It’s cold? It’s Pale Ale brew time!

For some reason, I always get in the beer making mood when the weather turns cold. This brew day was the coldest day of the year with temperatures at a high of 28 degrees. The last time I brewed was this past April. It was my scheduled day off of work this time around, so I thought I’d venture back into it.



I had gotten the ingredients months ago to make a basic pale ale, so everything was in place. The ingredients are as follows:

-6.6 lbs. Golden Light Liquid Malt Extract (LME)- Add at boil

-1.0 lbs.  Plain Light Dry Malt Extract (DME)- Add at boil

-1.0 oz. Citra hops- Add at 60 minutes

-1.0 oz. Tettnang hops- Add at 30 minutes

-1.0 oz. German Mandarina Bavaria- Add at 15 minutes

-1.0 oz. German Hull Melon- Add at 5 minutes

– ¼ oz. Crushed Coriander seeds- Add at 10 minutes

-1 tsp. Gypsum- Add at boil

-1 tsp. Irish Moss- Add at 15 minutes

– 1 pack of Danstar Nottingham yeast

All of these ingredients can be found at a wine and brew product store or can be ordered online. I do all of my shopping at Scotzin Brothers. They have lots of ingredients, equipment, books, etc. for both wine and beer and also normally have a beer on tap they allow you to sample when shopping there. You can visit them at .

I make 5 gallon batches when I brew, which comes out to be roughly fifty 12 ounce bottles, or two cases worth. The recipe starts with me boiling 2 ½ gallons of water in a stainless steel  pot. Once boiling, add the gypsum. Gypsum isn’t really necessary unless you have hard water. We have two filtration systems in our house, and I still use gypsum. They also say it adds bitterness and calcium to the beer. Once adding the gypsum, take the pot off the burner and add the two containers of Golden Light LME, stirring thoroughly.

Adding LME

Adding LME

Turn the stove down to a medium high heat and put pot back on burner. Then add the DME and continue stirring.

Adding DME

Adding DME

Adding hops to a beer is fun. I love the smell of fresh hops so I look forward to this stage in the brewing process. There are 3 stages with the hopping process during the boil. You want to add certain hops during certain times for certain reasons. Adding a hop at the beginning of the boil adds the bitterness. Adding a hop in the middle of the boil adds the flavor. Adding a hop at the end of the boil adds the aroma. During the boil, you want to leave the lid to the pot off!

With this recipe, you first want to add the Citra hops(citrus, tropical) at the beginning stage of the 60 minute boil for bitterness.  BE VERY CAREFUL THAT THE WORT DOESN’T OVERFLOW THE POT! This is why the heat needs to be turned down to medium/high,…to have a controlled boil.

Continue until you reach 30 minutes left in the boil, then add the Tettnang hops (slight spice).

Adding the hops

Adding the hops

Continue the boil with the lid off until you reach the 15 minute mark, then add the German Mandarina Bavaria hops (tangerine, citrus) and then add the Irish Moss. Irish Moss is a clarifying agent. You see the big commercial beers and see how clear of a beer they are. That is because they have expensive filtration and clarifying systems they use. We have Irish Moss. If you smell it, it takes you directly to a pier at the ocean. I can’t explain it any better than that.

With 10 minutes left in the boil, add the crushed coriander seeds. I like a pale ale with a citrus type finish. This was my own added touch.

Adding the crushed coriander

Adding the crushed coriander

At the 5 minute mark, add the German Hull Melon hops (fruit, melon, and strawberry).

Once the 60 minute boil is complete, you want to immediately cool the wort to 70-75 degrees. They sell products to help this process, but I am old-fashioned and can’t really afford the equipment at the moment, so I use ice cubes and freezer packs. Since it was 28 degrees outside, I also stuck it outside. The entire cooling process took about 1 hour.

Ice and freeze packs to cool the wort

Ice and freeze packs to cool the wort

Cooling the wort outside

Cooling the wort outside

Once assured the wort is 70-75 degrees, pour the wort into a 6.5 gallon bucket or carboy. Add the entire packet of Danstar Nottingham dry yeast. They also sell liquid yeast that may or may not start the fermenting process quicker. The yeast combines with the malt/sugar to form alcohol (the hops are strictly for taste and aroma). Stir in the yeast. Don’t be afraid to really mix it well. It will activate the yeast. Once mixed, seal the lid and put the airlock on the top lid.

Carboy ready to ferment

Carboy ready to ferment

You can fill the airlock with water or vodka. The airlock releases carbon dioxide from the beer when fermenting. It doesn’t allow air to get into the fermenter, though. You will know when CO2 is released when bubbles start coming up out of it. See the bubble below…

Airlock- with CO2 bubbles. Let the fermentation begin!

Airlock- with CO2 bubbles. Let the fermentation begin!

With this specific brew, you should see bubbles for roughly 3-4 days. If no bubbles show, mix warm water with more yeast and add to the wort and re-seal. I will let the beer sit in the carboy bucket for 2 weeks, in a darker location where the temperature is between 65-70 degrees. I will then transfer to a bottling bucket, add 2 cups of warm water to 5 ounces of priming sugar and mix into the beer thoroughly. The priming sugar adds the carbonation to the beer over time. I’ll then bottle the beer and let sit for another 2 weeks in a dark, cool spot.

This was a quick walk through. I’m looking forward to tasting this pale ale just in time for Christmas!

Do you brew beer? What’s your favor beer? Any questions about my brief brew process?

2 thoughts on “It’s cold? It’s Pale Ale brew time!

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