Flowers American Pale Ale

Jennifer’s Summer Stout turned out well so I thought I would brew something else.  I used to not like IPAs but after tasting a few realized the tremendous range available in what appears to be a narrow category. An IPA seemed like a reasonable thing to try. My favorites are Fort George’s Vortex IPA with an ABV(alcohol by volume) of 7.7% and 97 IBUs (International Bittering Units) and Pfreim’s IPA  with an ABV of 7.2% and 65 IBUs. Those numbers give me something to steer by.

You start the brewing process with water. Adding 15 grams of Calcium Sulfate aka Gypsum to soft water will help dry the finish and improve the perception of hops and bitterness in the beer. Next up are the grains.


Grains (determines SRM – Standard Reference Method for Color)

  • 30 lbs Brewer’s Malt, 2 Row, Premium (Great Western 2.0 SRM)
  • 5 lbs Munich Malt – 10L (Great Western 10.0 SRM)
  • 3 lbs Victory Malt (biscuit) (Briess 28.0 SRM)
  • 1lb 8.0 oz Cara-Pils / Dextrine (Great Western 2.0 SRM)
  • 1lb 8.0 oz Crystal 15, 2-Row, (Great Western 15.0 SRM)

Brewer’s malt forms the base while Munich and Victory malt increase the malt complexity of the beer. Crystal malt adds color. CaraPils is a body and head enhancer. The target color is 8.3 SRM, something like a light orange. Next up are the hops.

Dried Hop Flowers at Pfreim Brewery & Restaurant

First I determined the target flavor profile from hops. Flowers are one of my favorite things so of course I want them in my beer. I also like grapefruit and neroli flavors and aromas and a crisp taste. I did not want lemon, tropical fruit, pine nor an astringent feel. I researched hops that would yield this combination.

The Vortex IPA uses Simcoe and Amarillo. Amarillo, Centennial and Willamette hops are all known for their floral flavors. Horizon yields a clean taste. Centennial, Willamette and Cascade are hops commonly used in National Homebrew Competition IPA recipes and are American types. If I wanted to go English I would use hops like Goldings, Fuggle, Northern Brewer and Saaz.

Hop sack steeping after the boil

Hop Additions During Boil (determines IBUs or International Bitterness Units)

  • 2.5 oz Bravo (15.6%) 60 mins (adds 36.3 IBUs) for bittering
  • 2.0 oz Centennial (9%) 30 mins (adds 12.9 IBUs)
  • 2.0 oz Horizon (8.9%) 30 mins (adds 12.7 IBUs)
  • 1.5 oz  Amarillo (9%) 15 mins (adds 6.2 IBUs)
  • 1.5 oz  Cascade (8.2%) 15 mins (adds 5.7 IBUs)
  • 1.5 oz  Horizon (12%) at finish, steep  (adds 0 IBUs)
  • 1.5 oz  Willamette (3.9%) at finish, steep (adds 0 IBUs)

This recipe yields 73.9 IBUs. All that work takes 5 hours and it just gets you to wort which tastes like liquid bread. It’s not going to become beer until you add the yeast. For an American Pale Ale you add American yeast. If you want an English version, you add an English yeast.

The Yeast (makes it alcohol)

  • 4.0 oz Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)

Hop Additions During Fermentation

  • 3.0 oz Centennial (10%) Dry Hop 0 days (adds 0 IBUs)
  • 2.0 oz Citra (13.4%) Dry hop 0 days (adds 0 IBUs)

The wort is fermenting right now. In 4 to 6 weeks I’ll know what happened! Stay tuned.