Last week, I decided to make a simple pale ale. I wanted something fairly light, not too bitter, and with a hint of caramel. I had some CTZ and Simcoe hops in the freezer so I wanted to use those in this brew. I am not an expert by any means, but below is what I came up with. Notice that all the hops were added with 20 minutes or less. The aroma addition was at flameout with a 15-minute hop stand before chilling. I intended to use pale malt but at the last moment decided to use pale ale malt instead, which I've never used before.
Name Type Amount Mashed Late Yield Color Weyermann - Pale Ale Malt Grain 11.000 lb Yes No 85% 3.4 srm Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L Grain 1.000 lb Yes No 74% 40.0 srm Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L Grain 6.000 oz Yes No 74% 80.0 srm Total grain: 12.375 lb
Name Alpha Amount Use Time Form IBU CTZ 15.5% 1.000 oz Boil 20.000 min Pellet 26.8 Simcoe 13.0% 1.000 oz Boil 10.000 min Pellet 13.5 Simcoe 13.0% 1.000 oz Aroma 15.000 min Pellet 0.0 CTZ 15.5% 1.000 oz Dry Hop 7.000 day Pellet 0.0 Simcoe 13.0% 1.000 oz Dry Hop 7.000 day Pellet 0.0
After the boil, while racking from the kettle to the fermenter, I noticed an aroma of Southern sweet tea. I had hoped that would go away, but when I took a hydrometer sample last night it was still there in a big way. I also get very little of what one would expect from the Simcoe hops. There is also not enough bitterness, likely owing to the fact that the CTZ I used were only 12.9% AA instead of the 15.5% value Brewtarget uses by default.
So my questions are these:
- What could have caused this tea aroma? Is more likely the hops or the pale ale malt?
- Is this something that is likely to fade over time?
I kegged and served this beer last night, and it turned out pretty good. More caramel flavor than I expected but not over the top. I definitely get an earthy flavor from the late CTZ hops. But the more relevant point is that the tea aroma has gone away.
I brewed a porter this past weekend that had neither Simcoe nor CTZ in it, and I caught a faint whiff of that aroma again as I moved it to the fermenter. It dawned on me then that I started smelling this when I switched from Irish moss to Whirlfloc (5 minutes). Every batch in which I've used Whirlfloc has had that aroma when it went into the fermenter. Thankfully, it does go away after a couple of weeks in the fermenter and does not affect the beer.
So I suspect it's the Whirlfloc. I've read complaints of a "fishy" or "oceany" smell when people overuse the stuff, but never "tea" like I experience. I guess that could come down to my sniffer just being a little different. This will not deter me from using Whirlfloc, though. That stuff is way better than the Irish moss I was using.