ISO: Whalez Bro! 2016

dsc_1212This beer was brewed on 05/14/16.  Time for the 2016 vintage of ISO: Whalez Bro! my bourbon and wood aged imperial stout.  My plan with this beer is to keep the base beer similar and change the various flavorings each year to play with some new ingredients.  This year’s recipe was a three gallon batch.  The reasoning is to keep costs down, and honestly I don’t need 5 gallons of a 450 calorie per 12 oz beer sitting around.

There were some tweaks to last year’s base stout recipe to give it some added depth of flavor.  I added some Munich malt to give the base flavor a bit of added malt complexity rather than straight 2 Row.  I upped the amount of crystal and carapils for some additional flavor complexity and body.  I also added some White Wheat to that end as well.  To be honest, I added the Midnight Wheat and a couple ounces of the British roasted barely because I had them around and wanted to get rid of them.

As much as I typically like to keep my beers all grain, I did use a few pounds of DME here.  The reason for this is just to combat low efficiency without having to sparge more and then increase my boil by a substantial amount of time.  If I hadn’t been brewing another batch on this same day, that wouldn’t have been a concern, but I didn’t feel like adding an extra hour or so to the boil, so extract it was!

Last years batch of this beer used cocoa nibs and vanilla beans.  I then aged the beer a week on oak chips that had soaked in Elijah Craig 12 year bourbon.  I went a different route this year in several ways.  The flavor adjuncts in this year’s batch are coffee and maple.  I LOVED the results of my beer Wake Up Aurora, and while this isn’t just a bigger version of that beer, I know those flavors will work together here nicely.  As with Wake Up Aurora, I’m using Frontier brand all natural maple extract.  The maple flavor in Wake Up Aurora was great, not at all artificial.  I’m going with the half bottle that I had left from that batch, so about an oz of the extract.  I used 3oz in Wake Up Aurora, and the maple was a touch strong.  While this beer is bigger and more complex, an ounce should suite my needs here just fine since the batch size was cut in half from my usual.  I elaborated on not using real maple in my post for Wake Up Aurora, and my thoughts on that apply here as well.  Go for it if you want, but the Frontier extract works beautifully in a stout with none of the hassle and a fraction of the cost as actual maple syrup.  Really the only reason to use actual maple here is just so you can say you did.  In my last coffee beer I used Giant Steps coffee by Dark Matter and I loved the results.  Here, with a beer this big, I thought espresso would be a fun way to go.  Dark Matter’s Unicorn Blood should fit this beer well with its notes of milk chocolate and nuttiness..

I also switched up my method of mimicking the barrel aging process.  I went with medium toast Hungarian oak cubes.  After doing some research, cubes seem to be a vast improvement over chips in depth of character added as well as the speed in which the oak is imparted to the beer.  Chips impart oak flavor fast and strong, and the complexity just isn’t there, while oak cubes impart a more well rounded character at a lessened pace.  I first boiled one ounce of oak cubes for about 10 minutes to extract some of the raw wood and tannin flavor.  Once dried, I held the cubes over my burner to char them.  The interior of bourbon barrels are charred, so I’m hoping that this will help replicate the flavor that imparts.  The chips were then soaked in about 8 oz of Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon for a little over two weeks.  The bourbon and oak cubes were then added to the beer at around the two week mark where they will remain for a week until I bottle.  I’m excited to see the results of my new oaking process, I have high hopes compared to the results from last years attempt.  The oak and bourbon in last year’d beer was good, it just wasn’t the same as barrel aging it, and i hope this will better replicate that.


The brew day for this went very smoothly.  I brewed it side by side with my Munich Helles, Haifisch.  I mashed at 158 for an hour, sparged and brought the beer to a boil.  I added my DME at the start of the boil since I didn’t care about darkening of the wort as I may if I was adding it to a light beer.  The beer was boiled for 60 minutes, immediately cooled, and then poured into the fermentor.


Enjoyed a 2012 Three Floyds Dark Lord while brewing my own beast of a stout!


