Pacific ale/ lager recipes- view from the other side of the ocean

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SanPancho

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so im hoping to get some insight into the "pacific ale" and lager styles you guys have been seeing and enjoying. i'm in California, and have been hearing things about them, but obviously its not something we get here in the states so impossible for me to get samples to actually taste for myself. and alot of internet writeups always refer to an actual beer you guys get as a reference, which obviously doesnt help me at all...

the general themes i pick up are these-

moderate alcohol- no 7-8-9% bombs here, much more friendly 4-5ish % beers mean you can have more than one without falling off your stool
wheat- i always see it, but seems to vary from lowish amounts like 10-20ish, but others go up to like 40 or 50%
low IBUs- great idea, nothing i hate more than a beer that makes me thirsty.....
fruity hops- appeal is obvious.
water- no idea, but im told most of you guys seem to have fairly soft water...?
yeast- doesnt seem to be any particular variety or family of yeasts here, just a whatever-works situation?

so the alcohol is easy to understand, these should be like "session" beers. easy drinking, have a few all afternoon without getting stupid

wheat-given the varying amounts, im not quite clear if the goal is to be something that makes the beer light in body (low %), or if its to help pick up a creamy/smooth character like you see in hazy/neipa styles with higher %? are any other grains used like oats or spelt?

low ibus- obvious appeal. are we avoiding bittering additions and just getting ibus from late hops/whirlpool like a hazy/neipa recipe?
fruity hops- obvious appeal.
water- are there guidlines here? i assume sulfate is low to keep bitterness in check. are we upping chlorides? or just trying to stay very soft overall profile?

yeast- i dont seem to hear alot about ester profiles, seems like clean strains are popular.

the idea of these beers is like nirvana to me. now that i'm out of the commercial game, i get to brew for myself. and if i could snap my fingers and have any beer in front of me that i wanted, it would be a light crisp lager that was filled with the hop flavor. but more like you'd see in a west coast ipa- bright and clean. not the muddled, swamped, rotten fruit hop character so common in hazy/neipas.

so that's my new focus.

since so many awesome new hops are coming from AUS and NZ i think i'd like to understand how you folks are making them approachable and enjoyable.
 

An Ankoù

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Hi Mate,
I know where you're coming from. I'm in France and I love Australian and New Zealand recipes because they're so refreshing in both senses of the word.
Look through this lot:
and this lot, too:

Sorry to my Australian mates for posting two NZ recipe books, I'm not aware of the Oz ones except Small Batch and they need reformulating for a decent batch size. The one I've tried though, Australian Ale, is amazing.

I seriously recommend the Gladfield NZ Pilsner.
 

JDW81

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One of my staple tap beers is a pacific style ale based on the stone and wood pacific ale.

70% ale malt
30% wheat

Cascade for bittering to 25-30IBUs then galaxy for flavour (0.5G/g/L at flame out then 0.5G/L dry hop).

Ferment with an American ale strain.

You can treat your water however you like (I never really bothered as my water is pretty good).

It’s a cracking drop.

JD
 
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One of my staple tap beers is a pacific style ale based on the stone and wood pacific ale.

70% ale malt
30% wheat

Cascade for bittering to 25-30IBUs then galaxy for flavour (0.5G/g/L at flame out then 0.5G/L dry hop).

Ferment with an American ale strain.

You can treat your water however you like (I never really bothered as my water is pretty good).

It’s a cracking drop.

JD

Thanks, I'll give that a go, I've had a few similar efforts that haven't been quite there
 

j_da_man

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@SanPancho - if you are local in CA- you could go with an off the shelf kit (extract or all grain) from morebeer. They have locations in NorCal and SoCal. The released this kit a year of so ago:

Imperiales Symons Galaxy Australian Sparkling Ale - All Grain Beer Brewing Kit (5 Gallons) | MoreBeer

It is called an Australian Sparkling- but is really a Pacific Ale in my mind. You can find the recipe sheet here. Recipe was put together by Vito from (now closed) Imperiale Project in NorCal. He won gold for an Australian Sparkling at HBC several year ago before going pro. He did this particular recipe as a colab with Peter Symons- so it has even more street cred!
 

JDW81

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Thanks, I'll give that a go, I've had a few similar efforts that haven't been quite there
Galaxy is what S&W use, but any fruity hop at the end would work well. I've only ever made it with galaxy (I've ever made it with galaxy).

Forgot to add the OG should be around 1045-1050 and an FG around 1010ish

You could use a little less wheat if you wanted to.

Mash at around 63-65C.

JD
 

SanPancho

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much appreciated responses. there's quite a few recipes floating around the internet, and i might have seen a few of these out there i think. (hard to remember)

is there anything you folks can offer in the reasoning behind the recipe parts? i'm guessing most of my assumptions in the original post are on target since no one's said otherwise.

but i'm still curious about the two issues - yeast and wheat.

i'll just assume clean/dry yeast works best?

but as for wheat- still not clear on whether its more of a body lightening addition (10-20%), or a creamy/smooth mouthfeel addition (30-40%) like for hazies......
 

