Tag Archives: Pale Ale

Tasting Impressions: J&L Wedding Dunkel and Pale Ale

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I brewed two batches of beer to my friends’ wedding that took place two weeks ago. Today I thought I’d finally write some tasting notes in case someone is interested in trying the recipes. I’m slightly more happy with the Pale Ale, but I have brewed the recipe (or at least variations of it) several times. Both beers were good though! Let’s start with the Dunkel!


The beer pours with a light brown color and it is slightly hazy. The color was a bit lighter than I expected, but then again I didn’t use that much roasted malts in this. A cream colored head is formed, but it collapses quite quickly leaving drapes of lacing along the glass. The appearance is okay. I’m not really sure why it hasn’t cleared despite the 2 months it was lagering in the keg at 0C. The aroma features some light roastiness (hints of dark chocolate), dark fruits, dark malt bread, and syrup/molasses. The aroma is quite clean and promises a malt-forward flavor. The taste is similar to aroma, with a light roastiness and bready malt tones dominating. Towards the end, a slight yeasty fruitiness joins in together with some grassy hops. The finish is quite dry and lightly bitter. Unfortunately the flavour is slightly boozy/solventy as well, which hints that the fermentation was not perfect. It was fermented in a temperature controlled fridge, so perhaps I underpitched or underaerated. The body is on the light side and the carbonation level is a bit too high. It is easy to drink and quite refreshing though. All in all, I’m quite happy, but you can definitely tell that the fermentation didn’t go perfectly. I’ll have to try again next winter.


The Pale Ale was more to my taste, and it was also the beer that got most compliments at the wedding (it also ran out first). It pours with a quite clear golden-amber color (similar to Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale). This was slightly hazier at the wedding, so it cleared up nicely during two weeks in the fridge. A fluffy white head is also formed during the pour, and it collapses slowly leaving lots of lacing along the glass. A really nice appearance! There is lots of citrus (especially grapefruit), resin and grassy herbs in the aroma. As you can guess, it is very hop forward. The aroma is otherwise very clean and promises a really tasty beer. The taste begins with a slightly sweet caramel cookie flavor, and it is quickly joined by grapefruit and ‘tropical fruit’ hop flavors. Very fruity. The finish ends in a moderate bitterness, that has a slightly grassy and herbal quality to it. Maybe from the dry hops? I remember the beer being grassier at the wedding, so maybe it has cleaned up during these two weeks. The flavor is also very clean, and you can tell the fermentation went well. The beer has a medium body and carbonation level, and is very easy to drink and really refreshing. A really nice APA that suits my taste buds perfectly. It went quickly during the wedding so it seemed like I wasn’t the only one who liked it!

The labels to the beers were designed by my lovely wife ♥

Homebrew: Wedding APA

Last weekend I attended my friends’ wedding (thanks for the great party!), to which I had brewed two batches of beer. The first was a Dunkel and the second an American Pale Ale. I brewed the APA back in November with my brew mate, but I seemed to have forgotten to post the recipe and brewday notes. As I wrote in the Dunkel post, I’ve noticed that the most popular beers during these kinds of events are balanced and easy-to-drink beers. American Pale Ales with a relatively mild bitterness seem to be especially popular, so I used the recipe of my own Wedding APA as a base for this beer.

The malt bill was kept simple, with Maris Otter, Munich and Carapils. For the hops, I used up some opened bags of American hops from the freezer. The bitterness ended up a bit on the high side, but it was still suitable for the style. For the yeast I chose my ‘house yeast’ WLP002, which flocculates well and leaves a nice flavor profile. The brewday went quite smoothly and the beer was really popular during the wedding! I will be posting tasting notes of both the beers in an upcoming post!