My hydrometer sample came right on the dot, 1.126.  I took my FG reading just prior to adding the bourbon to the beer, coming in at 1.037.  This should give me a pre bourbon abv of 11.68%!  The FG sample tasted great already, surprisingly little heat.  With the bourbon, I should be right around 12% or even a bit higher.  I’ll bottle after the week on the cubes, and I’ll post back here in a couple months after trying some new and with a bit of age.  I’ll then update the tasting notes in the winter with how the beer has age with some extended time.

Here’s the water and recipe:

Ca+2                 Mg+2                     Na+              Cl-              SO4-2           HCO
99.1                   4.4                         33.4             112.5          71.6             124.016

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size (fermenter): 3.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.126 SG
Estimated Color: 51.2 SRM
Estimated IBU: 95.5 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 68.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt Name Type # %/IBU
5 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 39.2 %
1 lbs Munich 10L (Briess) (10.0 SRM) Grain 2 7.8 %
1 lbs Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 3 7.8 %
12.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 4 5.9 %
8.0 oz White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 5 3.9 %
5.0 oz Carafa Special III (Weyermann) (470.0 SR Grain 6 2.4 %
4.0 oz Chocolate (Dingemans) (340.0 SRM) Grain 7 2.0 %
4.0 oz Midnight Wheat Malt (400.0 SRM) Grain 8 2.0 %
4.0 oz Roasted Barley (Briess) (300.0 SRM) Grain 9 2.0 %
2.0 oz Roasted Barley (Simpsons) (550.0 SRM) Grain 10 1.0 %
3 lbs DME Golden Light (Briess) (4.0 SRM) Dry Extract 11 23.5 %
5.0 oz Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 SRM) Sugar 12 2.4 %

1.00 oz Warrior [15.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 13 54.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Warrior [15.00 %] – Boil 30.0 min Hop 14 41.5 IBUs

1.1 pkg London Ale III (Wyeast Labs #1318) [124. Yeast 15 –

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 12 lbs 12.0 oz
Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 11.80 qt of water at 170.5 F 158.0 F 60 min

Tasting Notes 11/21/16:  Before I begin the tasting notes, let me just say that this beer, while delicious, has been the bane of my existence.  This beer would just not carbonate.  I’m sure its because of the strength since the bourbon boosted this beer to around 12.5% abv.  I gave the beer plenty of time and it was flat.  The I thought maybe I forgot to prime it, though I doubted it.  I added a bit more sugar to each bottle…..and nothing.  I then added a bit of yeast to each bottle…..nothing.  So either its the high ABV or there was something in the maple extract even though its supposed to be all natural.  So I VERY carefully poured each bottle into a keg and am now serving it on tap.  Even then its a pain in the ass because the out post in my keg leaks a bit every time I take a pour.  I’d have guessed its a o-ring, but it looked fine.  Oh well.

Appearance:  Jet black like a good stout should be.  The beer pours with a nice tan head that fades pretty quickly to the edge of the glass.  No light it getting through this thing, its like staring into a tasty abyss.

Smell:  This beer has a lovely aroma that’s balanced between the numerous ingredients without any of them overpowering.  The maple is probably most evident, though it doesn’t dominate the other aromas.  There’s strong notes of coffee and dark chocolate.  Blended with the other flavors is a nice blend of charred oak, vanilla, and bourbon.  Its a beautifully complex aroma.

Taste:  A blend of maple and dark chocolate are the first things that hit your tongue.  Then there’s a bit of roast and a hint of earthiness from the Dark Matter Coffee.  The finish is sweet, with flavors of oak, vanilla, bourbon, and caramelized sugars.  This is truly a decadent beer that needs to be taken slow and savored.  The flavors in this are bold, but balanced.  When the beer was first poured cold, the maple and dark chocolate were the prominent flavors.  As the beer warmed I found the oak and bourbon became more evident, though the maple and dark chocolate were still there.

Mouthfeel:  This beer is thick and silky smooth.  It’s definitely heavy  bodied with light-medium carbonation.  The body of this beer is exactly what you’d want in a stout like this: thick and chewy so that you take your time drinking it and enjoying the complex blend of flavors.

Overall:  This is probably one of the best beers I’ve made, and certainly one of the most complex.  The extra time it took for me to try to carbonate this beer really gave the flavors time to blend together and strike a wonderful balance.  If there was one flaw, I’d say that the beer finished a bit too sweet.  Since the yeast never ate the sugar that would have carbonated it in the bottle it wound up a bit sweeter than it should be.  Still,l its not cloying and it balances the bitter roast and dark chocolate.  I’m truly thrilled with this beer, and now that winter is around the corner this beer will be perfect in the chilly nights to come.

