Dale’s Pale Ale Brewday, and the No Chill Brewing Method

I decided to squeeze in a brewday to brew a Dale’s Pale Ale clone for our family trip to the Outer Banks in April.  I recently met the Head of Brewing Operations of Oskar Blue’s while spending some time at Three Notch’d Brewing Co., and he was nice enough to give me the recipe for Dale’s Pale Ale.  Now, it was for a 1900 gallon batch, so I had to do some work to scale it down to 5 gallons, but I think I got it pretty close.

I stayed inside as much as I could

I stayed inside as much as I could

Its been downright cold here in Charlottesville the past week or so.  The low yesterday morning was around 0F, and when I fired up the burner to get started, it was only 15F.  Not an ideal night for brewing, but when you work full time and have 2 small children, you brew when you can brew.  I probably won’t brew again when it gets this cold though.

The brewday was running very smoothly up until the end of the boil.  I was using a new whirlpool method to keep the hops out of the fermenter, rather than my usual hop spider, to try and increase my hop utilization and get a better hop aroma and flavor from the late additions.  I used a total of 6.5 oz of hops in the boil, 4 oz of that at flameout.  Instead of cutting off the burner and chilling immediately, I planned on starting the whirlpool pump, chilling down to around 180F, then cutting off the chiller to allow the hops to steep while recirculating for 20-30 minutes.  This method allows for aroma extraction without increasing IBU’s from steeping in near boiling wort.  Then, after cutting off the pump and allowing the hops to settle in a cone at the middle of the kettle, transferring the wort through the chiller into the fermenter, leaving the hop particles behind.  As a note, this only works with pellet hops, since they can pass through a plate chiller, while leaf hops will clog your pump and chiller. After an initial shot of hop particles, I got a nice, clear wort into the fermenter.


hop cone


The issue came when I went to turn on the water for the plate chiller and nothing happened.  I guess it turns out that the faucet had frozen, and I couldn’t get a drop of water to come out.  Enter panic mode.

I had no way of chilling the wort down quickly.  Before trying to turn on the water, I had cut off the burner, dropped in the final hop addition, and starting recirculating with my pump.  So this was running while I pondered what to do next.  I ran inside, poured a pitcher of hot water, and poured it over the faucet, thinking that would do something.  But the water inside the pipe was frozen, and I had no way of fixing that.  I went back to look at the temp of the wort, and in 5 minutes it had already dropped below 200F.  Maybe I wasn’t completely screwed after all.  In only 14 minutes the wort had dropped down to 180F, which meant that my IBU wouldn’t be effected too much, and DMS production was of little concern as well.  I went inside and looked at my plastic carboy, it read “do not exceed 140F”.  So, after 40 minutes of recirculating, I was down to 140F.  I decided to get it in the carboy, drop it in the refrigerator, and let it finish cooling to 65F before pitching my yeast starter.

After transferring and cleaning up, the wort was already at 105F

After transferring and cleaning up, the wort was already at 105F

After getting up at 345 and 545 am to check on the temperature, I pitched the yeast at 715, about 8 hours after the boil finished into the wort at 68F.  Long night.  But I am pretty confident that the beer will turn out just fine.  After doing some research and finding this ARTICLE ON NO CHILL BREWING I was able to relax a little.  This method was developed more for areas that are too hot, not too cold, but I guess the same principles apply to my situation.

Here’s the recipe:

My Dale’s Pale Ale (5.5 gal)

Efficiency – 85%

OG -1.062

FG – 1.013

ABV – 6.5%

IBU – 68


9 lbs Pale 2-Row

1.2 lbs Munich 10L

0.9 lbs Caramel 20L

0.2 lbs Caramel 90L


0.5 oz Columbus (15.6 AA) First Wort Hops

1 oz Cascade (6.2 AA) 30 minutes

1 oz Columbus, 10 minutes

4 oz Centennial (9 AA), whirlpool for 30 minutes at 180F (read above)

(notice there are no dry hops in Dale’s Pale Ale)


Danstar West Coast Ale Yeast, 2L starter


Mash at 152F with 4.25 gal

Sparge at >170F with 4.7 gal

I added 1.5 tsp gypsum (CaSO4) and 1 tsp CaCl to both the mash and sparge water, since we are low in calcium and sulfates in Charlottesville.  See my post on WATER ANALYSIS for more info.

60 minute boil

Baby J turned 5 months old this week!

Baby J turned 5 months old this week!

Keags and her "snow gloves"

Keags and her “snow gloves”






Published in: on February 21, 2015 at 2:39 PM  Comments (1)  
Tags: ,