Beer 26: Hoppy Grapefruit Pale Ale

For this beer I wanted to have a lot of beer on hand. One Pot Brewing does just fine with 5 gallons, but what about 8? For this beer, instead of making an IPA, I made an IPA wort, diluted it with tons of water at the end of brewing, and instead made an 8 gallon Pale Ale. I wanted a huge grapefruit character, so I peeled 4 large grapefruits and threw them in at the end of the boil, along with large amounts of citrusy and tropical hops, all of which were placed in my brew bag for a few days during fermentation. The result was pretty tasty.


The grapefruit makes this a very interesting beer. I like it, but in full disclosure my wife and two other people didn’t like it. Another of my homebrew friends did like it. So…there you go. My wife said it was ‘grassy’ and, for all I know, she’s probably right. It’s very interesting to taste a beer that you brewed yourself; you know exactly what to look for, what to expect, and what you’re tasting. I get a large grapefruit peel effect, which might come off as harsh, but not to me; I get an odd pithy bitterness, which is backed up by slightly sweet malt character, and the zingy orange flavor of Simcoe hops. To me, it tastes like the ingredients that were put into it- especially the 4 grapefruit peels. So I’m happy with it.

If I brewed this again, I would try zesting the grapefruits, as opposed to peeling with a knife. Peeling is said to impart harsh bitterness from the pith, which I intentionally wanted because I like it. Adding lemon zest is also a good idea.

This beer carbonated in 5 days. What’s up with that? The mysteries of bottle conditioning continue to baffle me.

Grapefruit Pale Ale  8 gallons
10 lb 2 -row
5.4 lb Munich
.8 lb Caramel Crystal 40
2 oz Magnum FW (30 minute boil)
2 oz Simcoe FO
1.5 oz Centenial FO
2 oz Equinox FO
4 grapefuits, peeled FO
US-05 dry yeast

Another interesting technique I employed for this beer was to collect some wort for later, to use as a “vitality starter” for future beers. First, I sanitized some salsa jars. Then, after the mash, I poured some wort into the salsa jars, let them cool, and popped them in the fridge. That’s pretty easy, actually. I talk about how easy they are to use in a different post. I would only do this for very big special beers, like a Belgian Tripel. I don’t think starters are necessary, but it can speed the process up. It’s really the Belgian Tripel that I want to try this on.

Beer 11: 100 degree Pale Ale!?

Just to recap, my little “One Pot Brewing” experiment is coming along quite nicely. One pot for the whole process. Brewdays under 2 hours. No sparging, or chilling,  or using starters, or oxygenating the wort, or using airlocks, or cleaning tubing (or cleaning period for that matter…probably the best part of this system to be honest). Not only has the beer turned out quite nice, but the process is insanely simple and pleasant – and I brew more because of it. I’ve made a killer Double IPA, a nice Belgian Tripel, and a couple good hot pepper beers.

Back to this beer. There are apparently many ways to fuck up a beer,  and fermenting it at 100 degrees Fahrenheit is one. No brewer would ever ferment a beer above 80 degrees, with the rare exception of a Belgian Tripel on day 5. Well, I did, accidentally. And it’s fine.

Here’s what happened. I have a fridge fermentation chamber which obviously has two compartments – a fridge and a freezer. On this day I brewed two beers at once, putting one in the freezer (a Belgian Dubbel…coming soon), and this beer – the Pale Ale – in the fridge part. Then, I put the temperature sensor in the freezer beer (because I cared more about the Dubbel). I thought: the temperature in the fridge shouldn’t be that different, right? Wrong. I noticed a whopping 39 degree difference! So, while the Dubbel was fermenting at a perfect 65 for a week, the Pale Ale roasted in a 104 degree sauna the whole time!


And guess what? It turned out fine! Surprisingly, this Pale Ale is pretty tasty. It’s definitely not bad, and not the best, and I don’t taste any defects or off flavors, and the hop flavor is crisp and pleasant. I absolutely love the Amarillo hop; it seems lemony to me. I will be using this hop more. I also really like the honey malt, but I cannot explain why. I like the flavor.

Pale Ale
Brewed Nov 3rd, 2015
5.5 lb 2 Row
4 lb Munich
1 lb Gambrinus Honey malt
(30 minute mash)
1 oz Centential FW (30 minute boil)
1 oz Citra DH 2 days
2 oz Amarillo DH 2 days
Safale 05 yeast

I didn’t chill this one. I simply brewed it, stuck it in cold fermentation chamber, and waited. It took a little over 24 hours to get to temp. I did not oxygenate the wort; just pitched yeast.
Nov 9th: hydrometer read 1.009 (this is when I noticed how hot the beer was!)
Nov 20th: bottled
Nov 29th: not fully carbed yet, but tastes damn good, love the Amarillo and Honey malt.
Dec 2: had another one, carb is pretty close, tastes good.

Chalk one up for One Pot Brewing and chalk one up for my brewing philosophy: it’s kinda hard to fuck up a beer (if you know the basics).