White Death and Reinvention Tasting Notes!

The tasting notes are done for my “Flagship DIPA” White Death and my new APA Reinvention are both done.  Both these beers are American ales done in the New England style of DIPAs and Pale Ales.  Check out the tasting notes at the bottom of the page for White Death HERE and Reinvention HERE!

Haifisch – Munich Helles


This beer was brewed on 05/14/16.  So, lets start with the name.  Haifisch is the German word for shark.  This is a German, specifically Bavarian, style of beer.  I’m a huge nerd, specifically for beer and sharks.  So I felt this to be a fitting name for my first crack at a Munich Helles!

If you aren’t familiar with the style Munich Helles, its a real beer drinker’s light beer.  If one was to go into a beer hall in Bavaria and say “Ein beir, bitte (One beer, please.)” you would almost certainly receive a glass or stein of Helles.   Hell is German for light, bright, or pale.  So while this is a light beer, its not a “Lite” beer if you know what I mean.  While crisp and easy drinking, this beer isn’t the watered down light Marcro lagers many here are used to, and you shouldn’t see the use of adjuncts like corn or rice in it.

Pilsner Malt is the star of the show in a Munich Helles, and it should be what you primarily taste in the final product.  Ideally, you want a German variety of Pils for the most authentic flavor.  I went with German maltster Avangard for my Helles, but there are several others readily available.  In addition to Pilsner malt, you can add a bit of character with the use of Vienna or light Munich malt.  I went with Vienna malt in my version here, so I could use a full pound for character without a lot of color contribution.  Adding Vienna or Munich will add a nice depth of bready malt flavor and complexity rather than using entirely Pilsner malt, though you certainly could go full Pilsner malt if desired.  Other malts that would be appropriate for the style may be carapils, melanoiden malt, and that’s probably about it.  I went with carapils in mine to help add a little body and head retention.  I did a single temperature mash rather than a traditional step or decoction mash.  I went with Vienna for my added maltiness, but a small amount of melanoiden malt can help simulate the flavors added from doing a traditional decoction mash.  A Munich Helles should be malty, but not sweet.  To avoid this, DO NOT use any caramel malts or crystal malts other than carapils, they have no place in this style!

German noble hops are ideal in this style, though they shouldn’t contribute much the flavor and aroma.  I like Hallertau for a Helles, but Tettnang would work nicely as well.  Unfortunately, my LHBS was out of German Hallertau, so I had to go with US grown Hallertau hops.  They should still contribute a very mild floral and spicey note, and they’re only used as a 60 minute addition here, so hopefully there won’t be much of a difference in the end.  I didn’t do a flavor or aroma hop addition, but you could if desired.  If you were to choose to do so, use restraint!  The crisp, clean malts are the star of the show in this style.

Any clean fermenting German lager yeast with good attenuation should work in this style, and I’ve read others having success with Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager.  This is my first time using it, so I’m anxious to taste the results!  I pitched two packs in a two liter starter the day prior to brewing.  I’m sure I’m still under the recommended cell count, but unfortunately I didn’t have time to build a bigger starter up and my LHBS didn’t have more than two packs.

Water for this style should be soft and light on the palate without any mineral characteristic coming through.  I didn’t follow any particular recipe, nor did I aim to emulate any specific example of this style, but after looking at a number of recipes,  I figured this will be a great Helles recipe.


This is not how May should look…

Brew day was smooth, but the weather sucked.  I had just shaved my beard and I felt like I instantly lose my brewers cred for that, so I apologize for the pictures.  Its growing back, so I feel like my beer will automatically improve when it fills in again 🙂  I had my friends Jason and Steve to help me out, and we actually had two batches going at once.  I’ll post the other batch, a new batch of my imperial stout ISO: Whalez Bro!  in the coming days.


I mashed in at 150 for an hour, sparged, boiled for 90 minutes and chilled down to 60 degrees.  I took my hydrometer sample and hit my desired OG of 1.050, hell(es) yes!  I pitched my 2 liter starter and set my fermenting chamber for 48 degrees.  I noticed fermentation was active at the end of the next day.


