The first batch of Extra Pale Ale turned out well…..so well, that the keg had an abnormally short lifespan. While I enjoy making mouth-puckering hop monsters that tend to be (by design) unbalanced and a little on the thin side, a nice, easy drinking pale ale is something I always like having around. With my family out of town, I decided to take advantage of the beautiful spring day and push my honey-do list back a day and break out the ten gallon equipment and do a double batch. I basically doubled the malt bill and and hops, and added a little more for good measure.

I’ve had the pump and the plate chiller for a while, but I’ve only used the chiller a couple of times, by gravity only. I finally got around to getting some hi-temp tubing and fittings so I can pump the wort from the kettle, through the pump, into the plate chiller, and then cooled to around 68 degrees into the fermenters. It worked pretty well, although the valve on the kettle is a little high, so I need to work out a way to not lose so much wort….or I could just up the batch by a gallon.

I ended up with around 8 gallons total (due to the above mentioned valve, and a little extra boiloff), so I filled one carboy and put what I could into the other. The main idea behind doing 10 gallons this time was to use two fermenters, each with a different strain of yeast. So I have one fermenting away with a 1L starter of 1056 American Ale yeast, and the smaller batch has a smack pack of Rogue’s Pacman yeast. I’m interested and excited to see how each strain will affect the flavor and character of the beer.

Here’s a photo of the whole setup.

This year’s order of hop rhizomes are in, and I plan on getting those in the ground soon. The 4 I planted last year all have shoots coming out already. Should be a good year for hops!