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Cross Country Ale – BeerCo – Recipe – American Pale Ale


Everyone has a craft beer Epiphany and in my case it was in 2004 in the Sierra Nevada ranges of the good ole USA!  Cross Country Ale – BeerCo – Recipe – American Pale Ale pays homage to that time spent in the magical Sierra Nevada mountains drinking a lot of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale!  Truth be known it was 9 years since I had put down my first home brew with some school chums ‘back home’ in Aotearoa but don’t tell the authorities about that or our age at the time.  We brewed together as 4 buddies DNSS then just 2 brew buddies DN right through our high school years using good ole’ Muntons English beer kits, Brewtek kits and Cooper’s kits and Malt Extract and whatever we could lay our hands on in small town TimaHawaii in Aotearoa aka NZ.  DN (Dowling & Nicholls) even got so far as experimental home brewing as we knew it back then by throwing some hops in a pot with a kit and dry hopping to get more flavour out of our home brew.   Why the long yarn before I get to the Sierra Nevada ranges and the Cross Country Ale?  Cause it was important back then in the 1990s.  Whenever and wherever we took our home brews and unleashed them on unsuspecting chums or Dads of chums in NZ they turned their noses up at the cloudy colour or the yeast and hop forward flavours.  We got polite ‘that’s great Dermott & Simon’ keep it up.  One day you might brew something that tastes like real beer – DB Draught as the locals drunk back then which was near enough to ‘lolly water’ and that’s a polite expression for it then and now.

Well in 1994 I was lucky enough to go on S.W.A.P – Student Work Abroad Programme where they let 300 Kiwis loose on the USA with a work permit for 120 days over our summer – the Nth American winter.  Most of us landed up in the California or Colorado mountains and worked as ski bums and drank the first of the craft revolutions beers out of US.  I still recall with super fond memory heading to Safeway in Truckee to stock up on Anchor Steam, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Sam Adams and other craft beers emerging at the time.  When we finished a day in the snow we hit the pubs and were lucky enough to find Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in bottles and sometimes on tap “Wow”!  This is what beer should taste like – I like it! And geez our home brew wasn’t that bad Simon, Nick & Shane.  Wish I could text or facebook you but luckily back then that stuff didn’t exist either so I just drank the good stuff, thought about mates back home and how I might send a giant group email on hotmail to brag about working in the snow and drinking the best beer on earth – Sierra Nevada Pale Ale – at least it was back then to me in Dec/Jan 1994!  This one’s to you Ken G and all the good folk at Sierra Nevada for putting smiles on a student ski bum face in some great resort bar somewhere in the Sierras 🙂

PS I was working at Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Resort where Telemarking was the ‘off days’ sport of choice at neighbouring fields like Sugar Bowl and Boreal.  Had to post this pic as it looks like now they added something else cool to the mix just like Sierra Nevada have added plenty of cool new brews to their mix since 1994.

 Gladfield Malt Bill

Hop Regime

  • ??? AAU Cascade Hops (Mash) (20g of 6.8% alpha acids) – thx Matt @Firestone Walker for the tip on the Brewing Network
  • 27 AAU Magnum hops (60 mins) (18 g of 13.5% alpha acids)
  • 11 AAU Cascade hops (15 mins) (30 g of 6.8% alpha acids)
  • (20 g) Cascade hops (0 mins)
  • (20 g) whole Cascade hops (dry hop) – aiming for 72 hours in the secondary pre bottling – thx Vinnie @Russian River for the tip @ANHC4


Wyeast 1272  (American Ale II) 3 Dec 2014 manufacture date – thx Grain & Grape you could use:

