18 December 2011

posted by benjy edwards

The last few batches of various IPAs have turned out a bit less hoppy than expected, so today we made sure to go overboard with the hops.  It is difficult when using home-grown hops to know what the IBU will be, since the alpha acid levels of the hops are unknown.  We have been using an average AAU percentage based upon the variety, but since the beers have been less bitter than targeted (Lagunitas IPA clone, Two Hearted ale clone), I switched the AAU% down to even lower levels for this batch.  Hence the criminal quantity of hops in this recipe – over 2.5 pounds in the kettle and mash tun!

The mash hop, first wort hop, and bittering additions were all home-grown Galena, a combination of 2010 and 2011 harvests.  Because nearly two pounds of hops were added to the boil kettle from sixty minutes left until the end of the boil, I removed the first wort hops from the copper before the 60-minute addition.  Even so, the hop matter left in the kettle after the wort was run off filled the bottom 1/3 of the kettle.  Even with this outrageous hop load, there was absolutely no trouble with running the wort off through the counterflow chiller.  I am always stumped as to why brewers complain about using whole hops, and today’s experience makes me wonder even more.  If I had tried to brew this beer with pellets I would have dumped the batch after spending hours dealing with heinous clogging of the screen and the chiller. Whole hops are definitely the way to go, and the flavour and aroma qualities are better than pellets, to boot.

The recipe was Boathouse IPA, and the hops added after bittering were a combination of Chinook and Cascade, all home-grown in Portland by Brian.  Additions were made at 45, 30, 15, 5, and 0 minutes, all ranging from 3 to 4 ounces.  Target OG was 1.068 from a grist of Maris Otter, Vienna, carapils, and kiln amber.  Because the first wort hops soaked up some wort when they were removed, I added back some of the last runnings to the boil when adding the bittering addition, so I was pleased that even with this dilution our actual OG was 1.067.  And for all those who grumble that whole hops act like wort sponges, we still got good volume in the primaries, more than enough to fill the corny kegs.

The Fuller’s ESB brewed two weeks ago was racked to a couple of corny kegs, each dry-hopped with two ounces of East Kent Goldings.  Racking gravity was 1.015, so this will yield an ABV of 5.9% after a couple more weeks of conditioning.  The Boathouse IPA brewed today was racked onto the yeast from the ESB.  The milk stout brewed last weekend is still in primary, I will likely keg it next weekend.  I am not sure yet whether the next and last batch with this yeast, the Firestone Walker Double Jack IIPA, will use the yeast from the milk stout or the Boathouse IPA.

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