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Pale

The Payoff

The Payoff

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Faithful blog readers will know that we recently made a recipe based on Firestone Walker's award-sweeping Pale 31 pale ale. *A note about clones: based on what breweries post on their website, one can sometimes surmise some ingredients and specifications (OG, ABV, IBU, SRM) found in a particular beer. So a clone is not following another's recipe, it's like seeing the ingredients (not portions or timing) for some chocolate chip cookies and knowing how many calories are in it and then trying to figure out how it was made.*

So our pale is now ready (dubbed Pale Comparison) and the only true unbiased testing comes blind.

ImageYou who are not blind can tell that we do not have the commercial filtering equipment afforded by FW, so ours is the murky one on the left, that will probably settle over the next 2 weeks.

ON TO THE RESULTS!

ImageThree trusted friends and beer appreciators and myself tasted the two blind, like Devin here, who can't trust himself to keep his eyes closed. Surprisingly 4 out of 4 scored ours higher than the Pale 31, and it wasn't even that close. I tasted the Pale 31 second, and was disappointed with it because I thought it was ours - jazzed. The Pale Comparison has a superb nose with citrus and subtle floral tones, and finishes clean but a touch sweeter than the 31. Enough with the bragging, this is why we brew - it's a blast, and occasionally you hit one out of the park. We'll keep this one as a regular in the rotation.

Pale 31 Clone

Pale 31 Clone

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I personally do not put all my stock in national or international beer contest award winners, if an IPA wins a gold medal, I'm certainly not prepared to say that it's the best IPA in the world. However, occasionally I a.) Have tried the beer under scrutiny and b.) completely agree that it's the best in that category.

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The Firestone Walker Pale 31 has won gold several times at the World Beer Cup, plus countless other awards along the way to their reign at the top. We're trying to make something that will taste close.

Beer nerd specs: 62% 2-row, 24% Maris Otter, Munich and Crystal 40 for the rest. Shot for 1.049 OG, 50 IBUs, 6.5 SRM with Fuggle for bittering (that's a hop AND a strange word) and Cascade, Centennial and Chinook for Aroma and Dry Hopping.

I plan to introduce some characters at a later time - but for now - Dan's daughter Nora, our future marketing manager and event planner or perhaps yeast strain microbiologist?

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Silky smooth brew day, through cleanup in 4:30 without breaking a sweat (which we didn't have to do because it was 75 outside and perfect, Northwest in the summer is pristine). We shaved substantial time off by implementing a ghetto-as-the-day-is-long brew tree for the sparge and getting the boil started.Image

OSHA approved for 3-year-olds running around too. In the end, or efficiency was too good (82%+) so we overshot our targets, even after adding water to the boil, getting 1.056 OG and our eventual ABV up ~0.6% and out of the session category. Shame.

Might need to skip the next brew day scheduled in 10-days, I have 20 gallons fermenting at various places all over my house and I'm going to have to figure out what to do with it. Cheers to you, reader.

8/16 UPDATE: Fermentation finished up in 8 days to 1.013, giving this a 5.6% ABV. I'm going to do something slightly different with each 5 gallon split: one got kegged tonight with dry hops in the keg, the other I'm going to dry hop in a carboy along with 1/2 oz french oak chips. I have been disappointed in the aroma we've been getting with dry hops and I'm suspicious that doing it in the keg may be to blame - we'll know the truth. The oak is to grab a little flavor imparted by some commercial breweries (like FW) that ferment in oak - not sure if I'll be able to taste it, but having the comparison helps.