Tropical Pale Ale

The Story

Tropical FruitOliver Enns is a lucky boy. He lives in the basement of our ‘brewery’. Given his prized position in the dungeon, he occasionally gets to offer his input into beers. For this beverage, his input was a “fruit salad beer”, with pineapple, grapefruit, orange, and lime. Such a  beer would be perfect for summer if it could be pulled off. Or it could be a fantastic fruity disaster.

So it was up to AJ and Robert to figure out a beer that would adequately compliment the fruit. It was settled it should be a wheat beer, with a neutral yeast to let the fruit flavour come through. Also, there should be some honey malt to add sweetness (as all the fruit we added was fairly acidic). Finally, we wanted a American Pale Ale hoppy citrus taste of Centennial. In all fairness, this beer is a total shot in the dark, because as far as we could tell, this many types of fruit in a beer is unprecedented (our research is remarkably un-thorough). Maybe it will just be an alcoholic Booster Juice. That’s cool too.

The Tasting

Appearance: Golden and slightly cloudy. Very strong and long lasting head despite all the acidic fruit in the beer.
Aroma: Faint pineapple aroma, with a strong, acidic citrus smell as well.
Taste: Quite bitter up front (it is 40 IBUs with really no ‘malt backbone’), but the flavours of pineapple come through right after. Very tart. The bitterness lingers throughout. No specific citrus fruit can be identified; it’s just tart and lemony. Maybe a little bit soapy tasting, but that might be because I associate citrus with lemony fresh soap and laundry detergent. Fairly refreshing beer though.
Overall: This is a rather strange beer. The pineapple isn’t really that noticeable (though it is definitely there). The citrus is strong, but because there are so many different citrus fruit flavours (lime, grapefruit, orange), nothing is really remarkable. It is refreshing, but it is kind of a muddled mess of fruit. We probably should have predicted that, since we added 4 different fruits.

Tropical Pale Ale

The Process

Specifics: 23 litre batch, 67% extraction efficiency, ABV 4.7%, O.G. 1.048, IBU 40, single infusion mash: 45 minutes at 68 Celsius.

Grain Bill
We wanted a fairly typical wheat beer grain bill, with mainly pale malt and wheat malt. However, we added a couple extra grains to make the beer a little more interesting. Not that we needed to do that.

Oliver Doing His Thing(Oliver’s functionality in the brewhouse is sometimes quite limited)

Gambrinus Pale Malt: 5 lb
Gambrinus Wheat Malt: 5 lb
Rye Malt: 1 lb (We thought the spicy qualities of rye malt would nicely compliment the citrus fruit)
Flake Oats: 8 oz
(Oats add a silky smooth mouth feel to the beer. We wanted that. But to be honest, we just wanted to have 4 different grains in the beer: barley, wheat, rye, and oats. We have 4 different fruit, why not four different grains)
Gambrinus Honey Malt: 8 oz (We wanted to add some sweetness because we were concerned that most of the sweetness of the fruit would ferment out, leaving just the acidic qualities of the fruit)

Pineapple and citrus peelsHop and Fruit Schedule

We selected Centennial hops because of their citrus aroma and flavour which we hoped will blend well with the grapefruit, lime and orange. As to why we selected these fruit to add to the beer? Well, that’s what Oliver wanted. Who are we to argue?

60 Minutes: 1 oz Centennial (We wanted the beer to be fairly bitter, as this is supposed to be a summer thirst quencher)
10 Minutes: 0.75 oz Centennial and 1 pineapple cut into 1/2 cubes (This hop addition to to add the grapefruit flavour. We hoped boiling the pineapple for 10 minutes would get some of the flavour out of the pineapple)
5 Minutes: Peel of 2 Oranges, 2 Limes and 1 Grapefruit (This is how long we normally boil orange peel for witbiers, so we figured this would be a good amount of time)

Pineapple, citrus and hops(All the left over hops, pineapple, lime peel, orange peel, and grapefruit peel)

Pineapple Floating in Beer

Fermentation
We just used rinsed Nottingham yeast. Nottingham yeast ferments very clean, and allows hops and fruit to come through clearly without any esters.
Primary Fermentation: 7 days at 18 Celsius
Added 1 pureed pineapple when racking beer to the secondary.
Secondary Fermentation: 14 days at 18 Celsius
Added 1 pound of unpasteurized honey for carbonation

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