9 November 2013

posted by benjy edwards

This summer there was a time where we had three double IPAs on tap, but as we’re now down to a couple of gallons in the last keg, it is definitely time to brew more.  The recipes for the double batch today are Boathouse IPA using hops of which we have a surplus and a first attempt at Fat Head’s Hop Juju imperial IPA.  The theme this year has been to clone award-winning double IPAs, most if not all of which I have never actually tried, due to their unavailability in Washington.  I considered brewing Heady Topper from The Alchemist in Vermont, but it includes Apollo hops, which I didn’t have until a pound happened to arrive yesterday, earlier than I had expected to receive it.  Instead I chose the Hop Juju, which won the gold medal at this year’s GABF in the double IPA category.

The hops here are Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Simcoe and Citra, while the malt is two-row and two types of crystal.  I used caravienna and crystal 40.  A total of 66 pounds of malt was mashed in the 26 gallon kettle, with target original gravities of 1.064 for the IPA and 1.082 for the Hop Juju.  I had planned to add a pound of sugar to the double IPA to achieve the gravity, but due to getting a higher-than-target pre-boil gravity on the first runnings for the double IPA, I skipped that sugar addition and put it into the IPA boil instead.  Actual gravities ended up being 1.081 for the Hop Juju and 1.062 for the Boathouse IPA.  Each batch was hopped with a pound and a half during the boil, and the Hop Juju will be dry-hopped twice, once in the primary and again when kegged with Citra and Centennial.  The hops used in the IPA were Sterling for bittering, then Belma, Chinook, and Columbus for late hop additions.

The two batches brewed a week ago were kegged, and the IPA with Brian’s homegrown hops was dry-hopped with his Centennial.  The Harvey’s Best Bitter clone was not dry-hopped, as I have found that it more closely resembles the real thing without a dry hop.  Gravities for both batches were low, 1.009 for the bitter and 1.012 for the IPA.  This yeast is doing a great job of attenuating, perhaps partly due to making sure that the temperature is raised as the fermentation vigor abates.  Today may be the last batches for the yeast, certainly at least for the double IPA fermentation.

The brew day went very smoothly, with only one boil-over on the IPA as it reached the start of boil.  I happened to be scooping out the mash tun when it happened.  Both batches started fermenting quickly, and by the end of the night the Hop Juju already needed blow-off tubes.  The IPA blew the airlocks off its carboys on Sunday morning.  I considered removing some of the yeast from the primaries before racking the fresh wort onto the yeast cake, but ran out of time during the boil, so we used the whole cake.  The fermentation would have been less violent if some of the yeast had been removed.

2 November 2013

posted by benjy edwards

Today was a rare solo brew day for me.  Usually I at least have the boys around “helping” me, but with their visit to their grandparents in Atlanta, I had the place to myself.  It was another double batch day, this time an American IPA along with a cask beer.  I decided to use Brian’s homegrown hops in the IPA, and then to brew another attempt at the clone of Harvey’s Sussex Best Bitter for the cask session ale.

First runnings from the mash of Maris Otter, half of the medium crystal, and a pound of flaked maize went into the IPA, and was diluted with hot liquor to achieve the correct pre-boil gravity.  The original gravity was going to be 1.058, which is a bit low for an IPA, so I added a pound of sugar in the last 10 minutes of the boil, which boosted the OG to 1.062.  For the right colour and flavour in the best bitter, I capped the mash with the other half of the medium crystal, a pound of dark crystal, and some pale chocolate malt.  Target gravity for the bitter was 1.040, and actual gravity was 1.039, so I am pleased with that.

The only snag encountered today was overfilling a corny keg while racking the four fermenters from last week, losing about 3 or 4 pints from one of the Hophead primaries when I was distracted by recirculating the wort from today’s mash.  Other than that, things went well.  I hopped the IPA with three ounces of commercial Chinook, since it is questionable what bittering one gets using homegrown hops at 60 minutes.  The rest of the IPA hops were homegrown Cascade and Centennial, added at 30, 20, 10, and 0 minutes.  The Harvey’s Best was bittered with Progress and Bramling Cross pellets, then East Kent Golding, Willamette, and Bramling Cross for flavour and aroma.  The recipe calls for Fuggle in place of Willamette, but the only Fuggle I have is in pellet form, and I was already using pellets for the Progress and Bramling Cross, and no doubt would have not been able to run off the wort into the chiller if I’d used more pellets.  Thankfully, as it was, there was no trouble at all in collecting the wort.

Both batches brewed last week fermented out very dry, with the Hophead coming in at 1.009 and the Boathouse Bitter at 1.010 and 1.009 for each primary.  I dry hopped the Hophead with more Belma, since it is a single-hop beer (this time all Belma as opposed to the traditional all-Cascade recipe).  The Bitter was dry hopped with equal parts Citra and Amarillo, since that was the flavour and aroma hop combination used in the boil.

Next week is likely to be a double IPA and an IPA brewed from a big mash in the 26 gallon kettle.  I think the recipe for the double IPA will be a clone of Hop Juju, which is Fat Head’s imperial IPA which just won the gold medal at this year’s GABF.  With Chinook, Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe and Citra, it has to be delicious!