[beerxml recipe=http://beer.suregork.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/jl_ale.xml metric=true cache=-1]

Homebrew: Fresh Hop Ale

I collected this year’s hop harvest two weeks ago, and today we finally brewed a beer with them. This is the first time I’m using homegrown hops, so am really looking forward to tasting the final beer! Technically, this wasn’t actually a fresh hop ale, since I dried the hop cones before using them – but I’ll call this a fresh hop ale anyways. Since I’m not sure about the alpha acid content of these hops, we decided to use them only as flame-out hops, and instead use some Herkules at the beginning of the boil. This way we will hopefully extract the maximum aroma out of them as well. The homegrown hops weren’t very aromatic, so I’m expecting mostly grassy flavors and less of the typical citrus and pine resin. But hopefully I’ll be positively surprised! The post-boil wort had a slight perfume-like tone, which might have been hop-derived. For the malt bill, we went with a very simple 90% Maris Otter and 10% Carapils to an OG of around 1.050. This should let the hops shine (if they do). For the yeast, we used a really fruity ale strain that I’ve developed at work (more about that in a future post). I’m hoping it will compliment the hops, and make for a refreshing and crisp fresh hop ale! We will see in a couple of weeks!


This was the first time we brewed at our ‘new’ basement brewery (we moved there 1.5 years ago – yes, we’ve been extremely slow with the renovation), and I’m happy to say that everything went really smoothly. We were done in 5 hours and 30 minutes, reached almost 70% brewhouse efficiency, and the ventilation system (a really powerful inline exhaust fan) worked amazingly well. Looking forward to brewing a bit more regularly from now on!

[beerxml recipe=http://beer.suregork.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/freshhop.xml metric=true cache=-1]

Homebrew: Wedding APA – American Pale Ale

Today I brewed the fourth and penultimate batch of beer for my wedding in August (see previous posts for the Wedding Pils, Wedding Blond, and Wedding Hybrid): an American Pale Ale loaded with Cascade and Centennial. I’ve brewed variations of this recipe several times before (one, two and three), so I know exactly what to expect. The resulting beer should have a hop-dominated aroma, with tones of grapefruit, pine resin and floral perfume, while the taste should feature a lightly bready maltiness together with a citrusy and floral hoppiness that ends in moderate bitterness and semi-dry finish. All in all, it should be a really easy to drink, yet still flavorful beer. The beers have been crowd favorites in the past, so am predicting that this keg will be the first to run out during the wedding.

The malt bill is simple, consisting of Maris Otter, Munich and CaraPils.  These should, together with the relatively high mash temperature (67C) and low-attenuating yeast (WLP002), yield a solid backbone to the beer despite the low ABV%. I aimed for an original gravity just below 1.050, in order to get a beer with around 5% ABV. For the hops, I chose to bitter with Herkules (since I still have some left from a 100g bag), and at flameout I added a large dose of Cascade and Centennial. The bitterness levels should be around 40 IBU, depending on how much the whirlpool hops contribute. I pitched a 1.5L starter of WLP002 after I had cooled the wort down to around 20C. I placed the fermenter in my fermentation fridge and set the fermentation temperature to 18C. I like using ‘English Ale’ yeast in my APAs and IPAs, since I think the esters they contribute go well with fruity hops. The high flocculation is also a bonus. Hopefully this one turns out as tasty as my previous brews of this recipe.

[beerxml recipe=http://beer.suregork.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/wedding_apa.xml metric=true cache=-1]

Homebrew: Hopfenschiessen – German Pale Ale

This weekend we will be brewing an American Pale Ale / IPA using only German hops. The German hop growers have been releasing lots of new interesting varieties the last couple of years, and I am really looking forward to trying Hüll Melon and Hallertauer Blanc. I bought some earlier this year, and will debut them in this beer. We decided to blend in some more traditional varieties as well, to balance the fruity tones with some more herbal hop tones. We have a lot of Vienna malt in our inventory, so we decided to use it as our base malt. These will be joined by some Pilsner, Carapils and Crystal 100 malt. We will be trying a new yeast strain as well, Wyeast’s 1217 West Coast IPA, which has been getting lots of good reviews (good attenuation and flocculation, together with a really clean flavour profile). Hopefully everything will go smoothly and the beer will taste good!

