1 November 2014

posted by benjy edwards

After a fun night of trick-or-treat with my 5 and 8 year old boys, the first thing this morning is that we’re brewing the last batch for this run of yeast.  In fact, I decided to make last week’s Alesmith IPA the last use of the Mangrove Jack’s dry yeast, because each successive batch is cloudier and cloudier.  I think “very high flocculation” is an inaccurate description for this yeast.  Another reason to dump this yeast is because the pitching rate is too high now because of the growth of the yeast during the past four worts, so the yeast cake of the Fuller’s strain was split into two fermenters.  This is simply done by pouring half of the cake into a newly sanitized carboy.

I try to make the last use of the yeast a double IPA, since I prefer to dry-hop double IPAs twice, once in the fermenter and then again in the keg.  That is not possible if one is re-using the yeast, so it must be  the last batch.  There is great demand for our clone of the Hop Venom from Boneyard, so today is the third batch of it.  The grist is primarily domestic two-row, with a bit of Maris Otter for complexity along with some American 40L crystal.  The malt takes a back seat to the massive hop character, so as Tony Lawrence formulated the malt bill, he kept it very simple.  Some sugar is added to the boil for more fermentables while keeping the body lighter than if more malt was used.

On to the hops: Columbus and Simcoe for bittering, followed by more Columbus, Simcoe, and Amarillo and Cascade as well for flavour and aroma.  In all, there are hop additions at 30, 15, 10, 5 and 1 minutes left in the boil.  The target OG is 1.083 and we reached 1.081, which is close enough and what I expected, since our brewhouse efficiency tends to drop when brewing high-gravity beers.  This gravity should get us over 9%, which is plenty strong enough!

The Alesmith IPA had dropped to 1.011, so it is going to be 7.7% ABV, on the high end for an IPA.  It smelled and tasted fantastic right from the primary, and we dry-hopped with 5 types of hops, including some wonderfully aromatic home grown Chinook hops from Brian in Portland.  This should turn out to be a fine beer.  I had meant to brew a clone of Alesmith’s IPA for a long time, but what with so many other great IPAs out there, we finally just got around to doing it.  I think it will become a regular in our rotation if it turns out as expected.

Mid-week we will add the first dry-hop addition to the Hop Venom and let it sit on those hops for ten days before kegging.  An extra week in the primary is a good thing for such a strong ale.