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  • Writer's pictureFaffy

Brew #13: American Pale Ale

A light refreshing American pale ale homebrewed to be shared with friends.

Christmas home brewed American pale ale near a Christmas tree

This was our Christmas beer that we brewed to share with friends. Sadly because of the coronavirus lockdown, this was not possible but it did mean we ended up with many bottles of this lovely light beer.

We based our beer on a recipe from the book, Brew better beer by Emma Christensen and adjusted it to our small-batch brewing needs. We used the ‘Very Good American Pale Ale’ recipe on page 71 as our guide.

Brew better beer by Emma Christensen

Check out some of our other brews here:

We wish you a Merry Christmas 5% Pale ale recipe

Method: All-grain BIAB

Batch size: 11 litres

Brewhouse efficiency: 63%

Estimated OG: 1.052

Estimated FG: 1.012

Estimated ABV: 5.2%

Estimated IBU (Tinseth): 48

Estimated EBC: 18.7


  • 2.04 kg Crisp Pale ale malt (5.5 EBC)

  • 681 g Crisp Caramalt malt (29.5 EBC)

Hops/additions: 60 min hop boil

  • 60 mins, Simcoe pellets (9 g)

  • 20 mins, Simcoe pellets (12 g)

  • 0 mins, Willamette pellets (17 g)


White Labs, California Ale Yeast (WLP001)


1/2 tsp Irish Moss at 15 mins remaining of the hop boil


Mash at 65 °C, mash out to 75 °C

Fermentation 14 days: 19-21 °C

Carbonation: 2.4 CO2-vol

Brew day - 14/11/20

Every Brew day deserves a great beer and my beer of choice today was Doom Bar by Sharp’s Brewery. A lovely classic amber ale! An oldie but a goodie, it was first brewed back in 1996.

Doom bar by Sharp’s brewery - Brew day beer

We added our grains to our brew pot lined with our large mesh bag and mashed the grains in 7 litres of water for 1 hour at 65°C, before mashing out to 75°C. Well, the plan was to mash out to 75°C but we accidentally got as high as 80°C. Not ideal!

Mashing the grains in warm water to release wort

We then batch sparged the grain bag in 8 litres of water for 10 mins.

Batch sparge the grain bag to release more wort

We did a 60 min hop boil and added our hops in at 60, 20 and 0 mins left in the boil. The first 2 additions were Simcoe for bittering and flavour and the last one was Willamette for aroma. We also added 1/2 tsp of Irish moss at 15 mins left in the boil to help with clarity.

Once the wort had cooled to 22°C we took a hydrometer reading and it was way above our planned original gravity target. We had to pour in 1.3 litres of water to hit the target original gravity of 1.052.

American pale ale original gravity reading of 1.052

We proceeded to pitch a packet of WLP001 California yeast. This is our first time using this yeast. Our standard white labs' yeast is WLP041 which we have used on many of our brews such as Citrillo WIP IPA, Simcoe SMaSH IPA and Citrillo WIP v2.

White labs California Ale (WLP001) yeast packet

This is our first time brewing beer in the winter and one of the perks has definitely been a consistently low fermentation temperature. We were able to successfully ferment the beer for 2 weeks between 21 and 22°C. This is a win because we currently have no temperature control system.

Bottling day - 28/11/20

We upgraded our bottle cleaning game by using the dishwasher to clean our bottles for the first time. How have we never thought about this before? Then we sanitised the bottles using Chemsan as always.

Cleaning bottles in the dishwasher

We took a hydrometer reading and the final gravity came in at 1.014 so we slightly above our 1.012 target but it still came in at 5% ABV! The perfect goldilocks booze level in my opinion, not too strong and not too light.

American pale ale final gravity reading of 1.014

We carbonated the beer to 2.4 CO2 by dissolving 66 g of Dextrose sugar in 130 ml of boiling water. After this sugary water mix had cooled we added it to our bottling bucket (i.e. our spare fermenter), then transferred the beer into the same bucket using our autosiphon.

We then bottled our beer using 330 ml bottles so that we could get as many bottles as possible out. We ended up with 31 bottles and we stuck on special Christmas labels. I was pretty proud of the design. Maybe a little too proud!

We wish you a Merry Christmas 5% pale ale bottle next to the Christmas tree

Beer day - 12/12/20

The beer was ready just in time for Christmas!

Christmas American pale ale served in a glass


A very light American beer which is a perfect accompaniment for a night of light, easy drinking. This is the kind of beer you want to drink in the sunshine at a BBQ with friends and family. Can you even remember when we used to meet friends and family? Sometime before 2020!

It has a lovely amber colour and was very lightly carbonated with very little head that did not last for too long. If I was to re-brew this beer I would up the carbonation level.

The beer was light, refreshing, really approachable, and not challenging to the palate. This is not a hop-forward beer and is not bitter, just a really easy drinking beer. A beer that even beer haters would enjoy! At first, I was a bit disappointed by the lightness but based on the recipe, what was I actually expecting. After 2 weeks in the bottle it was good and after 4 weeks it was even tastier. I am really starting to learn about patience with brewing. Overall, this was a lovely homebrewed American pale ale.

Tasting notes:

Colour: Amber

Clarity: Very clear.

Carbonation: Very light. I would prefer a bit more.

Smell: Caramel

Taste: I honestly don’t know how to describe it

Alcohol level: 5%

Perceived alcohol level: Very light

Desirable: Yes

Would I pay money for it?: Yes

Rating: 3.8/5



We wish you a Merry Christmas 5% pale ale pin 1 for Pinterest
We wish you a Merry Christmas 5% pale ale Pin 2 for Pinterest
We wish you a Merry Christmas 5% pale ale Pin 3 for Pinterest


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