Homebrew competition: American Pale Ale (ended)

//Update

The first homebrew competition has been done and dusted! There were a lot of firsts: using our new beer scoresheets, getting allignment on how we judge beers, and figuring out how we serve entrants beers. We started with sampling a commercial example of an American Pale Ale to discuss how to score beers and discuss the style and traits. This really helped getting everyone on the same page and lead to some great questions and discussions.

What about the results? Well we have two winners this evening. The most points for a Pale Ale went to Emiel for his beer. Unfortunately he forgot to read the one hop restriction rule and that technically makes Tom the first official winner of the homebrew competition. Congratulations to you both! Eternal fame and glory is yours, until the next competition at least 😉

Thank you for everyone that entered the competition. You should have received the scoresheets to help you improve even further on your beers. Our next homebrew competition is November and is a Pumpkin Beer. Hope to see even more entries then.

end of update\

It’s time for our first homebrew competition ever! We’ve settled on brewing an American Pale Ale. The competition will take place during our August meeting, taking place August 14 at Foeders. We hope to see a lot of entries for this one!

The beer needs to comply to the BJCP style guide which we’ve listed below. Furthermore we settled on two restrictions on the beer:

  • It will be a single hop Pale Ale. This means you can use only one type of hop when brewing this beer. You can choose any kind of hop you want to.
  • We will use Fermentis SafAle™ US-05 for this brew. This American ale yeast is widely available. You can download the spec sheet here.

The restrictions are there to make the beers more similar, to promote learning from small brewer differences.

The FOEBAR competition rules apply and can be found here.

So without further ado, here are the style guideline as described by BJCP 2015, and the statistics as provided by the Beer Styles IOS app.

American Pale Ale Statistics

American Pale Ale Description

Aroma: Moderate to strong hop aroma from American or New World hop varieties with a wide range of possible characteristics, including citrus, floral, pine, resinous, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, or melon. None of these specific characteristics are required, but hops should be apparent. Low to moderate maltiness supports the hop presentation, and may optionally show small amounts of specialty malt character (bready, toasty, biscuit, caramelly). Fruity esters vary from moderate to none. Dry hopping (if used) may add grassy notes, although this character should not be excessive.

Appearance: Pale golden to light amber. Moderately large white to off-white head with good retention. Generally quite clear, although dry-hopped versions may be slightly hazy.

Flavor: Moderate to high hop flavor, typically showing an American or New World hop character (citrus, floral, pine, resinous, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, melon, etc.). Low to moderate clean grainy-malt character supports the hop presentation, and may optionally show small amounts of specialty malt character (bready, toasty, biscuity). The balance is typically towards the late hops and bitterness, but the malt presence should be supportive, not distracting. Caramel flavors are often absent or fairly restrained (but are acceptable as long as they don’t clash with the hops). Fruity yeast esters can be moderate to none, although many hop varieties are quite fruity. Moderate to high hop bitterness with a medium to dry finish. Hop flavor and bitterness often lingers into the finish, but the aftertaste should generally be clean and not harsh. Dry hopping (if used) may add grassy notes, although this character should not be excessive.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Moderate to high carbonation. Overall smooth finish without astringency and harshness.

Impression: A pale, refreshing and hoppy ale, yet with sufficient supporting malt to make the beer balanced and drinkable. The clean hop presence can reflect classic or modern American or New World hop varieties with a wide range of characteristics. An average-strength hop-forward pale American craft beer, generally balanced to be more accessible than modern American IPAs.

Comments: New hop varieties and usage methods continue to be developed. Judges should allow for characteristics of modern hops in this style, as well as classic varieties. Becoming more of an international craft style, with local adaptations appearing in many countries with an emerging craft beer market. Hopping styles can vary from the classic large bitterness addition, to more modern late hop-bursted examples; all variations are allowable.

Ingredients: Pale ale malt, typically North American two-row. American or New World hops, with a wide range of allowable characteristics. American or English ale yeast (neutral to lightly fruity). Specialty grains may add character and complexity, but generally make up a relatively small portion of the grist. Grains that add malt flavor and richness, light sweetness, and toasty or bready notes are often used (along with late hops) to differentiate brands.

Commercial Examples: Ballast Point Grunion Pale Ale, Firestone Walker Pale 31, Great Lakes Burning River, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Stone Pale Ale, Tröegs Pale Ale

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