10A. American Pale Ale
Aroma: Usually moderate to strong hop aroma from dry hopping or
late kettle additions of American hop varieties. A citrusy hop character
is very common, but not required. Low to moderate maltiness supports the
hop presentation, and may
optionally show small amounts of specialty malt character (bready,
toasty, biscuity). Fruity esters vary from moderate to
none. No diacetyl. Dry hopping (if used) may add grassy notes, although
this character should not be excessive.
Appearance: Pale golden to deep amber. Moderately large white to
off-white head with good retention. Generally quite
clear, although dry-hopped versions may be slightly hazy.
Flavor: Usually a moderate to high hop flavor, often showing a
citrusy American hop character (although other hop varieties
may be used). Low to moderately high clean malt character supports the
hop presentation, and may optionally show
small amounts of specialty malt character (bready, toasty, biscuity).
The balance is typically towards the late hops and bitterness, but the
malt presence can be substantial. Caramel flavors are usually restrained
or absent. Fruity esters can be
moderate to none. Moderate to high hop bitterness with a medium to dry
finish. Hop flavor and bitterness often lingers into
the finish. No diacetyl. Dry hopping (if used) may add grassy notes,
although this character should not be excessive.
Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Carbonation moderate to
high. Overall smooth finish without astringency
often associated with high hopping rates.
Overall Impression: Refreshing and hoppy, yet with sufficient supporting
History: An American adaptation of English pale ale, reflecting
indigenous ingredients (hops, malt, yeast, and water). Often lighter in
color, cleaner in fermentation by-products, and
having less caramel flavors than English counterparts.
Comments: There is some overlap in color between American pale
ale and American amber ale. The American pale ale will
generally be cleaner, have a less caramelly malt profile, less body, and
often more finishing hops.
Ingredients: Pale ale malt, typically American two-row. American
hops, often but not always ones with a citrusy character.
American ale yeast. Water can vary in sulfate content, but carbonate
content should be relatively low. Specialty grains may add character and
complexity, but generally make up a relatively small portion of the
grist. Grains that add malt flavor and richness, light sweetness, and
toasty or bready notes are often used (along with late hops) to
Commercial Examples: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Stone Pale Ale,
Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale, Bear Republic XP
Pale Ale, Anderson Valley Poleeko Gold Pale Ale, Deschutes Mirror Pond,
Full Sail Pale Ale, Three Floyds X-Tra Pale Ale,
Firestone Pale Ale, Left Hand Brewing Jackman’s Pale Ale
Original Gravity: 14 Plato (1.056 SG)
Final Gravity 3.8 Plato (1.015 SG)
– 1.060 SG)
Final Gravity: 2.5 - 3.75
(1.010 – 1.015
5 – 14 ºL
4.5 – 6.2%
Original Gravity: The starting density of
the beer as it begins to ferment. This will give an idea of how much
body and alcohol the beer will have
Final Gravity: The ending density of the
beer as it finishes fermentation. This tells you how much body the beer
has. A higher number means a fuller bodied beer.
Color: Just that, the higher the number
the darker the beer.
IBU's: International Bittering Units. A
measure of how bitter the hops have made the beer
Augmented BU/GU: A ratio of IBU's to
Original Gravity. This ratio will show how bitter or sweet the beer is
for its style. + means it's on the bitter side. - means it's on the