Staying next to the burner for heat while bringing the kettle to a boil, it was only 50 degrees out in May!

I’ll let this beer ferment around 50 degrees for a week and a half, step up to 65 degrees for a diacetyl rest, and then transfer the beer to a secondary to lager.  I’ll drop the beer about five degrees a day until its about 35 degrees, and I’ll leave it there until I have an open keg.

Here’s my water profile and recipe:

Ca+2                  Mg+2                 Na+               Cl-                   SO4-2            HCO
55.9                    7.8                     5.2                69.0                 16.8               8.168

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal
Bottling Volume: 5.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.050 SG
Estimated Color: 3.7 SRM
Estimated IBU: 22.0 IBUs
Est Mash Efficiency: 77.0 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Amt Name Type # %/IBU
8 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 82.1 %
1 lbs Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 2 10.3 %
8.0 oz Carapils (Briess) (1.5 SRM) Grain 3 5.1 %
4.0 oz Acidulated (Weyermann) (1.8 SRM) Grain 4 2.6 %

1.50 oz Hallertau [3.80 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 5 22.0 IBUs

2.0 pkg Bohemian Lager (Wyeast Labs #2124) [124. Yeast 6 –

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 9 lbs 12.0 oz
Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 12.19 qt of water at 161.4 F 150.0 F 60 min

Keg Update 05/31/16:  After doing the D-rest at 65 degrees for two days, this beer was kegged.  The FG of the beer came in at 1.010, giving me an abv of 5.25%.  The flavor of the beer was already really nice, and I can’t wait to see what a few weeks of lagering does for it!

Tasting Notes 06/26/16:

Appearance:  Haifisch pours crystal clear gold with a nice fluffy white head that sticks around.  I fined this beer with gelatin when it went into the keg and it shows.  This may be the clearest beer I’ve brewed.  The photos above don’t quite do the appearance justice.  Its a perfect example of what the style should look like.  A very classic looking beer.

Smell:  This one is all the crisp clean aroma of Pils malt.  The lager yeast leaves no esters or any off aromas that I can detect.  There’s no hop aroma that stands out, which is fine for the style.  Its like sticking your nose in a bag of fresh baked bread.

Taste:  Again, this beer is a Pils malt showcase.  I’m sure the Vienna malt adds a level of complexity, but I get mostly crisp, grainy Pils malt in the flavor.  This beer tastes just like a classic German lager should.  There’s enough bitterness to offset the malt and create a great balance.  Lager yeast leaves the beer with a very clean flavor, no detectable off flavors or fruity esters to be found here.  There’s a hint of spicy hop flavor that carries though the bittering addition, but its very subtle.  This beer is malt focused, but its well attenuated and crisp, not malty in a sweet way.

Mouthfeel:  Medium carbonation with a light, crisp body.  The carapils addition keeps the beer from feeling light and watery.  Its not like drinking a American light lager like Miller or whatever, you’re still drinking a beer drinker’s lager.

Overall:  This beer is perfect for sitting outside or playing yard games where you want to be able to drink a beer with some flavor without feeling the need to contemplate the nuances of it.  That being said, its still nice to sit back and just enjoy a crisp, clean lager and savor the graininess of Pils malt.  This recipe came out exactly how I wanted it to.  The ONLY change I make would be to use German grown Hallertau hops.  I’m sure there are subtle differences in the American grown version, but with just a bittering addition I’m not sure how big a difference it’ll make.  I’m thrilled with this for my first attempt at the style, and I’ll come back to this recipe again when a light drinking lager is called for!

Reinvention – New England Style American Pale Ale

DSC_1051This beer was brewed on 04/30/16.  This is a new recipe that I’m trying for what will become something of a house pale ale I may brew whenever the need for a easy drinking hoppy beer may arise.  This beer should be light, but not thin.  It should lean towards hop forward without being hop juice.  And it should sessionable without being a light beer.   Though its a recipe I’ve never tried, its certainly not a departure from my wheelhouse of New England Pale ales.  I titled this beer Reinvention.  My personal life has seen a number of changes lately, so I figured this would be an appropriate name for this beer!  Beyond my personal reasons, I feel like these new breeds of New England style hoppy beers are reinventing what American hoppy beers can be like.  Gone is the focus on clarity and assertive bitterness, instead focusing on hop saturation in the flavor and aroma along smooth drinkability.  I’ve grown so bored with the typical copper colored IPA, the standard West Coast version.  Ok, so maybe reinventing hoppy beers is a stretch, but they’ve certainly rejuvenated my interest in them.

