Pukwudgie Pale Ale

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American Pale Ales (BJCP 2015 – Style 18B) are a huge category of beers these days.  They are the precursor for IPAs and all of the other super hoppy beers out there.  A pale ale can be a gateway into the world of craft beer for a lot of people, for some it may be a touch too bitter but for most it’s not.  This recipe is a proven winner, taking GOLD at the 2016 Los Angeles County Fair Homebrew Competition!!!

My search for a house pale ale recipe has taken a while, with lots of variants and revisions being brewed each spring and fall.  A pale ale is one of those beers that I always want to have on tap in my kegerator because its something that I can drink of without killing my pallet or getting too drunk.

Style Guideline Statistics:

  • IBUs : 30 – 50
  • SRM: 5 – 10
  • OG: 1.045 – 1.060
  • FG: 1.010 – 1.015
  • ABV: 4.5% – 6.2%

So what the hell is a Pukwudgie?  From Wampanoag folklore a pukwudgie is basically a spirit-like creature, standing about 2-3 feet tall.  Based around the area of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island these creatures are generally nasty, killing people with their poisoned arrows and stealing their souls.  I like alliterations and Pukwudgie Pale just had a nice ring to it!  Plus my homebrewery is called Folklore Brewing so everything gets named after something from that genre.

The beer has gone through several iterations with this version being the best of the bunch with a really good balance.  The grain bill was originally created in 2015 when I was fortunate enough to have several pounds of fresh, wet hops.  I wanted a grain bill that would be interesting but not take over anything from the hop showcase.  This recipe is a proven one, it’s been on tap numerous times and has always been a keg that kicks quickly and seems to have something for everyone; easy drinking, great hop aroma and flavor, limited malty sweetness, well balanced.  I’ve varied up the hops through the batches and found that Citra works very well.  My recommendation is that if you want to change up the hops that’s just fine, this beer was designed for showcasing the hops so that’s perfect; however, make sure to use a neutral bittering hop like Magnum.  No need to muddle the flavors with a long boil of a hop like Mosaic or something.  Also, when it comes to the aroma and flavor additions, less is more.  Keep the hop profile simple to make the batch easier (and cheaper) to brew and provide a clear distinct flavor.  With this pale ale the best balance is to shoot for a bitterness ratio of 0.88 which is a little on the high end but works well with the current trends in overly hopped beers.  The hop additions shown below assume a 5.5 gallon batch into the carboy, adjust as necessary.

Targets:

  • IBUs : 46
  • SRM : 6
  • OG : 1.053
  • FG : 1.009
  • ABV : 5.8%

Aside from the final gravity, this beer falls clearly within the style parameters.  The reason that the final gravity is a touch lower is that I mash this beer at a lower temperature to encourage beta amylase conversion, allowing for more fermentable sugars.  The last thing that this beer needs is sweetness from too many long chain sugars; I want the maltose in this beer.  The drier beer will also help to showcase the hops without muddling the flavor and aroma with residual sweetness.

Ingredients:

  • 80% US 2-Row
  • 12% Vienna Malt
  • 4% Cara-Pils
  • 4% Crystal 60L
  • 0.8 oz  – Magnum (13.1% AA) – 60 min
  • 0.3 oz  – Citra (14.1% AA) – 10 min
  • 0.7 oz  – Citra (14.1% AA) – Steep
  • 1.0 oz – Citra (14.1% AA) – Dry Hop (7 days)
  • White Labs WLP-001 California Ale Yeast
  • Irish Moss
  • Unflavored gelatin (clarifying post fermention)

Process:

  • Mash at 147F for 60 minutes
  • Boil 60 minutes
  • Chill wort and ferment at 65F for 7 days
  • Add dry hop into carboy for 7 days
  • Keg and carbonate to 2.5 vols CO2

Aroma 

Very light grainy note with a touch of caramel sweetness with citrus hop aroma in forefront.  No esters or phenols in aroma.  

Appearance 

Bright golden color with a white foamy head that stands throughout the tasting.  Clarity is exceptional from addition of gelatin as a clarifying agent.  

Flavor 

Bright citrus hop flavor in all parts of the tasting, clean hop note.  Slight grainy backbone supporting malt but not getting in the way.  Fruity grapefruit and lemon peel aroma.  No esters or phenols.  Moderate bitterness.  

Mouthfeel 

Medium body with moderate carbonation.  No astringency but a slightly dry finish.  Very drinkable beer without a lot of residual sweetness.  

Overall 

This is a beer for a hot day without a doubt.  The drinkability of the beer comes from a simple malt bill and the relatively lower fermentation temperature.  The hops provide enough bitterness and flavor to make things interesting without blowing out your taster for the rest of the day.  Very refreshing beer that looks fantastic in a glass for presentation.