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!

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