Rule #1: Never brew in socks.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The IPA Part II 10/27/11

Our first IPA was damn good, but it has started to lose its freshness. With my father, major aficionado of the IPA, coming to visit next month, it was high time to brew another. The main failing of our last IPA, I think, was the fact that it didn't have enough bittering hops. This time I decided to just try to reach the highest possible level of IBUs. There is some debate about how many IBUs can fit in a beer, but I think it's safe to say that, whatever the number is, we should reach it with this beer.

The malts and yeast are identical to the last IPA, and we used the same hops (Horizon, Centennial, and Citra) but added another: Columbus (AKA Tomahawk and Zeus), which I hope will add a pungency that was lacking in our last IPA. We haven't used Columbus before, but it makes an appearance in many of my favorite IPAs, including Firestone Walker's Union Jack and Double Jack, Russian River's Pliny the Elder, Stone's IPA and Ruination double IPA, and Bear Republic's Racer 5.

Batch Size: 2.5 gal
Boil Volume: 3.5 gal
Calculated OG: 1.071
Measured FG: 1.012
Estimated ABV: 7.7
Calculated IBUs (Tinseth): 150
Pitching Temperature: 65F
Yeast: Wyeast American Ale 1056
Starter: none
Fermentation vessel: Bucket

Malts Mashed Amount % Max Pts. Color
Crystal 40 0.25 6% 35.00 40.00
Other Fermentables Amount % Max Pts. Color
DME 3.5 82% 42.00 2.00
Cane Sugar 0.5 12% 46.00 0.00
Hops/Additions Amount Time AA% IBU's
Horizon 1 60 11.2% 118.71
Columbus 1 30 14.0% 114.04
Centennial 1 2 8.0% 7.17
Citra 1 2 6.0% 5.38

The brewday went as well as any we've ever had. No boilovers; we remembered to add yeast nutrient; both of us were hale enough to do our fair share; and most importantly, we had an immersion wort chiller. An immersion wort chiller is basically a long coil of copper tubing through which cold water is pumped. With the wort chiller and vigorous stirring, it took under 10 minutes—maybe under 5—to chill the wort, as opposed to the hour that we usually spend throwing ice in the bathtub. We were also able to chill the wort to a lower temperature: 65F instead of 70F+. A lower temperature at the start of fermentation is desirable because it minimizes certain off-flavors, particularly harsh alcohol flavors.

We dry hopped with 3 oz of Citra for 1 week.

Bottled 11/9/11.


Lee: This has the bitterness our last IPA was lacking, as well as an herbal pungency that I attribute to the addition of Columbus hops. Too bitter for anyone who isn't into IPAs, but just right for my taste. It doesn't have quite as intense a fruity aroma as the last IPA, though, which I attribute to the shorter dry-hopping period. An excellent beer, and better than most IPAs on the shelves, but still room for improvement.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Cosmos 9/29/11

Angry Monocle's first anniversary is just around the corner, and we thought we'd brew something special for it. From the filthy depths of our minds came The Cosmos, a ravishingly dark hybrid of a Belgian Quadrupel and an American Imperial Stout. This heavy brew combines the esters and phenolics of Trappist yeast, the dark fruit flavors of special B and Belgian Candi syrup, and a massive quantity of roasted barley, imparting roasted coffee and dark chocolate flavors. With an expected ABV of near 12%, this beer is our biggest yet.

Batch Size: 5 gal
Boil Volume: 4 gal
Calculated OG: 1.113
Measured FG: 1.022
ABV: 12%
Calculated IBUs (Tinseth): 27
Pitching Temperature: 70F
Yeast: Wyeast 3787
Starter: yeast cake
Fermentation Vessel: Bucket

Malts Mashed Amount %
Roast Barley 2 13%
Special B 1 7%
Other Fermentables Amount %
Candi Sugar (dark) 1.5 10%
DME 10.75 70%
Hops/Additions Amount Time AA%
Horizon 0.8 60 11.9%
Fuggles 0.5 30 4.5%
Fuggles 0.5 20 4.5%

Hannah and John came by to help with the brewing process, giving us a much needed hand as we were bottling the Belgian Black simultaneously. This was necessary, because with a beer this big you need a ton of yeast. Lee had proposed making a four and half liter starter just to cultivate a enough yeast for this beast, but fortunately there was an easier way. We decided to treat our last brew, the 2.5 gal Belgian Black, as the starter and just dump the wort for the Quadrupel Stout onto its yeast cake. This meant we were going to have to bottle just before the wort was ready, to prevent the yeast from losing viability or getting infected.

While Lee and I kept our hands busy bottling and tending to the steeping grains, John and Hanna mixed the DME into the kettle. A miscommunication resulted in John's attempt to add 800 ounces of DME to the brew, a measure which would have broken our extract bank and one which was fortunately caught before he'd added more than 3/4lbs extra extract. So our 10.5% beer became 11.5%. There was also some scorching as result of insufficient stirring, however, with all the flavors in this baby, its unlikely to matter. Otherwise, the whole process went to plan. Except we forgot the yeast nutrient (oops!).

After being pitched onto the yeast cake and aerated vigorously, the beer quickly began to bubble. By the next morning a steady stream of bubbles was coming through the blow-off tube. This was quickly followed by huge amounts of blow-off, enough to pop the lid off the fermenter three times. We attempted to combat the blow-off by scooping the top layer of krausen off twice, leaving just enough to cover the beer. The beast was quickly able to regenerate the krausen, but stopped blowing off by the second day of fermentation.

Racked to secondary 11/1/11.

Bottled 12/18/11.