An Ankoù

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I think you're right about the yeast. Clean and flocculant would be my choice, so you can taste the malt and the hops. But that's a guess, As for wheat, it tends to be used to improve head retention first, and to lighten the colour and mouthfeel second. My experience of these beers is that they're not meant to be cloudy although some drinkers like to swirl the yeast back into a beer to deliberately make it cloudy. That's just the trad way of drinking the brand/style and doesn't come from wheat additions anyway. Wheat additions don't lower the abv. If you really want to change the mouthfeel and lighten the colour you could add rice, but I'm not sure that Japanese styles are counted as Pacific ales- I tend to think of them as a style of their own, but I could be wrong. I hate the Asahi and Kirin lagers that are made under licence in Europe- they're too sweet (that's not superdry!) I made up a recipe from Greg Hughes' book for Japanese rice lager and it's delicious.
Like you, I'm not an expert on the style although I try to copy it. I'm pretty sure I've got it right on the how and why wheat is used, though.
 

An Ankoù

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One of my staple tap beers is a pacific style ale based on the stone and wood pacific ale.

70% ale malt
30% wheat

Cascade for bittering to 25-30IBUs then galaxy for flavour (0.5G/g/L at flame out then 0.5G/L dry hop).

Ferment with an American ale strain.

You can treat your water however you like (I never really bothered as my water is pretty good).

It’s a cracking drop.

JD
That's worth a go.
I made up a Pirate Life Pale Ale some time ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact I'm going to reach for the couple couple of bottles I've still got left. Lovely beer, not exactly "pale" though.
 

JDW81

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much appreciated responses. there's quite a few recipes floating around the internet, and i might have seen a few of these out there i think. (hard to remember)

is there anything you folks can offer in the reasoning behind the recipe parts? i'm guessing most of my assumptions in the original post are on target since no one's said otherwise.

but i'm still curious about the two issues - yeast and wheat.

i'll just assume clean/dry yeast works best?

but as for wheat- still not clear on whether its more of a body lightening addition (10-20%), or a creamy/smooth mouthfeel addition (30-40%) like for hazies......

I can’t speak to any specific style guide, but I sort of treat it like a half way point between a blonde and a golden ale with a new world hop twist.

I based my recipe off some trial and error and the information that was provided by stone and wood on their website (where they state wheat and ale malt + galaxy). On my old system the 70:30 ratio with a clean American ale yeast got me pretty much identical. Mine probably had a little more hop flavour (which was mostly due to freshness). A number of the other pacific ale styles I’ve had are also similar.

The wheat (for me) adds a little mouthfeel and head retention and helps lighten the colour. It does add a little cloudiness, but the beer I copied is also a little hazy.

I add whirlfloc but no other finings.

JD
 

Sidney Harbour-Bridge

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I think S&W Pacific ale is the standard to aim for.

It is a summer semi-sesionable ale, highly attenuated, so wheat helps add some body/mouthfeel with fruity dry hop.

30% wheat malt seems to be about right.

I think Cascade for the bittering addition is a good idea as Galaxy can be very harsh if added to the boil, no more than 30 minutes boil time though as you need to keep to around 20 IBU.

Galaxy is the dry hop of choice for me, you could add some at whirlpool I guess.

Yeast is US05/WLP001/Wyeast1056 and yes swirl it into the glass
 

JDW81

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.

I think Cascade for the bittering addition is a good idea as Galaxy can be very harsh if added to the boil, no more than 30 minutes boil time though as you need to keep to around 20 IBU.

Galaxy is the dry hop of choice for me, you could add some at whirlpool I guess.
I’ve heard that galaxy can leave a harsh bitterness but that’s not my experience.

I’ve got a mountain goat fancy pants clone which I bitter with galaxy and I’ve never extracted a harsh bitterness from it. I don’t use a great deal at the 60 minute mark, and get a lot of flavour and bitterness from a big late addition (usually in the cube). I think I’ve also bittered the pacific ale with galaxy and it was fine.

JD
 

Sidney Harbour-Bridge

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I have bittered with Galaxy too and don't have any notes to say it was harsh but in an IPA you expect some bitterness. In the Pacific ales I have done I have used Galaxy at 15 minutes for bittering but currently Im using 2g as first wort hop because I like some hops in from the beginning, I should change it to cascade, I think that would go well
 

SanPancho

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ok, so that seems to be understandable. now

let me switch it up a bit- what about a lager? the recipes i've seen there seem like the wheat drops down to the 10-20% range. (although i've found many more ale recipes vs lager)
 

Sidney Harbour-Bridge

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To lagers, I've never put wheat in a lager or crystal malts, i once put Oats in one and have a big note against it to never put oats in a lager.

My very first AG lager was an NZ style that was Aussie pilsner malt with 25% flaked rice, hopped with Pacifica. I like a good bit of hop at 20 -30 minutes from the end of boil and a bit at flame out.

I've since done similar recipes hopped with Pacific Jade, Enigma and Motueka, Motueka being my favorite.

Just my thoughts on lager vs Pacific ale for a seasonable beer, the amount of work in a lager seems a bit much for the time it stays in the keg.
 

SanPancho

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i guess i'll just have to try out the different versions and see which one works the best.

again- since i dont have any examples to drink and experience, i'm just going by ear here. but in terms of lager, you're already working with something light, crisp, smooth, easy drinking, etc. etc. so thats why i was curious as to why the wheat was added. not a style that really needs extra effort to lighten up, or make into a "sessionable" beer
 

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