Brew Review: HBR Recipe#1 NZ American Pale Ale
Made using the Mangrove Jacks New Zealand Brewers Series American Pale Ale
Readers Note: Unfortunately Mangrove Jack's have discontinued the New Zealand Brewers Series product line which includes the American Pale Ale Featured in this recipe review. We have left this review published for brewspiration.
I made this brew from a recipe we designed and have since titled New Zealand APA after the Mangrove Jack’s New Zealand Brewers Series American Pale Ale kit, which was used as the base.
A couple of years back I went to the states for a short trip and sampled the local APAs. Ever since then I’ve wanted to try making one – and so I did. The goal we started out with – a big, hoppy, APA.
What we got – an exceptionally easy drinking ale with a hop forward profile offering up earthy and citrus tones mixing round with malty characteristics.
The Finished Product
The brew pours with a good head that has a light-moderate structure and the colour is a rish caramel that would probably be around 19-21 on a standard reference method chart. I did use finings and cold crash the brew before bottling creating a clean and clear finish.
Understated is probably the best description for the aroma, Herbal notes from the Columbus and possible pine from the Centennial hops come through on the front but the citrus notes follow up in an unmistakable back-note.
The taste follows the theme created by the aroma offering up a good hop forward flavour with mid-strength malt characters following through from the back.
The international bitterness rating on the APA kit is 25-31 and we probably built this up some more with the dry hops – it’s fair to say a good mid-bitterness comes through loud and clear.
The beer is light bodied making it overall a crisp, clean and refreshing brew and we had an ABV of about 4.5% making it exceptionally easy to drink.
Mangrove Jack’s NZ Brewers Series American Pale Ale: What the packet says
ABV Approx: 4.4%
Ideal Fermentation Temperature: 20-25 Degrees (Because we used a premium craft yeast we adhered to recommended temperature range for the yeast.
Mangrove Jacks NZ Brewers Series American Pale Ale pouch Instructions.
Mangrove Jack's NZ Brewers Series American Pale Ale: The Recipe We Used
We made this brew as part of a recipe we have now titled ‘NZ American Pale Ale’ after the base kit.
In addition to the kit, we used the following ingredients:
1 x Mangrove Jack’s Light Liquid Malt Extract 1.5kg
1 x Fermentis SafAle US-O5 Yeast 11.5g
1 x Sachet of Mangrove Jack’s Finings or Liquid Beer Finings
35g of Columbus Hop Pallets
10-15g of Centennial Hop Pallets
10-15g of (US) Cascade Hop Pallets
We chose the Fermentis US-05 yeast for three reasons: It is well suited to ales, well suited to American style beers and well suited to highly hopped beers. It also has subtle citrus notes that we felt would work well with the hops we were using.
The Columbus, Centennial and Cascade hop pallets, often called the three c’s hops, are regarded as being at the foundation of the American craft beer movement. Apart from being somewhat of an ode to US craft beer the three hops work exceptionally well together.
The Brewing Process
The suggested temperature range on the extract kit is 20-25 degrees. As we had changed the yeast we ran the fermentation around 15-20 degree in line with the US-05 ideal fermenting range.
One thing I did do with this brew was pitch the yeast when the temperature was around 24 degrees, which is near the top of the acceptable temperature range for fermentation for the US 05 yeast, before I continued to cool the wort down to the target fermentation range. The rationale here was helping to activate the yeast; This seemed to work well with fermentation getting off to an early start.
I was brewing this recipe mid-winter and used my heat-pad to help hold the temperature up throughout fermentation.
I added the dry hops in two phases – The Columbus which I added in the first phase at day four and then the Centennial and Cascade were added in the second phase around day seven – eight once specific gravity had dropped under 1.02.
We chose to add the Columbus early to bring through the ‘big hoppy’ character that the hop offers. In addition to understated citrus tones, the Columbus hop also has a good herbal flavour profile which came through in the hop forward flavours.
We then used the Centennial and Cascade to build on the citrus profile of the Columbus.
Often, I bottle mature for around 4 weeks before drinking which is longer than some kit instructions and increasingly, I’m leaning towards leaving brews to mature for 6 weeks especially when I have used dry hops.
While the beer is very nice and drinkable at 4 weeks, I find the hop flavours are stronger and in this case were masking the malt characteristics. When the brew is left to bottle mature for a little longer the flavours seem to mallow nicely and create a smoothness in the overall profile of the beer.
Experimenting For Next Time
The brew was reasonable light bodied with good malt characters and I would say the hop profile was a good mid-level of hoppiness.
A couple of thoughts that crossed my mind to experiment with at some point.
Using 2 Extract Kits
Using two NZ APA extract kits – The hypothesis would be that two kits would help build up the body of the brew and the malt flavours and characteristics.
Dry Hop Volume
Increase the volume of dry hops. I would probably only do this in conjunction with using 2 extract kits.
We used 60-70 grams of hops and I think the recipe could easily carry 100 grams. Potentially up to 150 grams if you really like your hops.