Something Old, New and a Little Different

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Perfect marriage: old, commercial and largely lost North American ale style (see History, below) and the modern hop Loral.

Loral is a good stand-alone hop, with excellent bittering and a character that is more assertive than noble hops and less so than most of the hops we use in APAs and AIPAs. Hop oil content is high, the aroma profile distinctive, with an accent on floral. Some brewers combine it with the likes of Mosaic and Citra, but to me that’s like drowning oysters in barbecue sauce.

I‘ve tried and liked Loral in all-malt ales with Munich, light crystal and/or Victory thrown in, but it really shines with a simple grain bill that includes a little flaked corn and brewed to meet the following targets: 5.6–5.8%, abv. 35–40 IBUs, noticeable aroma from late hop additions.

I’ve brewed to those targets using all grain, mostly mash and partial mash. One all-grain version used 4.2 kg Golden Promise, 700g flaked corn and 300g wheat malt in 22 L. I used a Hochkurz mash, pH 5.38, BIAB, 40 mins @61, raised the temperature in kettle over 25 mins to 71, 10 mins @71, mashed out. Dunk sparge. Campden tabs in mash and sparge water, a partial nod to low-ox.

65 minute boil. 30g of Loral pellets (11% AA) @ -60

30g Loral in hop stand in (insulated) kettle starting at 88o.

20g Loral dry hop last 2 days in fermenter. (Note that biotransformation may have continued during carbonation).

Yeast: BRY-97. Not US-05 or 1056 (see History)

og 1.066, fg 1.015. Bottle carbonation to 2.8 vols estimated to bring batch into target abv range.

Variations:

(1) partial-mash version with 150g Carahell in mash. Rounder, less crisp than above version.

(2) mostly-mash version using Briess Wheat DME for the wheat addition, did not dry hop but used half a vial of floral hop oil (from Craftbrewer) before bottling. With two weeks of cold-conditioning after carbonation the floral aroma was too strong, but over the following weeks this version mellowed into my favourite of the lot.

History:

The beers with which I began my drinking career were bigger brothers of cream ales and Canadian golden ales and distant cousins of Coopers Pale Ale, all of those brews extra-pale and flavourful competitors with macrolagers. By bigger I mean more bitter, more alcoholic and more hop flavour and aroma, though in different balances than in modern APAs.

The two I mostly drank and that had wide distributions were Ballantine XXX Ale, from Newark, New Jersey, and Black Horse Ale, from the Canadian maritimes and contracted US breweries. After going through several owners of the labels, Ballantine XXX only exists in a tamed version, Black Horse in a lager little like the original. Other examples included Olympia Ale and Rainier Ale, which still exists as a fairly coarse 7.5% abv malt liquor.

Ballantine XXX Ale is my main model. They malted two-row Canadian barley and kilned to English specs for their ales. The grist included corn, and some reports said a little wheat malt. Hops were Cluster and English hops that included EKG, but much of the flavour and aroma came from fractionally distilled hop oils. A floral aroma was characteristic.

The yeast used in XXX has come down via the Siebel collection as BRY-97. Ballantine is also the original source of US-05 and Wyeast 1056, but they used that strain for a faux lager, "Ballantine Beer." I find BRY-97 contributes a little more esters than US-05, and to my taste in this beer I agree with the old brewers. Some brewers of APAs complain that BRY-97 strips hop aroma, but I have not found that with Loral.
 

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