Gowanus Brewery

Extra Pale Ale – Naming and Style Review by Jeremy
December 14, 2007, 12:00 am
Filed under: beer, extra pale ale, naming

Bubbling in the Extra Pale Ale fermenter has tapered off and this weekend I’m moving it to the glass carboy. It seems to be moving along fine and the recipe is so simple I don’t expect to run into any hiccups. Tonight or sometime I’m going to mock up a label for it: “Cleaner’s Ale – We’re All Going”.

My first beer was a Double IPA, the second an IPA, so this, my third batch, will be my first Extra Pale Ale. I know it will be lighter in all respects and won’t be as hoppy as the first two, but I don’t know much more than that. Here’s what Northern Brewer had to say:

Crisp, hoppy, and quenching, our Extra Pale Ale is highlighted with the sharp, citrus aroma of Cascade hops in the new tradition of West Coast ales.

The information posted at BeerAdvocate is right in line and gives some perspective on the use of hops here:

Of British origin, this style is now popular worldwide and the use of local ingredients, or imported, produces variances in character from region to region. Generally, expect a good balance of malt and hops. Fruity esters and diacetyl can vary from none to moderate, and bitterness can range from lightly floral to pungent. American versions tend to be cleaner and hoppier, while British tend to be more malty, buttery, aromatic and balanced.

The contours of this style aren’t clear just yet, but we know that it is an American-style Pale Ale that, through the use of Cascade hops, represents “the new tradition of West Coast ales.” I should note that it seems this beer is known alternatively as Extra Pale Ale and American Pale Ale. It will be a clean and hoppy beer that may also taste fruity.

The Wikipedia entry on American Pale Ale presents a fuller picture what characteristics to expect:

[American Pale Ales] are pale to amber in color and generally their flavor and aroma is centered around the citrusy and pine character of American hops with caramel-like malt flavors and fruity esters from the ale yeast playing a supporting role.

As usual, for the fullest picture, I turn to the Beer Judge Certification Program Style Guidlines on American Pale Ale. These guidelines are action-packed and I highly recommend you visit the BJCP site for yourself, if only to gloss over the wealth of information available there. The guidelines describe American Pale Ale the same as do the references above, with one exception. BeerAdvocate says diacetyl may be present, while the guidelines say it should not. I’ll have to explore diacetyl’s function in a future post. For now, I’ll try to wrap up this review. First, I’ll point to the ingredients section found towards the end of the guidelines:

Pale ale malt, typically American two-row. American hops, often but not always ones with a citrusy character. American ale yeast. Water can vary in sulfate content, but carbonate content should be relatively low. Specialty grains may add character and complexity, but generally make up a relatively small portion of the grist. Grains that add malt flavor and richness, light sweetness, and toasty or bready notes are often used (along with late hops) to differentiate brands.

Lastly, I’ll throw in the guidelines’ vital statistics section:

OG 1.045 – 1.060
FG 1.010 – 1.015
IBUs 30 – 45+
ABV 4.5 – 6%

After re-reading my notes on the American Pale Ale style of beer, I’m really looking forward to trying this beer. With the citrusy hops, it sounds crisp and cleansing. Plus, as I think I planned, it will complement the Imperial Pale Ale and Chinook IPA well.


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[…] Extra Pale Ale to secondary. I was surprised that it was not as light in color as I expected from an American Pale Ale, let alone a beer called Extra Pale. “Extra Pale Ale,” although referring to the type […]

Pingback by Extra Pale Ale - Update « Gowanus Brewery

[…] am Filed under: beer, extra pale ale I bottled the extra pale ale today, which a few weeks ago I named Cleaner’s Pale Ale, and it all went off without a hitch. Third time’s the […]

Pingback by Extra Pale Ale - Bottled « Gowanus Brewery

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