Telegraph Pale Ale

Telegraph Pale Ale label

Telegraph Pale Ale is a West Coast style pale ale, meaning it has a more pronounced hop flavor than a regular pale.  It was an extract brew with 3 lbs of steeped specialty grains. I hadn't brewed for about a year and a half (see upcoming "Throwback Recipe" posts), so I was a little rusty.

Overall, brew day went well. I did come in well under my five gallon target (at about 3.5 gallons) and had forgotten to boil and cool more water to get up to recipe volume. Anxious to get the wort into the fermenter, I decided against topping it off.

After a vigorous three-week primary fermentation, it was time to bottle. Again, everything was fine. Until...

I had the fermenter on my kitchen counter, letting the beery goodness flow from the spigot on the bucket, through a transfer hose and into the bottling bucket below. As the liquid level dropped, I could tell there was a good bit of trub (settled grain, hop particles, and yeast) at the bottom. So I grabbed the closest thing to me--a corkscrew/bottle opener--and used it to prop up the front of the fermenter, hoping to keep the trub away from the spigot.

As the last few cups of warm, uncarbonated beer flowed out of the fermenter, the corkscrew--which hadn't been washed in months, say nothing of being sanitized--slipped out and fell with a splash into the bottling bucket. I thought all hope was lost.

I bottled the sucker anyway, fully ready for the possibility that whatever microbial junk was hanging out on that corkscrew would surely screw up the beer.

Ten days later, I popped the top on the first bottle. And, to my joyous surprise, it tasted pretty damn good. Had the higher alcohol level from coming in under volume protected against infection?

I didn't take any pictures during the brew this time. But here's the finished product.

Citrusy hop aroma, mostly grapefruit and bitter orange. The taste is piney with citrus notes and a soapy finish (in a good way). Well balanced with toasty malt. Even though the recipe was rated for 6.5% ABV, the lower volume means it's closer to 9.5% (making for a good time). Slight alcohol taste as it warms, but nothing unpleasant. Overall, a great return to homebrewing.

(I'm saving two 22 oz. bottles in the back of the fridge for a foggy day. And in San Francisco, there are a lot to choose from.)