Brewing aids/water treatment

  • 1/2 tab Irish moss @5 mins
  • 5g of Calcium Chloride + 5g of Calcium Sulphate

Step by Step

  1. Heat (16 L) of water to (72-5 °C), stir in crushed grains and 20g of Cascade hop pellets and mash at (64 °C) for 60 mins.
  2. Mash for 60 minutes then stir in boiled water to raise grain bed temperature to 168 °F (76 °C). Hold for 5 minutes.
  3. Recirculate until wort is clear (about 20 minutes), then begin running wort off to kettle. Sparge with 170 °F (77 °C) water.
  4. Boil wort for 90 minutes, adding hops at times indicated in recipe. Add Irish moss with 5 minutes left in boil. Cool wort and transfer to fermenter.
  5. Aerate wort and pitch yeast. Ferment at 68 °F (20 °C). Rack to secondary when fermentation is complete and add dry hops. Bottle when beer falls clear.

Thanks go out to the following references and sources: for their clone recipe for Sierra Nevada Pale Ale – I’m calling this is Cross Country Ale as its not that pale with Red Back and Biscuit malt and I added another country with Kiwi malt so not a true blue clone brew.  Ken Grossman @Sierra Nevada for starting something great and keeping it in the family so to speak 🙂

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Hop Frog Garden Pale Ale

Time to brew another garden grown fresh (or almost fresh – snap frozen) Hoppy Pale Ale with some first year old #WeFo Cascade whole hop cones at flame out.

Gladfield Malt Bill

  • 4.5 Kg Gladfield Ale Malt (78%)
  • 0.5 Kg Gladfield Wheat Malt (9%)
  • 0.25 Kg Gladfield Biscuit Malt (4%)
  • 0.25 Kg Gladfield Red Back Malt (4%)
  • 0.25 Kg Gladfield Light Crystal Malt (4%)


  • 20g East Kent Goldings 2013 4.6% A/A @75 mins
  • 20g Centennial 2013 8.2% A/A @75 mins
  • 20g East Kent Goldings 2013 4.6% A/A @10 mins
  • 20g Centennial 2013 8.2% A/A @10 mins
  • 70g Cascade 2014 ??? A/A Whole Hop Cones @0 mins (flame out)


  • Fermentis Safale US-05


  • 5g Calcium Sulphate and 5g Calcium Chloride in the Mash Water.


  • Planned for an infusion Mash @64 degrees Celsius with 18L of Water and Sparge with 16L to hit a combined wort in the kettle of 26L.


Got off to a flying start on Sun 13th July with Malt (aka Mazzy – age 5 ) & Hop (aka Lola – age 3) assisting Dad with milling the malt into a new malt catcher using the trusty Chinese Barley Crusher.  Many huffs and puffs later – might use the drill next time we were off to mash into the Rubbermaid esky/chilly bin.  The Crown Urn had brought the water to strike temperature at 75C but I lost a good 15C by the time I empty into the Rubbermaid (lost 5C) and then added grain (lost 10C) so starting mashing (step style) at 60C before adding additional hot water to lift it to 64C with a few lid lifts and stirs to keep me occupied.
Sparging was going really well right up unto the point I realised I had the Urn tap on and was pouring valuable first wort through the deck on hallowed soil below – arrggghh!!! When will I learn the error of my ways.  Continued to sparge until clear runnings and 26L in the Crown Urn. With the heat cut out switch removed (thx Graeme @Crown Industries) I was able to get to boil and hold it (only vigorously with lid on though) and hit all my timings on hop additions including the whole Cascade hop cones at flame out.  Immersion chilled the brew and racked off to 28C and pitched yeast before transfer to fridge in the shed for rapid chilling to 18C with some ice packs and fridge on full bore.  Was down to 18C by night fall and have since adjusted the Keg King temp controller for 18C primary fermentation.

Cleaned up wrapped up and enjoyed a tub, scrub and couple of delightful Belgium Misfits from @Boatrocker – a truly top drop at the end of an every improving slowly brew day!