This beer is a New England style take on an American Pale Ale.  Think something along the lines of Trillium’s Fort Point Pale Ale, but scaled down a bit and with some different hops, or Hill Farmstead’s Edward .  I’m not going into detail about the New England style of APA/IPA/DIPA, I feel like I’ve covered it at length in some other blog posts on here, but this beer should certainly fit right into that style.

The base of this one is good old 2 Row, with some White Wheat to add some body and mouthfeel to the beer.  I added some carapils to enhance that effect.  I went with a higher dose of Light Caramalt in this one than I typically do with my IPAs and DIPAs to add a level of balance to this one.  It’s going to be a juicy, hop forward beer for sure, but I want there to be a nice malty sweetness to act as a good backbone.


Mashing in!





Enjoying a Surly during brew day, need to stay hydrated after all!

The hop bill on this beer should wind up fairly fruity.  Citra, Simcoe, and Amarillo all play well together.  The Simcoe should take on a pineapple, citrus, and a bit of pine when paired with the more citrus forward Amarillo.  The Citra should add even more citrus, a bit more tropical fruit, and maybe some dankness.  I’m excited to use more Simcoe here, I’ve phased it out of my latest take on my DIPA, White Death, but its still a hop I enjoy, especially when paired with even more fruit forward varieties.


The boil!

This was the second half of my 4/30/16 brew day, I started this one immediately after completing my latest batch of White Death.  I had a little more company for this batch, and had a bunch of fun with my friends while I brewed.  It was a couple of their first times at a brew day, and it was fun to show them the process, though I could see the life draining from their eyes as I explained the ins and outs of the process in painful detail to them, I’m sure they’ll never be back!  Oh well, I’ll just bribe them with beer!  Anyway, despite the friendly distractions,  I was on my game the second batch of the day as well as the first.  I mashed at 153, just a degree short of my intended goal of 154.  I sparged and got my boil going with no issues.  I hit all my hop additions, and then cooled the beer to 180.  I did a 30 minute hopstand at 180, and then chilled the rest of the way down and pitched the London Ale III yeast at about 70 degrees.

I was just one gravity point shy of my intended SG of 1.056, coming in at 1.055.  I’ll take that any day, especially the first time brewing a recipe!  I filtered out as mush hop sludge as I could and into the carboy it went.


White Death on the left, Reinvention on the right

This will ferment next to its stronger, older, brew day brother at 68 degrees.  The first round of dry hops will be at day five, the second will come when I transfer to kegs at day ten.




Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)
White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain
Caramalt (Thomas Fawcett) (15.0 SRM) Grain
Carapils (Briess) (1.5 SRM) Grain


Kegging Update:  This beer was transferred to the keg onto the second round of dry hops on 05/11/16.  The FG of the beer was 1.013, giving me an ABV of 5.5%, right around what I was hoping for with this beer!  The hydrometer sample tasted really good, there was nice balance to it, and I’m very anxious to try this carbed up!

Tasting Notes 05/27/16:

Appearance:  This beer pours deep gold with hints of orange.  This one’s hazy, but not quite at the level of some of my other beers that use Wyeast 1318 and a bunch of hops.  The head is white and sticks around the edges of the glass, leaving a good amount of lacing.  A really nice looking brew.

Smell:  Pineapple, papaya, citrus, and a hint of pine, floral, and berry are the predominant aromas I pick up in this one.  I love the pineapple and candied fruit aromas that Simcoe takes on in addition to the pine when used with other fruity hops.  There a pleasant undertone of sweet malt just barely perceptible under the hops.

Taste:  Very mild bitterness, but nice hop flavor.  Its not as saturated with hops as some other pales I’ve brewed, and I’m not sure why.  I’m being picky though, this is a fine beer and I’m really happy with the flavors.  I get a lot of citrus, some orange and grapefruit, some pineapple, and some grainy sweetness from the balanced malt profile.  While hop forward, its not hop juice.  A hint of resiny pine in the flavor as well.

