Brewing a Stone Pale Ale…

After reading The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance, I got inspired by Greg & Steve’s passion for brewing. Their obsession with hops, and their unflinching drive to make beers that they love, is undeniable.

Stone released their first beer in July of 1996, 3 months before I finished a 5 year stint in Los Angeles. Man, did I miss out on some good beer! I hadn’t discovered brewing or even craft beer at that point. The only beer I knew how to put back was Corona. Things have certainly changed since then. Little did I know I was in the heart of the U.S. craft beer revolution there in California.

I’ve not yet had the good fortune of trying some of Stone’s beers. Beers like “Arrogant Bastard Ale“, Stone Smoked Porter or Stone Levitation Ale, but fortunately enough, some of these recipes are kindly included in the book. I’m planning a family vacation this fall down to Florida, where I’m determined to sample as much of these beers and other great U.S. craft brews as I can.

Being a big fan of your standard American Pale Ale, I was interested in brewing their first release, Stone Pale Ale. Particularly because it uses Ahtanum Hops, which I’ve never tried before. I went looking for some a few months back, but had no success, so I instead brewed it up using Amarillo instead of Ahtanum, and substituting Safale US-05 for the White Labs English Ale (WLP002)  as suggested in the book. The beer still came out delicious and was a big hit around our neighbourhood. A couple weeks ago, I happened to be searching Toronto Brewing’s site for something and noticed that Zack had brought in some Ahtanum hops, so of course I had to get some!


  1. There are two things in Stone’s Recipe that I’m going to change. First, it says to mash at 156°F for 20 minutes. I reluctantly tried this the first time, and as expected, I ended up with a very low pre-boil gravity. I then had to adjust it by boiling longer in order to hit my target O.G. This time I’ll mash for at least 45 minutes to get full conversion. (I’ve since picked up some iodine solution from my local drugstore to test for full conversion)
  2. The second change I’m going to make is the choice of yeast. When I input White Labs English Ale yeast (WLP#002) into BeerSmith, it estimates my F.G. to be 1.020 when I mash at 156°F. Stone says the F.G. should be 1.014, so I would have to reduce my mash temperature to 147°F in order to hit that. Instead, I’m going to sub in Safale S-04, which will give me a F.G. of 1.017 when mashing at 156°F, which is close enough for me. That way I can still keep a little English flavour in it

Here is the recipe from Stone’s book, adjusted for my system, which has an efficiency of 81%. I’ve also added Stone’s water profile at the bottom if you’re interested in that. I’ll post some pics and reviews when it’s ready to sample…

Carbonation and Storage

Stone Pale Ale

American Pale Ale

Type: All Grain Brewer: Hoptomology
Equipment: 7.5 Gallon Stainless Steel Pot + 5 Gallon Coleman Cooler Mash Tun
Est Original Gravity: 1.057 SG Measured Original Gravity:
Est Final Gravity: 1.017 SG Measured Final Gravity:
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.4 % Actual Alcohol by Vol:
Bitterness: 31.0 IBUs Bitterness Ratio: 0.540
Est Color: 13.7 SRM Calories: 0.0 kcal/12oz



Amt Name Type # %/IBU
7 lbs 13.3 oz Pale Malt (Weyermann) (3.3 SRM) Grain 1 82.2 %
1 lbs 5.9 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt – 57L (57.0 SRM) Grain 2 14.4 %
5.2 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt – 90L (90.0 SRM) Grain 3 3.4 %
0.440 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [12.90 %] – Boil 90.0 min Hop 4 26.6 IBUs
0.770 oz Ahtanum [6.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 5 4.3 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 5.0 mins) Fining 6
1.190 oz Ahtanum [6.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min Hop 7 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg SafAle English Ale (DCL/Fermentis #S-04) [0.80 oz] Yeast 8
Total Grains Used: 9 lbs 8.4 oz Total Hops Used: 2.400 oz

Mash Profile

Mash Style: Single Infusion, Full Body
Brewhouse Efficiency: 81.00 %
Mash Steps

Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 3.32 gal of water at 175.3 F 156.0° F 45 min
Mash Out Add 1.19 gal of water at 209.5 F 168.0° F 10 min
Sparging: Fly sparge with 3.04 gal water at 168.0° F to achieve 6.16 gal

Boil Profile

Boil Size: 6.16 gal Boil Time: 60 min
End of Boil Volume: 5.46 gal Estimated pre-boil gravity: 1.049 SG
Batch Size (into fermenter): 5.00 gal Measured pre-boil Gravity:
Final Bottling Volume: 4.80 gal

Fermentation Profile

Fermentation: Ale, Single Stage
Primary Fermentation: 10.00 days at 68.0 F
Secondary Fermentation: 0.00 days at 0.0 F

Carbonation and Storage

Carbonation Type: Keg Volumes of CO2: 2.3
Pressure/Weight: 10.10 PSI Age Beer for: 3.00 days
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 36.5° F Storage Temperature: 36.5° F


Taste Rating: 0.0 / 50
Taste Notes:
Other: Stone uses a water profile of:
30ppm Calcium / 85ppm Sulphate / 12ppm Magnesium / 40ppm Sodium / pH 7.1 – A little about life, a lot about beer.


