Subscriber Exclusive

Modular Pale Ale: Explore the Split-Batch Multiverse

There is not one pale ale—they are infinite. For example: There are a few classic types that can be assembled from essentially the same wort based on some key choices. Let’s explore the versatility.

Annie Johnson May 23, 2023 - 10 min read

Modular Pale Ale: Explore the Split-Batch Multiverse Primary Image

Photo: Matt Graves/

A few years ago, some friends asked me to brew some beers for a summer party. I happily accepted and made ambitious plans to churn out a few different batches. You know how it goes: Fast-forward a few weeks, the party’s approaching, and I have yet to even begin. Whoops! Time to get creative.

When I check my brewing inventory, all I have on hand are a few staples: some pale malt, some wheat malt, and a few bags of Cascade, Centennial, and Magnum hops. What’s worse is that I’m running out of time to devote a brew day to this occasion, let alone two separate days. After briefly panicking, I sit down and start to think about how I might knock out two beers with one batch.

As I ponder the range of styles with compatible grists, hops, and fermentation times, nothing matches exactly, but some things are similar. I settle on an American wheat and its cousin, German hefeweizen. With a few alterations, I’m able to produce two very different beers from the same batch, using yeasts as well as a fruit addition to set them apart.

Make & Drink Better Beer

Subscribe today to access all of the premium brewing content available (including this article). With thousands of reviews, our subscribers call it "the perfect beer magazine" and "worth every penny." Your subscription is protected by a 100% money back guarantee.

Annie Johnson is an experienced R&D brewer, IT specialist, and national beer judge. Her awards include 2013 American Homebrewer of the Year honors.