Mouthfeel:  medium bodied and medium carbonation.  Its smooth, but it still finishes dry and crisp.  This one is very easy drinking, and is really nice as the weather is FINALLY warming up around here!

Overall:  A really nice pale ale.  Not sure how much I can really improve upon it.  The recipe is mostly sound, I did well on brew day, and the only hiccup I had was some keg sealing issues that I got sorted.  I don’t think I detect any oxidized hop flavors, but I thought the hops might pop just a bit more.  I think upon re-brewing this I’ll cut the caramalt down to a half pound.  I’m wondering if the sweetness is whats keeping the hops from popping more.  I’m not trying to be negative though, I’m still pretty damn pleased with this, and will certainly come back to it again!

White Death Version 6- New England Style DIPA

DSC_1048White Death 2

Here we go again!!!  This is the sixth version of this beer, and I’m confident after brew day that this will be the final recipe version.  We’ll see if that prophecy comes true when I taste this beer, but brew day went very smooth, I was on the money for the most part with my ingredients and my process.  The only hiccup on brew day was I accidentally put an extra teaspoon of gypsum in the mash.  It shouldn’t have too much of an impact on the final beer, but I figured it worth mentioning.

If this is your first time reading this blog then let me introduce you to White Death.  White Death is my favorite beer that I make.  It’s my house DIPA recipe that I intend on coming back to with regularity.  If I was ever to start a brewery, this would be my flagship.  Its the beer that I want as close to perfect as it gets.  White Death is a New England or Northeast style DIPA.  Think beers in the style of Treehouse, Trillium, Hill Farmstead, The Alchemist and so on.  If you’re unfamiliar with this style of IPA, the characteristics of these beers are a soft mouthfeel, a typically golden orange color, higher levels of haze, and an often juice like hop profile, huge on aroma and flavor while having restrained bitterness.  I’ve become obsessed with this style of pale ale, but sadly there are few examples around Chicago.  That means I just have to brew my own!

Like I said, this is version 6.  This beer began as a Heady Topper rip off using Conan yeast and a similar grist, just a hop bill tailored more to my taste.  Every subsequent recipe has gotten less like Heady specifically, and more tailored to my taste in this particular style.  This latest and hopefully final version of the recipe leans more towards Trillium and Treehouse beers.  Super juicy, super hazy, and super smooth.  I eliminated Columbus and Simcoe from this version, and subbed in Amarillo to compliment the Citra and Mosaic.  These three hops are all very citrus forward, more orange than grapefruit, and the three have tropical notes as well.  The Citra and Mosaic should even lend some pungent dank notes in addition to the fruit.  While this beer began with Conan yeast, I used Wyeast 1318 London Ale III in the last batch and it was my preferred yeast so that came back here.  I cut the sugar down to a half pound here down from 12 oz to try and keep more in the body.  I also upped the wheat in the grist to two pounds.  I’m really pleased with the design of this recipe and I can’t wait to see how this pans out.


Me on the left, Steve doing the bag squeezing!

The beer was brewed on 04/30/16.  The brew day itself was really smooth aside from the one water chemistry hiccup mentioned above.  I mashed in at 152 for an hour.  I was a couple degrees above my target of 150, but I figured I usually lose a degree or two over the hour.  I did my version of a batch sparge for 15 minutes, and got my boil going.  This batch was boiled for 60 minutes, and I added the first round of hop stand hops right at flame out.  DSC_0812


My helpers for batch one of my two part brew day!  Steve, Jason, and Brie!

I let those hops sit for 15 minutes and then chilled the wort down to 180 degrees.  I then added the remaining hopstand hops and let those soak in for an additional 30 minutes.  I then chilled the beer down to 65 degrees, filtered the beer through a strainer going into the carboy to get the hop sludge out, took a hydrometer sample and pitched my 1318 yeast.  My OG came in right on the money at 1.074.  Don’t you just love it when that happens!

