Tag Archives: American Pale Ale

Reviewing my Stone Pale Ale…

Well, the Stone Pale Ale that I brewed is in, and man, this is a seriously good beer. The flavours are very balanced, with a definite caramel flavour to it from the generous amounts of crystal malt (19%). The Ahtanum hops are a unique contribution. Even though I’m expecting the signature citrusy flavours associated with American hops, it’s flavours are slightly illusive, as they seem to really blend in well with the surrounding malt body.  I’ve always remembered the saying that “if you can pick out one particular ingredient, then there’s too much of it”. They’re in there for sure, they just don’t jump out and hit you in the face. This beer is quite complex for having such a straight forward recipe.

One of the reasons, I think, is because of the water profile. I added some Epsom salt (0.55g per gallon) and Calcium Chloride (0.25g per gallon) to my water to match the profile stated in Stone’s book: The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance. Those levels are:

30ppm Ca / 85ppm SO4 / 12ppm Mg / 40ppm Na / 40ppm Cl

These numbers are not very far off my own water here from Lake Ontario, but the sulphate level is a bit higher at 85ppm as compared to mine of 28.6ppm. I’ve noticed that by using Magnesium Sulphate (Epsom Salt) as opposed to Calcium Sulphate (Gypsum), the resulting enhancement is slightly different. I’m not finding it as ‘harsh’ as I sometimes get with having too much gypsum in my beers. Maybe it’s just all in my head, because sulphate is sulphate, right? Maybe it’s the  sulphate/chloride balance? I’m not sure. My point is, I think the water profile definitely made an impact on this beer in the form of added complexity.

The other interesting choice for this beer was Continue reading

Enjoying a Brew Masters dinner at the Mill Street Brewpub…

A last minute invite came to me from a good friend of mine to join her downtown in Toronto’s Historic Distillery District. The event was to take place at one of my favourite local breweries, Mill Street Brewery. It was to be a “Brew Masters Dinner”, featuring none other than the brew master himself, Joel Manning. Visiting the brewpub is enjoyable for many reasons. One is to take in the beautifully restored historic buildings of the old Gooderman and Worts Distillery District, the other is to enjoy the many different samplings of Mill Street’s beer. They have a wide array of beers available on tap that you don’t get to see in the LCBO or Beer Store, so it’s quite a treat. What was even more exciting, was that some of these not-so-available beers were going to be paired with some pretty incredible food.

We arrived a bit early, so we bellied up to the bar and I grabbed a Cobblestone Stout. I had only first tried it a week before at my friends pub, The Auld Spot, and loved it. The Auld Spot is a fantastic local pub along The Danforth that’s been open for about 15 years. Loved by the locals, filled with regulars, and always cheerful due in no small part from the owners friendly enthusiasm for craft beer and boutique style food. The beers on tap are specially picked by the owners, choosing beers that they would want to drink themselves. Among them are of course some of Mill Street’s offerings.

We met our rep Kim, who invited us to the dinner. She is the Toronto East sales rep for Mill Street, a very fun and lively person, full of conversation and laughs. After being seated, the dinner promptly started off with another one of my favourites, the Belgian Wit, accompanied by an appetizer of mussel fritter with a beer mustard aioli. The dinner continued with these delicious parings: Continue reading

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 Continue reading

Reviewing my Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Clone…

This batch of beer has been a long time coming. I had planned on brewing it a few months back when I wrote my original post, but haven’t been able to pull it together. I finally kegged and carbonated it a few days ago and I’m ready to sample the goods!

This was the first time I successfully used a liquid yeast strain after a few bad shipments in the middle of summer from a Toronto area home brew shop. I made a starter a few days before with a smack pack of Wyeast #1056 & hit my target starting gravity of 1.053. I wasn’t 100% sure if I should pitch the entire contents of the starter. It was still fermenting when it came time to pitch it, so I assumed that most of the yeast was still in suspension. I first decanted the liquid, but then noticed at the bottom was a nice slurry of yeast, so I  pitched that as well. It ended up lowering my original gravity by 0.003 points which was a drag, but it wasn’t the end of the world. I’ve since done some more research on using starters and have a better handle on what to do next time. (I’ll post about that in the coming weeks) Regardless, the fermentation took off like a rocket, and looked very healthy. I’ve kept the yeast and rinsed it properly for use in some future batches.

So let’s get to the beer… Continue reading