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Style of the Week: Extra Pale Ale!

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June 4, 2015 by fhsteinbart


Typical Extra Pale Ale served in a standard American Pint glass.

Typical Extra Pale Ale served in a standard American Pint glass.

A lot of people ask me what is up with the relatively new emerging style called Extra Pale Ale (EPA). Basically it’s a drier, hoppier, and lighter bodied version of an American Pale Ale (APA). Usually it’s around 20% less gravity at the terminal end, yet starts out the same in original gravity. Even though it has the same amount of hops as a regular APA, it frequently tastes hoppier due to the drier finish. So the alcohol is usually higher as a consequence of this dryness in character of the finish of this beer. A lot of people feel that Belgian Pale Ales were the driving force behind this development, while others insist that its the divergence of a classic style to a lighter bodied product. While the other direction went with increases in body and mouthfeel, and we ended up with the American Amber Ale. Either point of view makes sense, but I think it’s more about competition in the marketplace by professional brewer’s to come out with something different, and unique, as it relates to people’s thirst for new(er) and more interesting beers. Below is a recipe of mine that makes for a nicely dry EPA which is eminently drinkable, and has a nice lingering finish with a crisp, dry, malt and hop combination.

Extract:

6 lbs. Extra Light DME

¼ lb. Crystal 15 malt

¼ lb. Victory Malt

¼ lb. Honey Malt

¼ lb. Torrified Wheat

1½ oz. Willamette Hops (bitterness)

1½ oz. Goldings hops (flavor)

1½ oz.  Amarillo hops (aroma)

Wyeast 1056, WLP001, or US-05 Ale yeast

Procedure:

  • Heat ¾ gallons of water to 165°F.
  • Add steeping grains to kettle and steep for 30 minutes.
  • Remove grains, and rinse with 165°F water
  • Turn off heat and add malt extract, stirring until fully dissolved.
  • Return to Heat, bring back to boil.
  • After 10 minutes, add the bittering hop addition.
  • At 20 minutes remaining, add the Whirlfloc tablet or Irish Moss.
  • At 15 minutes remaining, add the flavor hops.
  • At knockout, add the aroma hops, then cool the mixture by placing kettle in an ice bath or use a wort chiller. Add the mixture to the fermenter, removing the hops, and bring total volume to 5 gallons using distilled, bottled, or filtered tap water.
  • Aerate unfermented wort (shaking works well).
  • Pitch yeast and ferment at 64°~65°F for 7 to 10 days.
  • Allow to age an additional two to three weeks before packaging up as usual.

All Grain:

10 lbs. Pale Ale Malt

¼ lb. Crystal 15 Malt

¼ lb. Victory Malt

¼ lb. Honey Malt

¼ lb. Torrified Wheat

1½ oz. Willamette hops (bitterness)

1½ oz. Goldings Hops (flavor)

1½ oz.  Amarillo hops (aroma)

Wyeast 1056, WLP001, or US-05 Ale yeast

¾ gm. Brewing (Burton) Salts per gallon (~3.75 gms. or 1 level tsp.) in the mash and in the boil.

Procedure:

Infusion mash at 149°F for 1 hour. Sparge to 6.5 gallons of wort, and bring to a roiling boil. Add the bittering hops 10 minutes into the boil. Continue boiling for 40 more min. then add Whirlfloc tablet or Irish moss.  At 45 min. then add flavor hops. At knockout, add the aroma hops, then cool the mixture by placing kettle in an ice bath or using a wort chiller. Add mixture to fermenter, removing hops, and aerate unfermented wort (shaking works well). Pitch yeast and ferment at 64°F to 65°F. Gravity may vary depending on system efficiency, so adjust accordingly.

Package up as usual; bottled versions should use 100 gms. corn sugar (approx. ¾ cup), or kegged to 20 psig, and allow two weeks to come into condition. Serve at 50°~55°F in an American Pint glass, share, and enjoy! This beer will continue to evolve and change over the coming months, so make enough to last you through your next brew.

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2 thoughts on “Style of the Week: Extra Pale Ale!

  1. Mark Shelton says:

    Thanks for the great recipes!
    The directions indicate 3/4ths of a gallon of water to start. Is that correct? Shouldn’t it be more?

    Like

    • fhsteinbart says:

      No, it actually is ¾ of a gallon. Any more and the pH would rise beyond 6.0, and the possibility of tannin and silicate extraction increases exponentially. After that you can add more water to the steeped grain water, then add your extract to the balance to get up to 6¼ gallons for the boil. If you need anything else, please let us know!

      Like

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