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Inspiration Pale Ale

Based on a true trailblazer in the US Craft Beer Scene – Dale’s Pale Ale, first brewed in Lyons, Colorado by Dale as a side project at his now infamous Oskar Blues BrewPub, this is a big American Pale Ale that found its way into cans and is a very popular drop in the US.  Tasted it loved it and love the work of Oskar Blues with their REEB moutain bikes, craft beer in cans and love of good tunes, brews and life in the Colorado mountains – what is there not to love.  Time to pay some homage and try and home brew something inspirational like Dale & the gang!

Brew Day: Sat 27th Apr 2013

4.5Kg Simpson Maris Otter
2Kg Best Munich
400g Simpsons Crystal
20g Northern Brewer 2012 Harvest 10.6% Alpha Acid (AA) @60mins
20g Cascade 2012 Harvest 6.7% AA @30mins
10g Columbus 2011 Harvest 13.9% AA @30mins
20g Centennial 2012 Harvest 9.2% AA @15mins
20g Cascade @5 mins
20g Columbus @5 mins
Wyeast 1272 American Ale II

With a 6.5Kg grain bill and enough hops to knock your socks off, we targetted 70% efficiency using brew in the bag and to aim for 6.5% abv and 65 IBU with trusty help of my and Ryan Vine who travelled all the way over from Ringwood to join in the fun on brew day and of course have a few brews while we are here!

Mashed in @70 degrees Celsius and temperature dropped rapidly to 65C then settled for most of the mash @64C. We mashed off for 10mins @72C before straining and draining using the good old trusty ladder.  It was outdoors brewing weather so all activities were on the back porch – New Orleans style with some good tunes in the background and some past brews enjoyed in between tasks!  Not sure if we will have any wild yeasts join the party but suspect not.  No sparge.  Just a gravity strain and drain of the grain.

Boil took slower and longer to reach than the 35C hell brews days for Westside Pale Ale indoors and we used the full hop quotas pretty much in line with the programme to the letter/time clock.  When it came time to chill the wort and fill the fermenter we netted off 22L and took a SG of 1060 – bang on target – thanks Ryan.  Pitched the yeast and it was bubbling by bed time @32C.  Used Nick’s trusty temp regular and the fridge to bring down to 20C by Sun night – thx Nick @no. 27 – neighbourhood collaborator homebrewing at this best!

Wrapped up a good day’s brewing with Mrs D fine Pork Noddles, bathed and put the kids to bed and then proceeded to have a coffee before a Pale Ale vertical tasting – a great day’s brewing.  Thanks Ryan from #Ringwood for joining the #WeFo action and to Nick for the loaner on the temp controller.  Looking forward to seeing little Dale develop over the weeks ahead 😉

Fermented Sat – Thu week @18 degrees Celsius and racked on Thu 9 May adding the remaining 44g of Centennial I had left into the secondary fermenter and left @ 18C until Mon 13/5 when I turned the temp controller down to 3C and then on Sat 18th May turned it down to 4C.  Bottled on Sat 25 May with a FG of 1012 and bulk primed with 186g of light golden dried malt extract.

Tasted from the bright beer fermenter and must say it was looking good for 4 weeks old.  Quite smooth in terms of body and not to astringent but some definite strong hop character and ability to dry the sweetness of the palate.  Hoping the flavours continue to develop and round out nicely in the bottle over the coming two weeks.  Special thanks to Ryan for all the help on brew day and Nick for the loan of the temp controller – definitely going to get one of those now!


