimed my disdain for Fuggle and Progress hops, I was pleasantly surprised to see the ‘F-word’ printed on the label.  Tropical meets traditional.

Thanks to Hawkshead for the beers.