23 April 2016

posted by benjy edwards

Today is St. George’s Day, and also happens to be the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare.  We’re brewing again, and during the week had assembled all of the parts to run the new water line.  On Friday night I got the copper joined together, but when I installed it on Saturday morning, there was a leak at one joint.  In trying to re-solder it, one of the pex fittings got too hot and melted, so the project was put on hold and the outside water line used once again for this batch.

Although it would have been more fitting to celebrate this day by brewing an English ale, it has been a while since we brewed a clone of Russian River’s Blind Pig IPA, so that is what is on for today.  The mash is domestic two-row pale ale malt, with some might crystal and a bit of carapils.  We are out of carapils, however, and so used some Victory instead.  Target gravity is 1.058 and we reached 1.060, which is still on the light side for an IPA, but there’s nothing wrong with that!  The mash and vorlauf went well, and during that time we kegged the pale ale hopped with Denali.  It had fermented down to 1.012 on one and 1.013 on the other.  It is quite hoppy and I like the characteristics of this hop, so it is a success.  For some unknown reason, the beer was not as clear in the primary as the two previous batches of Harvey’s BB.  We force-carbonated both kegs and also dry hopped them with two ounces of Denali pellets each.

The kettle took a couple of extra minutes to come to a boil, but that gave us time to measure out the bittering hops, which go in at the beginning of the boil instead of at 60 minutes.  These were Columbus and Chinook, and then a combination of Amarillo, Centennial, Cascade, Simcoe, and Columbus at 30 minutes and steep.  The boil went fine and we steeped the late hops for 5 minutes before beginning the chill.  The ground water is starting to increase in temperature, and with the wort running at full flow, the temperature in each fermenter was in the low 70s, so we cooled them to 66F in the fermentation fridge, then allowed them to rise to 68F during fermentation, which began immediately and required blow off tubes within a couple of hours of pitching.

Next week will likely be the last use of this yeast, with a stronger ABV IPA or perhaps a double IPA as the recipe.

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