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Westside Pale Ale

Paying homage to all things West and Best in Craft Beer the Westside Pale Ale takes it’s from and inspiration from the West of Centre. Firstly its a beer made famous on the West Coast of America or the Pacific North West modelled on an American Pale Ale that found its way to the West Coast of Australia and the recipe comes from a former Westgate Home Brewer of the Year and Pro-Brewer @LittleCreatures in times past – thanks Alex Troncosco.  As we all know sometimes you have to go west of centre or away from the masses and this is hopefully what this beer will achieve.  As my first all grain brew in the bag using the Christmas present from Mrs D it was with great excitement and trepidation that I set about brew day on a very balmy 32C Melbourne Saturday in what has been a long run of Pilsener or Hefe Weissbier weather here this summer and certainly this week.
Goal was a 20L batch and the ingredients below were used from good old @grainandgrape



20g EK Goldings 2011 Harvest 5.6% AA at beginning of boil
40g Cascade 2012 Harvest 7.2% AA at 65 mins of boil
40g Cascade 2012 Harvest 7.2% AA at 75 mins (close of boil)
20g Galaxy 2012 Harvest 14.9% AA at 75 mins (close of boil)


Wyeast 1056 American Ale MFG 06 Feb 13 (You could use Nor Cal Ale #1 GigaYeast or US-05 or BRY-97 )
Used my shiny new 40 L Crown Urn (tx Santa Kate) to heat up 23L of water to 75 degrees before loading in the bag of grain which instantly dropped it to 72 degrees celcius and mashed in for an hour stirring periodically and taking temperature readings.  Perhaps it was the stinking hot day but only lost 1 degree from start of mash to finish at 71 degrees 1 hour later.
Lifted the grain bag onto a ladder to strain the grain for a good 45 minutes.
After straining the grain (no lautering this time) I then pitched in 20g of East Kent Goldings and boiled that for 65 mins before adding 40g of Cascade hops and ten minutes later another 40g of Cascade and 20g of Galaxy hops.  Used Nick’s trusty coil to immersion chill the wort which took about 45 mins and strained off the wort into the fermenter topping up with fresh cold water to 20L and pitched the yeast after taking a hydrometer reading of 1050.  The pitch temperature was about ambient room temperature and the fermenter has been sitting at ambient room temperature of 32C which is 10C higher than I would like but will have to do for now.
Looking forward to watching this little Westie do its thing in the fermenter over the coming 2 weeks and thinking about whether or not to do a dry hop addition post primary fermentation or just let it be the little Westie.  Brew on 🙂
Brewing in a heat wave is never a good idea and the fermentation has suffered the effects as well running from Sat – Tue in the fermenter @28-32 degrees C due to a heat wave.  Bit the bullet on Tue night transfering to the new ‘beer’ fridge in the shed and crash chilling it down to 20C by Wed morning.  By Thu night I had to turn off the fridge as it has dropped to 12C which is too cold for an ale yeast.  By Friday I had it back up to 18C and it stayed solid around there through to Sat 17th March when I racked off the beer into a secondary fermenter took a hydrometer reading @1020 and dry hop socked it with remaining 20g of East Kent Goldings.  On Wed 20th March I turned on the fridge again for two weeks cold conditioning eventually getting the fridge down to a respectable 4C over a couple of days of playing with the fridge controls.  Having checked out Nick’s kegking fridge temp controller which can dual both a fridge and heat pad I have found my next brew toy wish list post purchase of a copper cooling coil.
Like its neighbourhood this Westside Pale Ale is getting a rough treatment and it will be interesting to see what emerges from the fermenter in another 10 days time and how it conditions in bottles 2 weeks thereafter.  If it pulls through on the taste, body and flavour it will be a bit of a battered baby turned good not unlike a lot of #WeFo sibblings I suspect that rise to glory in their fields of passion.
Thu 4/4/13 turned the fridge off to let the temperature slowly rise back up ahead of bottling this weekend.  Sterilised a hop sock and injected the last 20g or 1/2 of the 40g left over Galaxy for a fast dry hop aroma benefit for final few days pre bottling. Took another reading @1020 so clearly a lot of dextrin leftover from the higher than planned mash temp.  Bottling this weekend and drinking Westside in a fortnight with my massive 🙂
Did some tasting of the Westside Pale Ale vs some fine examples of the style on Sat 27th April and very pleased with how it turned out all things considered.  Certainly not lasting long in the fridge this easy drinking pale ale.