[beerxml recipe=http://beer.suregork.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/hopfenschiessen.xml metric=true cache=-1]

Tasting Impressions: R&H Wedding Pale Ale


Yesterday I bottled the Pale Ale I brewed for my friends’ wedding. The beer had been cold-conditioning in the keg for 1.5 months, and had now become crystal clear. Gravity had dropped to 1.010 from the original gravity of 1.053, giving an ABV of 5.5%. This was exactly what I was aiming for, so hopefully the taste is nice as well. The beer pours crystal clear and with a golden-yellow color. A slight white-colored head is formed (quite a careful pour though), and it leaves drapes of lacing along the glass as it collapses. A nice appearance, but the foam head could be slightly bigger. The aroma is mostly hoppy, featuring some grapefruit, pine resin and floral tones. A slight hint of caramel in the background. The aroma is very clean, with no hints of alcohol or yeast. Promising!  The flavour begins with a light bready maltiness and some hop tones join in as the beer lingers in the mouth. The hoppiness is mostly citrus, pine needles, grass and meadow flowers. The finish is semi-dry and has a moderate bitterness. Quite nice as a whole. There are slight tones of alcohol present at first, but these disappear as the beer warms up. I personally would like slightly more bitterness, but I think as a ‘crowd-pleaser’ this will do good. The body is quite light and the beer has a moderate carbonation level. It is very easy to drink and refreshing. Should have brewed an even bigger batch. Overall I am very happy with this beer, and hopefully the bridal couple and guests will like it as well!

Homebrew: R&H Wedding Pale Ale

Today I brewed up a 40-liter batch of a relatively simple American Pale Ale. The beer will be served at my friends’ wedding in July, so I aimed for a beer that as many as possible would find enjoyable. This meant a relatively low bitterness, a moderately light body and alcohol content, and a nice hop nose. The malt bill consisted of only Pale Ale, Munich and Carapils malt. I hit a 73% efficiency, which meant that the OG was 1.053. Slightly higher than I had aimed for, but not a big problem. I mashed at 65C, which will hopefully produce quite a light body and dry finish, when fermented with WLP007. We bought a pH-meter recently (Milwaukee MW-102), and this was the first time I used it during a brewday. We have been plagued with some high beer pH values recently, and naturally one cause could be a high mash pH. This was the case, and I had to add a total of 12 g of 80% lactic acid to the mash in order to get the mash pH down to 5.35. The meter seems to have been a really good investment, and hopefully our beers will improve as a result. Post-boil pH was 5.26, which should drop to below 4.5 with a healthy fermentation. I hopped the beer with Chinook, Cascade and Centennial, with a hefty flame-out addition. IBUs should be around 30-35, depending on how much iso-alpha acids were extracted from the flame-out addition. I will dry hop with all three varieties once fermentation slows down. I pitched a 2-litre starter of WLP007, which should leave a dry finish, clear beer, and slight hints of fruit esters to complement the hops. I’m fermenting at 18.5C, for a slightly cleaner finish. I’m really looking forward to sampling this one in a couple of weeks!

[beerxml recipe=http://beer.suregork.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/rh_wedding.xml metric=true cache=-1]


Homebrew: HPA – American Pale Ale

Today we brewed the largest batch we’ve ever brewed on our current equipment: 104 liters of 1.050 gravity American Pale Ale. To make this large of a batch, we mashed in two different mashing tuns (our new 50L tun and old 32L cooler) with 23 kg of malt (Pale Ale, Vienna and Crystal 100), and boiled in two kettles (50L + 25L). After boiling, we gathered 60 liters of 1.080 wort, which we split 50/50 into two 60L fermenting vessels. After this, we still boiled 45 liters of water, which we also split evenly between the fermenting vessels, to get a total of 104 liters of 1.050 wort. We hopped with a massive 550 grams of Cascade, divided into four additions, and plan on adding an additional 100g of dry hop per fermenting vessel. We pitched 3 packs of US-05 per fermenting vessel and set the thermostat to 18.5C. The wort was tasting promising, and hopefully this will result in a nice and easy to drink pale ale!

