Beer Recipe: “JuniPA” Juniper Pale Ale

This was a beer born after listening to a podcast or two about brewing sahti, a traditional Finnish beer which frequently uses Juniper or similar evergreen sprigs in the mash to flavor the beer.  I happened to have the much less resinous and more mild juniper berries already in my spice cabinet from some sauerbraten I made a while back, so I decided to use the rest for a beer.  I went with an American pale ale base so the berries could really come out and not get hidden behind too much malt or hops- I really wanted to see what they would do in the beer.  This is one of my older recipes just before I made the transition to all grain and water treatment, so this is a partial mash recipe.  I’ll soon be making an all grain beer based (loosely) on this recipe. [UPDATE: Here is the all-grain JuniPA post.]

Batch Size: 5 gal/ 18.9 L

Malt:
5 lb/ 2.27 kg     Briess Golden Light DME
1.5 lb/ 680 g     Rye Malt (mash)
8 oz/ 227 g       Maris Otter (mash)
1.5 lb/ 680 g     Carmel 40 (steep)
1 lb/ 454 g        Cara-Pils (steep)
1 lb/ 454 g        Carmel 60 (steep)

Hops:
1 oz/ 28 g         Millennium, 16%, 60 min, 26.9 IBU
1 oz/ 28 g         Brewers Gold, 9.9%, 30 min, 12.8 IBU
1 oz/ 28 g         Cascade, 6.2%, 10 min, 3.8 IBU
Total IBU: 42.2 (Tinseth)

Spices:
1 oz/ 28 g         juniper berries (est)

Yeast:
1 pkt               Safale S-05

Target CO2:   2.4

Gravity:
OG:                 1.063
FG:                  1.016
ABV:               6.65% after conditioning

Water:
Mash temp:          150F/ 65.6C
Mash in 1 gallon pot on stove
Boil time:              60 min

I did not treat the water of this beer, so it just ended up being my local tap water which I know now to be far too low in calcium and sulfate.  That being said, its a bit tricky to properly treat your water when using extracts anyways.  Not only are extracts concentrated wort, but also concentrated ions from the water they used in their mash process.  I suspect the best approach here would be to lightly balance your water (correct any gross defects like low calcium or a poor chloride to sulfate ratio) before adding the extract, and just trust the company did their job in water treatment well enough.

Fermentation Temperature: pitched at 60F; fermentation temperature not recorded

Tasting Notes:

Appearance: light white head which laced a bit on the glass; dark red-brown

Aroma: earthy/ berry fruit

Taste: moderately strong bitterness up front fades quickly to background earthy berry fruit; lasting bitterness after fruit fades; rye spice complimentary; slight hint of pine

Mouthfeel: luscious and creamy, probably as a result of the rye malt; the Marris Otter was just to ensure the rye would convert, but this is most likely unnecessary, and plain two-row would be better for this

Overall: This was my favorite pre-all-grain recipe- very drinkable and a great depth a flavor for a beer style that’s normally quite simple.  It was perhaps a bit more bitter than a pale ale should be (though maybe not with how the style is evolving)- certainly a bit more bitter than I meant it to be.

– Dennis,
Life, Fermented

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About Dennis
Home brewer, home chef, garage tinkerer. Author of Life Fermented blog.

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