Tag Archives: american pale ale

Hurry up and wait

So the vigorous fermentation appears to have subsided and our beginner’s luck is holding out for now – neither beer exploded…yet.  It does appear that the greatest risk is now behind us. After some extensive on-line research on blow-off tubes, and some kind advice from a more experienced brewer (thanks Andrew), an extra blow-off tube is on our list for the next excursion to Hops & Berries, along with another carboy: 6 gallons this time to help stave off overflows, and upset wives…better safe than sorry…think of the room we have the Nut Brown stored in…

Both beers have settled and the foam has subsided and started to sink. The Pale Ale has turned a golden amber hue similar to caramel, and the Nut Brown is, well…brown. That’s good, right?!?!

Now we continue to wait. Like the anticipation before a long trip, all the different possibilities and outcomes are running through our heads. The biggest questions – did we filter enough? Did we sanitize everything properly?  Steve is pretty confident that they will turn out great. Me…not so much.  I was told that there’s no bacteria that can grow in beer that will kill you..so we’ve got that going for us.

Next steps – density tests later this week.




Filed under Making Beer

First Brew is complete. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t suck.

It took us way too long (4 hours start to finish) – but we got it done. Five gallons of amber liquid are safely tucked away in their fermenter with a bunch of happy yeast. In about a month, we should have bottles of hoppy Pale Ale.

Steeping the grains for pale ale.

Steeping the grains. Waiting…and waiting…and waiting for boil.

The night’s challenges:

1. Boiling water. We recognize that it may seem totally stupid that this is an issue, but it was. Using a 20 quart stainless steel stock pot, we brought about 3.5 gallons to a boil. It took forever – 45 minutes.  Some of this could be my gas range, but a little reading on the subject suggests that this is pretty common when using standard kitchen stoves. Next time, we’re going to use a stand-alone propane burner that Keith can steal from his mother-in-law.

2. How much is five gallons?  We siphoned the wort out of the brew kettle into our glass carboy. Then we were supposed to add clean water until it reached 5 gallons. Except we didn’t know how high five gallons was on he carboy. Yeah, yeah – it’s a five gallon carboy, so does that mean fill it all the way to the top, mostly to the top, etc?  Anyway, we poured the beer into a sanitized 6.5 gallon bucket that had measurement marks on the side, added the water, then siphoned it back into the carboy. Problem solved. Remember – we’re english majors, not math or physics majors. This was a high point.

3. Stupid hydrometer readings. When measuring the specific gravity of your beer, you use an instrument called a hydrometer. According to the book, you’re supposed to remove beer from the carboy (for sanitation purposes) and then measure the specific gravity of the beer. Then you throw the beer away (or drink it if it’s near being done).  Here’s the deal – you need a TON of beer to measure it if you don’t have the right kind of container to put the beer in.  The hydrometer is tall, so the container you are using has to be at least that tall, too. The closes thing I had was a flower vase, which would have meant I needed about two pints of beer in order for the hydrometer to float correctly. Instead, we just didn’t take a measurement. Probably a major faux pas, but I wasn’t about to waste that much beer. I bought a tube today that is designed for just this purpose. I’ll take a measurement tonight.



Tasting the Wort

Michael stopped by to lend moral support. He tasted the wort and declared “Tastes like Grape Nuts!” True, true.

Keith stirs the wort.

We have wort! Keith works the paddle. The entire house smelled like a brewery.

Siphoning the ale into the carboy.

Siphoning. This also took a while. We’ll try a funnel next time.

Serious action going on today with last night's batch of pale ale.

Serious action going on today with last night’s batch of pale ale.


Filed under Getting Started, Making Beer

First Pass Pale Ale

Serious action going on today with last night's batch of pale ale.

American Pale Ale


Recipe from: Hops and Berries Pale Ale kit

Bottled on: September 8, 2012

Specialty Grain: 1 pound Briess Caramel 30 L

Extract: 6.5 Pounds Briess Golden Light Liquid

Hops: 1 ounce Amarillo Hops (60 minutes), 1 ounce Amarilol Hops (10 minutes)

Yeast: Safale US-05 (dried) – Belgium

Misc: 5oz Priming sugar

Fermentation Temperature: 68 F

Original Gravity: We didn’t measure it. See challenges.

Gravity: Day 12 – 1.040

Final Gravity: 1.031

Notes:  We put the grains into the brew kettle of cold water and then removed them right before the water hit the boiling point. This took about 45 minutes. We had considered bringing the water to 170 degrees, adding the grains and letting them steep for 20 minutes, but decided against it. We’ll try that in a later batch.  Related post. Measured the gravity last night and it came in a 1.030 – and tasted very weak. Wonder if I should have mixed it around first – will have to read up on that.

Brewed on: August 25, 2012 bu Keith and Steve

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Filed under Pale Ale