Isn't that just a pale ale? Short answer, no. Long answer, in the 1970's a craft beer revolution was started by home brewers in their garages, kitchens, and backyards. The generation of Charlie Papazian brewers (home brewer's between 1970's and today who grew up brewing with Charlie Papazian books) paved a way for better beer across the country. As home brewers started opening brewery's new styles were created. Most famously, Sierra Nevada, creating the American style Pale Ale. Today's brewer's are pushing style "guidelines", brewing fermented versions of musical mash ups (Belgian IPA, phenolic yeast with American hop varieties). American brewers brew without the history and dogma of traditional brewing regions. In Germany, the rich scientific brewing tradition is at odds with an ageing population and a youth culture moving towards spirits and alcopop. In a recent article it stated, "Today's youth do not think of beer as fashionable. The trend is moving toward alco-pops, or alcoholic mixed drinks." According to Koenig, Germans spend more on wine than beer. Alco-pops are popular in the states as well, but the home brew movement in the states gave way to a new beer culture with over two thousand breweries open and tens of thousands more home brewer's. Just like discovering a new band, food, or finding a new beer style that you like, it can be exciting. With this next generation of drinkers and brewers we're able to digest the extreme beer aught years and keep moving forward. Where a session IPA is becoming the "new pale ale".
Lew Bryson has been pushing the low alcohol beer movement for years, and more and more it seems like it's finally taking hold. A cool thing is happening. The opposite of the extreme years. Where, instead of taking traditional styles and making them bigger and bolder (higher abv and more hops) brewers are lowering the abv but challenging ourselves to not lose flavor. The rise of table, session, "everyday" beer styles is exciting. Thus today's batch of beer, a Low Gravity IPA. Target is a four point three percent pale ale with the hop rate and character of an IPA. It's more challenging to make a flavorful beer that's lower than five percent and still be malty and flavorful than brewing seven percent pale ale brewed with double ipa hop rates. IPA is the most popular style by sales across the county. It's been an obvious style candidate to shrink. Examples such as Lagunitas Fractional IPA, Otter Creek Hop Session, and Founder's All Day IPA. With brewery's like Notch Brewing whose only focus is on producing beer lower than five percent Lew Bryson should be happy to know that the full flavor session beer tipping point has taken hold. Let's just hope it lasts. What style do you think will be the next style that we'll be making munchkin versions of?
The challenge to lower gravity beers is to prevent them from being thin and watery. First off mash in warmer than one hundred and fifty two up to one hundred and sixty. Mash temperature is very important to the sugar profile of the wort. Just a few degree mash difference will change the final gravity a few points. Another way to add malt flavor and character is to use base malts that provide more flavor than boring old pale two row. Use heirloom English malts such as Maris Otter and Golden Promise. A good go to is German malts such as Vienna and Munich that provide a more bread-y flavor from being toasted longer than most base malts. I also like to use a larger percent of dextrin malt when brewing low gravity ales and lagers. For example for this beer today I'm using twenty percent cara-pils malt. Seventy percent Vienna malt and ten percent flaked wheat. I also mashed in very warm at one hundred and fifty seven degrees. This low gravity IPA today needs a malt backbone to handle all the hops. Depending on your water you may also want to add brewing salt to your water to provide more mouth feel for your low gravity style mash ups.
Super Galena hops for bittering to forty international bittering units. CTZ hops for flavor addition at thirty minutes. With a late kettle addition of Centennial and whole leaf Citra. I've dry hopped the beer on day two of fermentation with Nelson Sauvin. I'll be dry hopping the heck out of this even more with yet to be determined hops. Fermented with Safale US-05.
Finally brewed a batch at our new house. The last batch I brewed was back in October. Seems like a very long time ago. My focus has been on starting Burlington Beer Co. Trying to find a location has been frustrating to say the least. My wife and I bought a house built in 1931 with many recent updates over the last five years by the previous owners. We have an acre of land and we are very excited to have space for a garden again. I'll be building quite a few raised beds this spring. Back to the details of this latest batch.
Gose style beer. A traditional sour German wheat beer. This recipe idea is my wife's. She enjoys commercial examples of Gose style beers and wanted me to brew one. For the salt we used a pink Himalayan salt. The pepper was pink peppercorns. For the six gallon batch I used thirty grams of salt. Based off the Mad Fermentationist's Gose where he used fifteen grams for five gallons and said he would double the quantity for the next batch.
Fairly simple grist bill. Over fifty percent wheat malt. Barley malt, flaked wheat, and acidulated malt round out the grist bill. The acidulated malt will add some tartness. I'd like to inoculate this beer with some lactobacillus, but I need this batch ready in a month so I'll probably be adding a couple ounces of lactic acid to the keg. I feel like it's cheating, but using lactic acid is a quick, sanitary method to sour a beer. I've used plenty of food grade lactic acid in my professional brewing career. Pumping fifty five gallon drums of lactic acid into the whirlopool for Festina Peche when I brewed at Dogfish Head.. All the sourness for that beer comes from food grade lactic acid. For my Gose today I added ten international bittering units of hops at the beginning of boil. This batch is being fermented with Wyeast 1010 American Wheat. The strain should produce a slightly tart, crisp, low ester ale.
The starting gravity is eleven degrees plato (1.044 SG). This should produce a low alcohol ale that's crisp, but have a fuller mouth feel from all the salt added at the end of boil. Another cool part about this batch is that we have well water at our house. This is my first time brewing with well water. I decided not to filter the water and just brew as is. It will be hard to tell what impact the well water has on this batch because I added so much salt. I'll be brewing a low gravity IPA Tuesday and that batch should be a better indicator of the impact of the well water. I may send out the water for lab samples, but my focus is still on building Burlington Beer Co. It's an uphill battle, but it's a battle worth fighting for.