24 Responses to Brewing a Stone Pale Ale…

  1. Looks good. I brewed the clone of Stone Levitation that CYBI did a couple of years ago, and it came out great. A side-by-side was very close; definitely the closest-to-commercial clone I’ve brewed to date.

    I’m always a bit confused with the yeast for the Stone beers. The book you mentioned does say the WLP 002/Wyeast 1968 London ESB, but I’ve heard other sources say their equivalent is the Wyeast 1098… this is what I used for my Levitation clone. I found it worked really well… a “milder” English yeast compared to the 1968, with better (for me, anyway) attenuation.

    • Yeah, it doesn’t look like WLP002 would be the one, but then again, I’m not familiar with their beers.
      To quote the book, Greg says, “Regarding our yeast, our strain is kept for us by our friends over at White Labs. And as much as I like you, dear reader, you just can’t have any of that. It isn’t for sale. However, White Labs WLP007 Dry English Ale Yeast and WLP002 English Ale yeast are pretty darn close substitutes.”
      The Wyeast 1098 sounds pretty good. Perhaps I’ll give that one a try sometime in the future, plus like you say, it has better attenuation.
      I’ve got to get my hands on some of these beers when I get down south!

  2. It’s a little bit easier for me, as Portland, ME is very close (considering), and a great beer city. Stone beers (as well as a lot of other great breweries) as far as the eye can see!
    Next time I’m there, I’ll pick you up a few of your wants and send them to you.

    • I’m jealous!!
      Sure, only if it doesn’t cost too much though. I’ll send you some cash if it works out…
      btw, I have some Safale S-04 on hand, how do you think that would in this? Maybe I should switch?
      My WLP002 is tied up in a porter at the moment.

  3. I’ve personally never used the S-04… I know some people love it, and some really don’t – they claim it’s a very bland yeast. Guess you could try it and form your own opinion? Even if you weren’t a huge fan, the hops should still do a lot of the talking, right?
    Back to the 1968 vs. 1098… I had forgotten that the book mentioned WLP 007 as well (which is the “equivalent” to Wyeast 1098, I think), like you said… when I drink Stone beers, I don’t get as much yeast character as I find 1968 gives, so maybe 1098 is a better option (when available). Of course, opinions vary…

    • I’ve enjoyed the S-04 in quite a few beers, but my perception of yeast flavours is still young and needs to be worked on. I recently did a porter with White Labs “Yorkshire Square” that was a blast of esters and flavour. If I didn’t know what an english ale yeast tasted like before that, I sure do know! lol
      But yeah, the hops will take centre stage on this one I imagine.
      I might try the S-04, not sure just yet, but I’ll keep the 1098 in mind for the future….thanks!

  4. I’m on my 4th re-pitch of S04. Depending on malt bill and mash temp, you can anticipate somewhere in the neighborhood of 72-5% attenuation. At 156F, you’d be more on the low end.

    If your fermentation temps sit at 65F or less, the yeast is very clean, almost US05 clean. 68F-75F (S04 max) will start to produce fruity esters though not nearly as much as liquid strains.

    I think you would want at least some English yeast fruitiness, no?

    You could use a lower attenuating, fruity English yeast and then add some sugar to the boil to dry it out a touch… You would need to adjust your grain bill slightly to account for the sugar’s PPG.

    • Makes sense, I think I’ll switch. I imagine there needs to be some english quality in there.
      My basement sits at 68-70F pretty consistently, so I’ll have to go with that…
      Besides, last time I used US-05, so I should try something different anyways!

  5. I agree with both of you… there definitely needs to be some English quality. I don’t find a TON of it in the Stone beers, but there’s definitely more than from US-05 or 1056!
    Good luck with it… looking forward to hearing how it comes out!

  6. The 2:1 ratio of Sulphate to Chloride should sharpen the hops although that water profile is certainly softer than your typical Burton offering.

    You’re in TO right? What’s the source (tap?) water like?

    • yep. we’re not that far off actually, apart from the sulphate:
      35.5ppm Ca / 8.9ppm Mg / 13.8ppm Na / 28.6ppm SO4 / 26.1ppm Cl / 105.6 HCO3
      maybe I’ll drop in a bit of Epsom salts to bring up the Sulphate content

  7. Good idea. Plus a touch of gypsum in your mash if the pH can handle it, if not, in the boil. You’d be pretty close to the 2:1 ratio.

