spiral arm pale ale

Spiral Arm Pale Ale

On hot summer days, I’ve always been a fan of session strength pale ales. Served cold with a good amount of carbonation, in moderation they quench the thirst and give me motivation to do some yard work.

This American pale ale came about as a desire to create a hop-forward summer thirst quencher.



Batch Size: 2.5 gallons
Boil Time: 60 minutes
Estimated IBU: 40.9
OG (Est/Act): 1.057/ 1.055
FG (Est/Act): 1.013 / 1.012
ABV (Est/Act): 5.9% / 5.6%
Brewhouse Efficiency (Est/Act): 72% / 69%
Target Mash Temp: 148°F
Target Fermentation Temp: 68°F


For this ale, I wanted to target a very pale color, with just a hint of color. I also like my American style pale ales with a touch of biscuit/bread notes.

Amount Name SRM %
4lb US Domestic 2-row 2 72.7%
1lb Vienna Malt (DE) 3.5 18.2%
8oz Crystal 10L 10 9.1%


I love Galaxy hops, especially the in your face tropical fruit aroma. I wanted to see how this would pair with the citrus from Cascade hops. I added just a small amount of Columbus to bump up the IBUs and give it a small amount of dank.

Amount Name AA Use Form
0.10oz Columbus (CTZ) 17.1% Boil – 30 Minutes Pellets
0.25oz Cascade 8.1% Boil – 10 Minutes Pellets
0.25oz Galaxy 16.3% Boil – 10 Minutes Pellets
0.25oz Columbus (CTZ) 17.1% Flameout/Steep Pellets
0.50oz Cascade 8.1% Flameout/Steep Pellets
0.50oz Galaxy 16.3% Flameout/Steep Pellets
0.25oz Columbus (CTZ) 17.1% Dry hop – 5 days Pellets
1.0oz Cascade 8.1% Dry hop – 5 days Pellets
1.0oz Galaxy 16.3% Dry hop – 5 days Pellets


Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
American Ale Blend (INIS-007) Inland Island 68%-74% 68°F-74°F

Water Profile

I targeted Bru’n Water’s “Pale Ale Profile”.

The Results

I started out writing this blog as if it were a journal of my beers. That’s a lot of work. Instead, I will take the approach of providing a recipe and merely discussing the results. If I had problems during the brew day, I’ll mention that as well.

In this case, the brew day was fairly standard and went without any problems.

With that out of the way, this was an excellent beer. It is really hard to go wrong with Galaxy hops. The results are just amazing. In fact, the beer was so good, I entered it into Halfpenny Brewing’s homebrew competition. This was the first beer I’ve ever entered into a competition, so my expectations weren’t high. I was entering it merely for the judging notes. As much as my wife, friends and I have liked my beers, how would they stand up against folks trained to user their palettes and give constructive feedback about beers?

It turns out, this was so good that I won gold in the American Ales category!


I received an overall score of 38. The judges gave it great points on flavor, aroma, and appearance. I lost a few points due to mouthfeel, where the judges felt it might have had a little too much body, and they felt it could use a little more dankness.

On the whole, I agree. The mouthfeel was probably a result of my mashing temperature. While my recipe called for a mash of 148°F, due to some mishaps with heating my strike water too high, the mash temp was actually closer to 152°F.

With regards to flavor, in future iterations I think I will introduce some Columbus hops at 10 minutes, and possibly increase the amount at flameout to 0.5 ounces. I’m not a fan of overly dank beers, so I was being conservative with the usage of Columbus, but I thought the extra complexity offered by Columbus’ flavor will really bump up the flavor.

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