Sungazer-Northeast DIPA Featuring Pilsner Malt, Galaxy, Citra, and Mosaic Hops

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FINALLY!!!!!!!  The dreary Chicago winter relented enough for me to get back outside and get brewing again.  This beer was brewed on 02/20/16.  It was in the low 60’s outside and it felt great, like…… unbelievably great.  I took a moment to just sit in a chair in my driveway in the sun, look at the bright sky, and think about how much I can’t wait for spring and temperatures consistently like this.  Hence the name of this beer.  This was part one of a two batch brew day.

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The calm before the storm…

While I had still been playing around with my recipe for my “flagship” DIPA, White Death, I wanted to do a DIPA that was an unapologetic fruit juice bomb.  As it turns out, White Death’s hopefully final version will likely be a juice bomb too, so I needed to differentiate this beer.  One of my favorite breweries on the east coast is Trillium in Boston, and I’ve noticed that their DIPA’s are all brewed with a Pilsner malt base.  I’ve used Pils malt for half the base grain in an IPA before, but never the majority of the grist, so I thought this would be a fun way to set this beer apart.  Pilsner malt has a nice crisp grainy flavor, so it should work pretty nice in an IPA.  Citra and Mosaic will be the key players in the newest batch of White Death, and while they factor in prominently here, Galaxy hops are the fun new addition.  This beer should have a nice grainy light colored base for all those juicy hops to play on.

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Draining the grain bag with my buddy Jason

This beer isn’t a departure from my usual pale ales though, so I’m expecting a smooth, creamy body, restrained hop bitterness, and loads of juicy hop flavor.  This should be another great example of a Northeast IPA.  If you’re reading my blog for the first time and don’t know what I mean by that, think IPA’s that are hazy juice bombs, not the more resiny and bitter versions more typical to the west coast style.  I’ve grown pretty bored with the typical west coast IPA’s, but unfortunately there aren’t many breweries around the Chicago area that make beer resembling the beers coming from Trillium, Treehouse, Hill Farmstead, and so on, so I brew my own!

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As I stated, Pilsner made up the majority of the grist here.  I bumped up the white wheat from the levels in some of my other pale ales, dropped the oats I often use, and added carapils.  Oats can leave a slick sort of mouthfeel which I’m trying to avoid, so I’m hoping the higher percentage of wheat and carapils do great things for the body here.  I added a bit of light caramalt for a hint of color.  I also added some dextrose to bump the abv up a bit and keep the sweetness down.  Galaxy, Citra, and Mosaic make up the hop bill with Warrior for bittering.  All three of these hops together should produce an absolute juice bomb, which is the goal here!  As usual, Wyeast 1318 London Ale III is the yeast of choice.  I’m shooting for 8% abv, which to me is kind of the IPA/DIPA sweet spot.  Its enough that youre drinking a bigger beer packed with a ton of flavor, but it lacks some of the syrupy malt sweetness that DIPA’s can sometimes get once they pass that 9% mark or so.  This will be the first crack at this recipe, but its definitely not a departure from my usual, so barring anything unexpected happening, this should be right at home in my “Northeast” pale ale line up.

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The food spread!!!!

The brew day for this one was pretty straight forward.  I got started at about noon.  This was a party of a brew day for sure.  This being the first brew of the season combined with gorgeous weather meant everyone had their drinking shoes on!  We probably had about a dozen family, friends, and neighbors come over.  Everyone brought a Mexican dish to share, so we had a bit of a fiesta.  The feast got into full swing during the second batch, but this one was still a ton of fun.  The beer itself went smoothly.  I hit my mash temp of 152, boiled 90 minutes for the Pils base, did a 45 minute hopstand, and chilled.  The nice thing about brewing after winter is how cold the ground water still is, so this chilled to 70 degrees in no time.  I filtered the hop sludge out, pitched the yeast, and stuck this in my fermenting chamber.

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Me sanitizing the carboy

Here’s the water for this brew:

Ca+2           Mg+2          Na+         Cl-          SO4-2          HCO
127.3           7.5              25.3         201.9      92.0             0.116

Here’s the recipe!

Recipe Specifications
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Batch Size (fermenter): 5.75 gal
Bottling Volume: 5.25 gal
OG: 1.074 SG
Estimated Color: 4.5 SRM
Estimated IBU: 76.6 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 73.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 75.1 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients:
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Amt Name Type # %/IBU
11 lbs 4.0 oz Pilsner (2 row) (Gambrinus) (1.6 SRM) Grain 1 74.4 %
2 lbs White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 2 13.2 %
8.0 oz Carapils (Briess) (1.5 SRM) Grain 3 3.3 %
5.0 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 4 2.1 %
5.0 oz Caramalt (Thomas Fawcett) (15.0 SRM) Grain 5 2.0 %
12.0 oz Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 SRM) Sugar 6 5.0 %

1.00 oz Warrior [15.00 %] – Boil 90.0 min Hop 7 48.2 IBUs
1.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 8 13.1 IBUs
1.00 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 9 15.3 IBUs
2.00 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min Hop 10 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min Hop 11 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Mosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] – Boil 0.0 mi Hop 12 0.0 IBUs

1.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Dry Hop 1
1.00 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Dry Hop 1
1.00 oz Mosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] Dry Hop 1

1.00 oz Mosaic Dry Hop 2
1.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Dry Hop 2
1.00 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Dry Hop 2

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body, No Mash Out
Total Grain Weight: 15 lbs 2.0 oz
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Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 17.97 qt of water at 165.9 F 152.0 F 60 min

UPDATE: This beer went into the kegs for the second round of dry hops last night on March 2nd.  I did my usual closed system transfer under Co2.  The beer’s FG came in at 1.013, right on the money giving me the 8% abv I was shooting for.  The hydrometer sample tasted amazing, and as of now it seems that the Pils malt base added enough to set it apart from my other IPAs.  We’ll see how this continues to come together in the next couple weeks!

Tasting Notes 03/29/16:

Appearance:  This is a beautiful beer if hazy hop milkshakes are your thing!  Its golden/light orange in color and practically glows when held to the light.  Very similar in appearance to a glass of orange juice.  The beer pours with a white head and good lacing.

Smell:  Huge hop aroma on this one.  Very juicy citrus comes to mind, more orange than grapefruit.  There’s also a fair amount of pineapple aroma in this as well, wit hints of mango too.  This is one of the best smelling beers I’ve brewed.  No malt aroma is detectable underneath the hops, and maybe just a hint of aroma from the yeast.

Taste:  The bitterness hits with a nice punch but mostly fades quickly.  It’s the slightest bit more bitter than I expected, but its still very smooth and super drinkable.  This beer is a fruit juice bomb.  There’s a ton of juicy citrus in the flavor of this.  A lot more orange that grapefruit in the flavor.  As in the aroma, there’s a good amount of pineapple flavor along with notes of mango and papaya in the background.  The 1318 lends a light fruity ester profile that nicely compliments the hops.  No real malt flavor, just a light sweetness that compliments the hops.

Mouthfeel:  Medium body and carbonation.  Typical mouthfeel that I love in the New England style pales.  The body is smooth and silky.  For an 8% beer, I feel like this is refreshing and almost chuggable.

Overall:  I’m thrilled with the way this turned out, and will absolutely brew it again at some point.  This thing is so juicy, I can’t imagine anything I’d do to change the recipe.  If I was to do anything, I’d maybe make the Galaxy more the star of the show just to make it stand apart from my other DIPA, White Death.