    • I’ve heard of adding it to the boil. From what I understand, it’s more to introduce the flavour contribution from the suplhate as opposed to the hardness from the calcium, and since it’s after the mash anyways, it must be for that…
      I’ve found my darker beers ( > 12 SRM) can handle some gypsum, but my lighter ones just get destroyed, especially the hop flavour.
      Then again, I brewed a Dortmunder that had 300ppm of sulphate and it’s delicious….. water chemistry in regards to brewing is very mysterious.

  8. What happened to hop flavour when you used gypsum?

    I almost always use 2-4 grams in every beer I make (and Epsom and Calc Chloride), my city water is very, very soft.

    • Whenever I use it in say, my Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, or Lakewalk Pale Ale, it just destroys the hop flavour and aroma. It leaves me with a very generic bitterness without any distinctive profile. Like you just added a bland, old batch of hops at 60 mins and that was it. Even with some bigger late additions. I had started with 1g per gallon and eventually went down to 0.25g per gal. Like I said, in the darker beers, more amber type ales and browns, it does really well, but not for the paler ones. just my experience, maybe the hopping levels were too low to thrive on the sulphate. (?) Obviously in an IPA, the heavy gypsum is famous, so maybe that’s the problem, not enough hops, who I am to complain about adding more hops?! haha

    • Just thought of something, maybe in the past, my SO4/Cl ratio was way out of whack. I’ll have to go back and see exactly what I did, but by messing around with some numbers for the Stone Pale Ale, if I only add Mg for the sulphate, my ratio is 3.3, which s WAY high, but if I also add in some CaCl, it balances out at 1.5, plus adds some extra calcium for the yeast. Perhaps this was my problem. (?) I’ll try both the Mg & CaCl in this batch and see how it goes….

  9. My baseline water profile is:

    Given my source water, this generally means a 4g addition of CaSO4, 6.8g addition of CaCl, and a 4.2g addition of MgSO4. I make these additions to the mash which helps keep my mash pH in check

    My S04:Cl is about 0.70, below .77 is considered “bitter”. I tend to brew more hop forward beers so I find this “bitter” ratio does a nice job accentuating the hop sharpness (YMMV). For an IPA, I may add an additional 4g of CaSO4 to the boil. I am still well below a Burton profile. These numbers fall somewhere is the neighborhood of Mosher’s ideal Pale Ale numbers.

    A ratio between 0.77-1.3 is considered “Balanced”, above this would be “Malty”.

    • I just noticed I reversed my ratio numbers. It’s 0.70, Cl:S04.

    • I’ve been adding my additions to the strike water to help mix it up and make sure it’s even in the mash. Do you think it gets mixed up enough just adding it into the mash? I guess it must as I’ve heard a lot of people do that.
      It’s nice that you have 85ppm of calcium. I’ve always been a bit concerned about mine being at 35ppm as it’s below the recommended level of 50ppm.
      I added some Epsom salts and CaCl to my Stone batch on saturday, so we’ll see how it works out. It made the SO4 85ppm and a SO4/Cl ratio of 1.5, so although nowhere near burton, I’ll hopefully be able to tell the difference between my other batches that had the SO4 levels at around 200.
      I did another porter a couple weeks ago where I didn’t add any salts to it, and it was noticeably different than when I do. Still good, but not as ’round’ tasting.

  10. To the strike water would be best for reasons noted, although for Chalk additions, add to mash since some acid is required to dissolve the powder.

  11. Amarillo as a sub for Ahtanum? I would have used Willamette, personally (Yes, I’ve tasted single-hop Ahtanum and Willamette ales, side-by-side). Amarillo is more of a harsh grapefruit, up-front, instead of the prominent resiny character found in Ahtanum or Willamette, which then each have citrus as a background flavor.

    There are so many “citrus” hops out there that the lines blur a little bit, but if you’re not using the same hop in a single-hop pale ale or IPA, you’re not making the same beer. The recipe can always wait until you can do it right.

    Fermentis Safale US-05 is along the same lines as Wyeast 1056 American Ale, or White Labs WLP001 California Ale Yeast. These are pretty different than 002 or 007.

    • Hey Greg,
      I agree on the Amarillo sub. I tried it the first time because I didn’t have any Anthanum, and although it was still good, it wasn’t the same. More of the grapefruit nose that you mentioned.
      I’m yet to try Willamette as a late addition, or as a single hop. I’d like to try it to get a better idea of it’s characteristics.

      Having tried it with both us-05 and s-04, I have to say I prefer the S-04, even though it’s not as prominent as 002 would be. It adds just a little extra that the American strains are missing. I’m becoming a big fan of Irish ale (004) I might give that a try in it just for fun…

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