21 March 2015

posted by benjy edwards

We are using the lager yeast for the third and final time, and I struggled with what to brew.  I was tempted by a Baltic porter, but in the end I chose another IPL, simply because the hoppier the beer, the better, and we have a surplus of great IPA hops that are calling out to be used.

This recipe is loosely based on Kern River Citra Double IPA, but of course it’s an IPL and the gravity is not as high, so it’s not an imperial or double IPL.  The malt bill is the same, with Maris Otter, domestic two-row, carapils, wheat, honey malt, Munich, and Vienna, but in addition to Citra, we threw in some Simcoe late in the boil.  Bittering hops were Belma, as we have quite of bit of those as well.  The Citra started at 30 minutes, then equal parts Citra and Simcoe at 20, 15, 10 and 5 minutes, with a final charge of Citra at flameout.

The original gravity is 1.067, so it should turn out to be about 7%.  The only mishap during the brew was setting the sparge rate too high and being away from the mash tun when the water level overflowed.  This was quickly stopped and the result is not anywhere near as messy as a boilover.

When we kegged the IPL from two weeks ago, the gravity was 1.014 and it tasted really nice.  Again, like the Bo Pils, not very lager-like, but nicely hoppy and aromatic.  Each keg was dry-hopped with Amarillo and Citra, about 2.5 ounces total.

7 March 2015

posted by benjy edwards

Since we have an active pitch of lager yeast, it seemed a shame to ditch it after just one use (the Bohemian Pilsner brewed two weeks ago).  So, I came up with an India Pale Lager recipe loosely based on Jack’s Abby’s Hoponius Union IPL, which gets very good reviews.  I say loosely based because only the hop bill was followed, and even then not strictly.  I chose to bitter with Sterling, and then use the Citra, Amarillo, and Centennial called for in the commercial recipe.

Going back to the previous brew, though, we had been slowly increasing the temperature of the ferment until we reached 65F on Friday for its diacetyl rest.  Airlock activity had slowed down mid-week.  On Friday night we dry-hopped the kegs with a couple ounces each of Saaz, then on brew day we racked them to the cornies.  Gravities on both were 1.013 (4.9% ABV), so after an extended lagering period, the beer may reach 5.1% or thereabouts.  I was quite surprised at the aroma and flavour when sampling it, as it had an earthy hop aroma, with no trace of sulfur after just two weeks.  The taste was more like an ale than a lager, with some malt sweetness and restrained bitterness.

Returning to the IPL, the brew went very well.  The mash was domestic two-row with some Vienna for complexity and a pound of wheat for improved head retention.  The mash rest of one hour at 152 is typical of an ale, and our pH numbers were good: 5.19 in the mash and 5.79 for the sparge liquor.  Wort was collected and the Sterling hops added after 30 minutes, the Citra and Amarillo at 30, 15, and 5 minutes.  The Centennial was the flameout addition.  The chill got the wort down to 62F, so after it was oxygenated it was chilled by refrigeration to 52F, when fermentation began only a few hours later.  Original gravity is 1.063, so it should be in the high 6% ABV range.  Colour isn’t as light as the pilsner (4 SRM), but 6 SRM is still a light gold.

We may use this yeast one more time, either for a double IPL or perhaps a single-hop IPL.  I have Calypso in mind.

P.S. – On tasting the Bo Pils again on Sunday, as we had enough left to fill a couple of growlers, just one day of cold storage was enough to bring it around to tasting much more like a lager.  I suppose this is one reason why the Germans lager their beer; because if they didn’t, some strains may taste more like ales!