8 February 2014

posted by benjy edwards

Today’s double batch is a giant mash using the 26 gallon kettle, so that we can brew both an IPA and a double IPA.  Similar to previous large mashes, we used 66 pounds of malt, mostly Great Western 2-row, but with a bit of Maris Otter thrown in along with US crystal 40.  The recipes are a second clone of the Hop Venom IIPA from Boneyard, and a single-hop IPA using Mosaic.  The brew day went very smoothly except for some inattention during the chill of the Venom resulting in a gallon more wort in one primary than the other, and although we didn’t reach the target OG for the IPA, we got what we needed for the Hop Venom so that it is the right strength (OG 1.082).  After the primaries were filled I siphoned the extra gallon from one fermenter to the other.

Since the first attempt to clone Hop Venom turned out to be exactly like the commercial beer, we made no changes to the recipe this time, except a different bittering hop (Belma) due to availability.  The late hops are Cascade, Centennial, and Simcoe.  The Mosaic IPA is all Mosaic, except for a bittering charge of Sterling.  Target OG was 1.062, but we only reached 1.056, so it will be on the low side for an IPA.  It should ferment out very well, though, so that will help.  Speaking of Sterling, we tried the batches from last week when kegging them, and the two single hop recipes turned out very well.  The cask bitter with Sterling hops is very nice, more assertive than I expected from a hop derived from Czech Saaz.  It must be the cross with Cascade that is the cause of that.  The Calypso pale ale is also very nice, with the expected tropical fruitiness.  With some conditioning time and carbonation, they should be fantastic.  They reached 1.009 (bitter) and 1.011 (pale ale) after one week, so this yeast is doing the business.  In fact, by tonight the Hop Venom needed blow off tubes it was fermenting so vigorously, where we probably lost a couple of pints from the blowoff.  As with the first clone, we will dry hop the Venom in the primary after 4 days of fermentation, then give it another 10 days on those hops, before kegging it on a second dry-hop addition.

No next batches are planned due to a trip next weekend to Portland for Zwickelmania, but since I have Monday off of work I could possibly squeeze in a single batch that day.  I may let the weather dictate if I brew or ride my bike.

*Update:  on Wednesday night we dry-hopped the Hop Venom in the primaries, using 1.5 ounces each of Simcoe and Cascade.  The weekend after next we will keg it up, adding more Simcoe and Cascade then.

1 February 2014

posted by benjy edwards

With a batch of the milk stout in the primary for a week, it is time to do a double batch of some hoppy beer.  Both recipes today are for single hop beers, though I did use a neutral bittering hop for the pale ale.  The first runnings was for an American pale ale hopped with Calypso, which we have never brewed with before.  This hop is relatively new and is supposed to be very fruity and tropical.  It certainly smelled like it when added to the boil, so I have high hopes for this ale.  The mash was Maris Otter, carapils, wheat, and honey malt, so both beers should be rather light in colour.  Target gravity for the pale ale is 1.052, with a 1.038 bitter from the second runnings, hopped with Sterling.  Sterling is based upon German noble hops, so I wasn’t sure how this would work in an English ale, but Mitch Steele, brewmaster at Stone and author of the definitive book on IPA, has high regard for this hop, so I should brew with it and see what I think.  I have quite a lot of it as well.

The brew day went extremely well, managing a six hour day from start to finish for 20 gallons.  The only bump in the road was disparate original gravities from the targets.  Despite monitoring the runnings with the refractometer and hitting the pre-boil target of 1.043 for the pale ale, it turned out to be 1.058 instead of 1.052 when racked to the fermenter.  As a result, the bitter was lower than expected, but only by 2 points at 1.036.  This will make a very light cask session ale.  Both ales received hop charges at 60, 30, 15, 10 and 0 minutes.

The milk stout was kegged and force-carbonated, having reached 1.030 after a week.  This should make it right around 5% ABV.  Right from the primary it is already delicious, and this beer has always changed and improved with time.  The dark malts prevent oxidation that would occur in a lighter beer, so you get the benefits of aging without the effects of degradation.

Next week the planned brews are a double IPA and an IPA.  The double IPA is a clone of Hop Venom from Boneyard, and the IPA will likely be a single-hop Mosaic beer.