Style of the Month: Pale Ale

Pale Ales come in a ridiculously large amount of varieties and styles, and we'll explore as many as we can this month. What makes beer a pale ale is a warm fermentation and the bulk of the grain bill being... you guessed it, pale malt. This is something of the perfect brew this time of year not only because they're often crips, citrusy, and refreshing in the warming weather, but also because they're easy to brew and ferment in these Spring months.

Pales are generally lighter in color and originally appeared way back in the early 1700s, when they were made with malts dried with coke... but not that coke. This coke is a fossil fuel derived from coal. It generates a great deal of heat without all the soot and smoke, so it was perfect to dry the malts without affecting the flavor too tremendously. This resulted in the aforementioned lighter color which was quite different from the majority of beers being made at the time. In the 300+ years since then, pale ale has changed and manifested itself in about as many ways as the number of brewers making it. From taste to strength, and anything and everything between, pale ales have become something of a playground for we brewer folk.

While it's tempting to focus strictly on IPAs, we'll be throwing many more styles under the vast umbrella that is pale ale this month. Colors will vary from pale golden to reddish amber, abv from 4.0% all the way up to 7.5%, and from clean/hoppy flavors to malty, buttery, aromatic and balanced goodins. While hops are often the order of the day for IPAs and APAs, focusing on the larger world of pales will allow us to key in on those herbal and/or citric characteristics we also love. The medium bodied and delightfully bitter beers that go so well with the greening of the land this Spring.

Over at Odd Duck, Mr. Sova will be brewing up a rye pale ale this month. To add a little spice to life, he'll be racking half of the brew into a secondary fermenter when it comes time to dry-hop and writing a later post comparing the two batches. He'll also be taking a look at the pale ales available in the land-o-plenty in Michigan.

As for Woodtooth, the return to the Far East is officially underway. Back up and running in Korea, I'll be happily returning to the world of BIAB and making an American Pale Ale. I'll be writing about the beer itself, the relative ease of finding equipment these days, and the struggles of halving a recipe and converting it from imperial to metric... it's a lot. I've also been able to get my mitts on some of the finer offerings here in the Land of the Morning Calm and will be reviewing what I've found.

So open those windows wide and let in the breeze. Put on some CCR, pull up a chair on the porch, and get ready for some damn fine outdoor drinking!


Post a Comment


Sponsored By

The Concept

Brew Day is a brewers collective with a different obsession every month. Each month the homebrewers involved will tackle a different style of beer by brewing a batch and getting their malt-stained hands on as many pints of the same style as possible. Each brewer will bring their own warped concept to their batch helping to create as many variations as there are brewers involved.

Subscribe by Email