[beerxml recipe=http://beer.suregork.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hpa.xml metric=true cache=-1]


Homebrew: Simcade American Pale Ale – Rebrew

On Sunday I had yet another brewday and rebrew. I don’t usually like to rebrew recipes, unless it’s for educational purposes, but I got a request to brew some beer for my girlfriend’s sister’s wedding and since the ‘From Seamless To Shameless’/‘Simcade Pale Ale’ beers have tasted really good, I thought I’d reuse the recipe once again. The recipe results in a beer that is a highly drinkable, ‘bulk lager’-friendly, yet still slightly hop-forward. Perfect for the occasion. The brewday went extremely smoothly, and ended up with around 33 liters of 1.052 wort. We are getting quite consistent efficiencies (~70%) now that we have our system dialed in, which is promising. I pitched two packets of US-05, and yesterday the airlock was bubbling along nicely. I’m slightly worried that the heat wave will result in high fermentation temperatures, but luckily our brewing garage keeps quite consistent ambient temperatures of around 18-20 C. I will leave the beer to ferment for two weeks, after which I’ll add the dry hops (80g of Simcoe and 30 g of Cascade). After a week of dry-hopping I’ll transfer the beer to kegs.

Tasting From Seamless To Shameless 2

  • Brewery: Sly Cat Homebrewery
  • Country: Finland
  • Style: American Pale Ale
  • ABV: 5.0 %
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: –
  • Not on Beer Advocate
  • Not on RateBeer

Yet another post for today (I should learn to spread the posts out over several days), and now it is time to taste the rebrew of From Seamless To Shameless I brewed for Team Seamless of Aalto’s PDP Course in the beginning of March. The beer has been well received, and compared to the first version, the second version is maybe slightly more bitter. I have one bottle left, so I thought I’d write up a review on it. The malt bill is simple, and consisted of Pale Ale, Vienna and Crystal malt. The beer was hopped with Simcoe and Cascade and IBUs should be around 30. The beer was fermented quite cool with US-05, so it should hopefully be quite clean. I kegged the beer together with a small amount of Simcoe and Cascade about a month ago, and transferred it to bottles about two weeks ago, so the beer should have had a little time to mature, but is still hopefully features some nice hop tones. Let’s see how it tastes!

[easyreview title=”From Seamless To Shameless 2″ cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a just slightly hazy amber-orange color. A compact white-colored head is formed and the structure of it seems fairly solid. The head collapses quite slowly and it leaves drapes of lacing along the glass. Not a bad appearance.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is quite hoppy, with citrusy and floral tones dominating. There is a slight underlying tropical fruitiness, that brings my thoughts to mango, which could be from the Simcoe dry-hop. The aroma is not all hops though, as there is a slight caramel- and honey-like maltiness hiding in the background. The aroma is not that potent, but that is not a bad thing in a easy-to-drink ‘beer for the public’ like this. No off-aromas or otherwise off-putting smells either. Quite promising!” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”As the beer enters the mouth you are first hit with a caramelly, honey- and biscuit-like maltiness that is reminiscent to what was found in the aroma, but the taste is much more potent. The malt tones work very well, and these are joined by a citrusy and floral hoppiness. You can tell that quite a lot of late hops have been used, as the hop flavor is really present. The finish is slightly bitter, much less so than I had expected, and quite dry. The lower bitterness is not a problem either, as the beer still feels well balanced, and this makes it more drinkable for the larger mass as well. If I would rebrew this solely for my own enjoyment, I would probably up the IBUs by around 10-20 (making it border on IPA territory) as I think it would complement the strong malt and hop flavors better. Still, this is a very tasty brew. When I tasted the beer is connection with bottling it had a slightly sharp/astringent bite, but that is all gone now, and I assume it resulted from over-carbonation in the keg (carbonic acid bite). Quite happy with this one. Not perfect, but really good.” cat3rating=”4″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium body and carbonation level. It is very easy to drink, and the citrusy hop flavors make it really refreshing.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”As I already mentioned, I’m quite happy with how this one turned out. Since it’s quite fresh still, there is a lot of nice hop aroma and flavor left. The bitterness was maybe slightly on the low side, and I think this same recipe would work very well for an APA/IPA hybrid with an IBU around 50. The malty and biscuity flavors were surprisingly strong in this one, despite the quite simple malt bill. I really like using a large fraction of Munich or Vienna malt in my recipes, as I think it brings quite nice tones to the flavor. Hope I can achieve something similar with the beer we’re brewing on Monday!”]