Pale Ale with Medusa

>> Saturday, August 10, 2019

Today I'm brewing an American Pale Ale. This is a new recipe I'm trying out. Like my recent Kellerbier, the majority of the base malt is from Root Shoot Malting out of Colorado. This beer will also feature another ingredient native to Colorado, Multi-head hops, also known under the brand name Medusa. These hops are a Neomexicanus variety, which are hops that are native to the Southwest and reportedly thrive in dry and hot climates. I planted some in my yard earlier this spring, and they almost didn't make it due to the abnormally cool and wet spring we had in Utah. It'll be at least another year before I can harvest any, so the hops in this recipe were all purchased.

Descriptions for Medusa indicate it has quite a bit of tropical and citrus character, but also a substantial dank component. I'm pairing it with some other hop varieties that will hopefully emphasize the fruity character and keep the dank in check.  Additionally,  the I'm using Imperial's Kveiking blend which is said to also contribute bright tropical notes in the finished beer.  Here's the recipe as I'm brewing it today.

6.1875# Root Shoot Pale Malt
2.25# Crisp Organic Pale Malt
12oz Weyermann Barke Munich Malt 
6oz Weyermann Cara Munich II
1g BrewTan B (mash)
2.5ml Hopshot (45 min)
3.5g Mosaic Cryo (20 min)
14g Medusa (15 min)
3.5g Mosaic Cryo (5 min)
14 g Medusa (5 min)
4.66g BCAA (5 min)
7g Medusa (0 min)
3.5g Mosaic Cryo (Whirlpool 170F)
3.5g Amarillo Cryo (Whirlpool 170F)
7g Medusa (Whirlpool 170F)
7g Amarillo Cryo (0 min)
57g Medusa (dry hop 3 days)
28g Citra Cryo (dry hop 3 days)
14g Mosaic Cryo (dry hop 3 days)
Kveiking Yeast Blend
Wyeast Nutrient

Mash at 154F, 90 min boil, ferment warm.

Water Profile
To 10 gallons RO water, add:
10.0g Gypsum
0.3g Epsom Salt
5.4g Calcium Chloride

Additional Notes
I've been playing around with Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) in my lagers because it's supposed to minimize diacetyl production and speed the uptake of what is produced. I hadn't planned on using BCAA in ale recipes because yeast clean up diacetyl just fine at warmer ale temperatures.  However, I read something (can't seem to find it now) about how kveik strains may struggle if BCAA levels are low, and/or have a hard time utilizing BCAA compared to more domesticated yeast. As a precaution, I'm supplementing the wort with a low dosage of BCAA in addition to Wyeast Nutrient.I

Brewing Notes
No issues. First runnings came in about 18.5 brix (~1.074), pre-boil at 11.9 brix (1.047), and post-boil at 14.9 brix (~1.059), so a couple points higher than target (1.055). The hop blend smelled really nice going into the boil. I chilled down to about 92F before transferring to fermenter, aerating well, and pitching yeast.

Update 8/12/2019
I forgot to post an update yesterday, but it was very actively fermenting by yesterday morning. A lot of people report some of the kveik strains finishing fermentation within a couple days. I don't have a Tilt for this one, so I haven't been able to plot the fermentation. I just checked it (8/12 7am) and it's still fermenting away with a bubble about out the blow-off about every .75 seconds.

Update 10/17/2019
I just realized I never posted comments about the finished beer. This beer turned out really nice. Notes for next time, it could use a bit more bittering but I really enjoyed the hop flavor and aroma which was citrusy, tropical, basically all the good things that are typical of modern American hops. One interesting note, this beer turned out extremely hazy, very similar to NEIPAs.  In fact, some of the feedback I got from this entry in 2019 Beehive Brewoff was asking the lines of judges assuming this was entered as a pale ale by mistake, and that it was really a hazy IPA. I know that certain kviek strains are very flocculant, sometimes presenting challenges keeping them in suspension, but this blend seems to have at least one strain that doesn't flocc well. I'd like to try brewing this beer again, probably with US-05 and see if it clears better.