The beer will ferment at 68 degrees.  Here’s my water profile for this after the extra addition of gypsum I accidentally added:

Ca+2        Mg+2          Na+          Cl-          SO4-2         HCO
167.5        5.7             4.0            157.0        168.4           0.5

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 7.00 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.75 gal
Estimated OG: 1.074 SG
Estimated Color: 5.1 SRM
Estimated IBU: 60.0 IBUs
Est Mash Efficiency: 73.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt Name Type # %/IBU
12 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 76.8 %
1 lbs Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) Grain 2 6.4 %
1 lbs White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 3 6.4 %
8.0 oz Carapils (Briess) (1.5 SRM) Grain 4 3.2 %
5.0 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 5 2.0 %
5.0 oz Caramalt (Thomas Fawcett) (15.0 SRM) Grain 6 2.0 %
8.0 oz Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 SRM) Sugar 7 3.2 %

1.00 oz Warrior [15.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 7 44.8 IBUs
0.50 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Boil 12.0 min Hop 8 7.5 IBUs
0.50 oz Mosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] – Boil 12.0 m Hop 9 7.7 IBUs

1.50 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 m Hop 10 0.0 IBUs
1.50 oz Mosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] – Steep/Whirl Hop 11 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Amarillo [9.20 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 Hop 12 0.0 IBUs

Dry Hop 1:  1 oz each of Citra, Mosaic, Amarillo added at day 5

Dry Hop 2: 1 oz each of Citra, Mosaic, Amarillo added at day 10 when beer is kegged

2.0 pkg London Ale III (Wyeast Labs #1318) [124. Yeast 13 –

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 15 lbs 10.0 oz
Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 18.90 qt of water at 161.4 F 150.0 F 60 min


As always, I’ll keep this post updated when I transfer it to the kegs and then another for tasting notes!

Kegging Update:  This beer was transferred onto the second round of dry hops in the keg on 05/11/16.  The hydrometer sample showed an FG of 1.014.  That gives me an ABV of 7.9%, right in line with my usual 8%.  I’d have liked this to have gotten down to 1.013, but I doubt the difference would be noticeable.  The sample already tasted great, a ton of hop flavor without a lot of bitterness.  Even without carbonation, I can tell this beer will have a nice mouthfeel.  I can’t wait to see what the additional dry hops will do.  I’ll post the tasting notes when this beer is carbed up and ready to go!

Tasting Notes 05/27/16:

Appearance:  Golden/orange hazy beauty!  If you are a fan of hazy IPAs, this is a gorgeous beer.  I love the color of this style when held to the light, this beer practically glows!  A thin white head that sticks around and nice lacing that clings to the sides of the glass with each sip.

Smell:  Loads of juicy citrus and pineapple.  Notes of orange, tangerine, grapefruit, mango, pineapple, and papaya.  This beer smells amazing!  The juicy aroma just begs you to dive in to drink this one.  The large amount of hopstand and dryhops make this an expensive one to brew, but its so worth it.

Taste:  A soft initial bitterness, just enough to let you know its an American Double IPA.  In line with what you’d expect from the New England Pales.  The bitterness gives way to huge orange citrus, pineapple, mango, and passion fruit like flavors from the hops.  There’s just a hint of pleasant graininess from the malts in the finish.  As usual, Wyeast 1318 London Ale III adds some pleasant fruit esters that perfectly compliment the American hops.

Mouthfeel:  Really smooth and soft.  Medium carbonation.  This beer drinks smooth and almost creamy, but it still finishes dry enough that it leaves you craving another sip.  Way more drinkable and refreshing than an 8% beer has any right to be and I love it!

Overall:  My favorite beer I brew finally came together EXACTLY how I wanted to!  The extra gypsum in the mash didn’t negatively impact the beer in any perceptible way, and the brew day and fermentation came together exactly as planned.  I’m thrilled with this beer.  I honestly cannot think of a single thing I’d change.  I feel like I say that with a lot of the beers I wind up pleased with, but I’m a tinkerer.  This is finally a beer I’ve fine tuned enough that there is nothing I’d change at all here.  This brings me to an exciting new challenge, and that’s being able to re-brew this beer with consistency.  I’ll make this beer again and again, and my goal now is to maintain the quality of this brew and keep my process consistent!  If you’re reading this blog and are looking for ideas, try this out.  Like I said, its my favorite beer I brew and this is the best batch to date.  Consider this recipe locked in!