The Rock Pale Ale

The Rock is a classic pale ale brewed with a bit of dried bitter orange peel. It's one of the lower-alcohol beers I've made, coming in just over 4% ABV. It was brewed with my buddy Kevin after a sightseeing trip to Alcatraz.

7.0 lb Maris Otter
0.5 lb Carapils®/Carafoam®
0.5 lb Wheat Malt
0.25 lb Crystal 15
0.25 lb Crystal 45
0.25 lb Aromatic Malt

Hop Schedule:
0.75 oz Summit (17.0%) - added first wort, boiled 60 min

We added about 2.0 tsp of bitter orange peel with 30 minutes left in the boil. Then we cooled the wort with the immersion chiller and pitched one envelope of Safale US-05 yeast.

The result is a copper-colored, medium bodied beer with a white head. The aroma is malty with notes of bread and wheat spice. Taste is light caramel up front, followed by a lingering bitterness (more on that later).

The biggest problem with The Rock is the amount of sediment (no pun intended) in each bottle. Not only does this detract from the look and mouthfeel of the beer, but the tiny grain particles provide thousands of nucleation sites for CO2. This means that when you pop a cap off a bottle, you've got five, maybe six seconds before the beer foams up out of the top. You've got to act fast to get it (gently) into a glass, lest you pour a pint of bubbles.

Another issue is the slight twinge of harsh bitterness that comes from the orange peel. This ingredient is most often used in Belgian Wits (I had some left over from my last wit). In that style, the flavor of the peel is offset by the yeast's spicy character. Unfortunately, I found the neutral character of the US-05 yeast can't compete and results in unbalanced bitterness. I hindsight, I should have added the peel in the last few minutes of the boil and possibly used a different, more assertive yeast.

Guess I've got a little ways to go in perfecting the pale ale.