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!


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



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.


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.


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!


IMG_20160220_130919116_HDR (1)

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.


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.


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
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

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
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.

Black December 2.0 – Black Rye DIPA

Black December

Black December

This beer was brewed on 11/08/15.  This is my third year brewing this beer, but I was still doing partial mashes the first time around, pre blog days.  This beer started off as a direct clone of Firestone Walker’s Wookie Jack.  If you haven’t tried that beer, do yourself a favor and find it.  Get it fresh of course since unfortunately Firestone beers can sometimes sit around for a bit, at least around Chicago.  The dark malts and rye lend a really cool blend of flavors that play really nicely with the Amarillo and Citra hops.

Last year I tweaked a couple things from it being a direct clone, such as upping the bittering a bit, and a different yeast.  I also increased the late hops.  The type of hops used remained the same, and the malt bill received only minor tweaks.

For this year’s Black December, I’ve made a few more, mostly minor tweaks.  Most of these changes fall in line with my current brewing practices, such as loads of late hops in styles appropriate for it, 180 degree hopstands, and higher chloride water for mouthfeel and smoothness.  The two major changes would be the addition of Mosaic hops, and using my new love, Wyeast 1318 London Ale III.  I have loved everything I’ve used this yeast on so far, so I expect this will be no different.  I feel it compliments both malt and hops equally well, and should go great with this beer.  The Mosaic hops have quickly become one of my favorite varieties in my beers.  They have such a variety of flavors and aromas that you would almost think they could be a hop blend like Falconers Flight.  There are times where I think they are citrus, sometimes tropical fruit, berries, and other times they seem dank and earthy.  I wanted to kick the hops in this up a bit, and Mosaic with Citra and Amarillo should be a citrusy fruit bomb.

I’m surprised that more breweries haven’t made beers similar to this one.  The way the rye adds another dimension to a black IPA is wonderful.  It lends a bit of spiciness and smoothness to the finish that adds a little more complexity than your typical Black IPA.  I’ve had a few other examples of Black Rye IPA’s, but for the accolades that Wookie Jack has gotten, I’m surprised more breweries haven’t had a take on it.

On to the brew day.  Really, there’s not a whole lot to say about the brew day itself.  It was pretty quiet for most of the day, and I was alone for much of it.  My wife was in and out, as were a couple of the neighbors, but it was a calm day.  This was probably for the best, as I was HURTING from the Hoppy Grinchmas brewday/bottle share from the night before.  I mashed in at 152 for an hour, and got the boil going.  No boil overs unlike last year!  The hour long boil went smoothly, nothing was forgotten or missed.  I killed the heat after the hour was up, let the temp drop to 180, and then hit it with a big hopstand addition for 30 minutes.  The beer came in a couple points high, so I diluted it with just a bit of distilled water until I got back to my intended SG of 1.074.

The beer fermented at 68 degrees for 5 days when I dded the first round of dry hops.  As I’ve mentioned elsewhere in this blog, I like to do the first round of dry hops while fermentation is still slightly active.  You lose a bit of aroma due to the C02  scrubbing it, but it adds another dimension to the flavor and aroma of the beer.  There are some yeast/hop oil biotransformations that happen here that I will not even pretend to fully understand, but I love the results even if I don’t understand the science behind it!

Keg Update:  The beer was kegged after the beer had 4 days on the first round of dry hops.  The FG of the beer came in at 1.012, so I should have an ABV of about 8.2%, consistent with what I was shooting for.  The sample tasted amazing at keg time, and that was without another big dose of dry hops!  I can’t wait to start drinking this one!

I lost my notes on the water chemistry for this one, but if I recall correctly my calcium was around 130ish, sulfate was 150ish, and chloride was near 200.

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.75 gal
Estimated OG: 1.073 SG
Measured OG: 1.074
Estimated Color: 41.7 SRM
Estimated IBU: 71.2 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 73.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt Name Type # %/IBU
11 lbs Brewers Malt 2-Row (Briess) (1.8 SRM) Grain 1 71.0 %
2 lbs Rye Malt (4.7 SRM) Grain 2 12.9 %
12.0 oz Chocolate Wheat Malt (550.0 SRM) Grain 3 4.8 %
8.0 oz Carafa III (Weyermann) (525.0 SRM) Grain 4 3.2 %
8.0 oz Caramel Rye (Weyermann) (66.0 SRM) Grain 5 3.2 %
12.0 oz Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 SRM) Sugar 6 4.8 %

1.25 oz Warrior [15.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 7 56.6 IBUs
1.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Boil 5.0 min Hop 8 7.2 IBUs
1.00 oz Mosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] – Boil 5.0 mi Hop 9 7.4 IBUs
2.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 m Hop 10 0.0 IBUs
2.00 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

1.00 oz Mosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] – Dry Hop 1
1.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Dry Hop 4.0 Days Hop 1
1.00 oz Amarillo [9.20 %] – Dry Hop 3.0 Days Hop 2
1.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Dry Hop 3.0 Days Hop 2
1.00 oz Mosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] – Dry Hop 2

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 8.0 oz
Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 18.44 qt of water at 164.4 F 152.0 F 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (0.65gal, 3.49gal) of 168.0 F water

Tasting Notes 12/27/15:

Appearance:  Black December pours black as the name implies, with hints of ruby or brown along the edges when held to the light.  The beer had a nice tan lingering head that clings nicely to the side of the glass.

Smell:  Hop forward, but the rye and dark malt is evident too.  The hop aroma is mostly citrus and a bit of pineapple and passion fruit.  The hop aroma isn’t quite as strong as I would have thought for the amount used, but its still pretty good.

Taste:  Really well balanced.  The bitterness is really smooth, and lingers just a little bit from sip to sip.  The hop flavors are orange citrus heavy with notes of pineapple as well.  The rye is pretty evident as well.  I’d like to dial the roast flavors back just a bit for next time, though they certainly aren’t overpowering.  Maybe cold steeping them would help, or maybe I just need to tweak the recipe a bit.  Its really good though, so I wouldn’t do much.

Mouthfeel:  One of the biggest improvements over last year.  This beer is sooooo smooth and creamy without losing its dry bite or feeling thick.  Between the 1318 London Ale III yeast, the higher chloride in the mash, and the rye, the body on this one is incredible.

Overall:  This beer is pretty damn close to being dialed in, and it lived up to my expectations.  Its one of my favorite beers that I brew, and this batch was the best of this beer that I’ve brewed.  I have no doubt that kegging this for the first time helped, but I really like the other changes over prior batches.  I love the nuances that the Mosaic hops added to the aroma and flavor.  I’m thrilled with everything I’ve used the 1318 yeast in.  I’d like to maybe go a bit lighter in the specialty malts to let the hops come through just a bit more, but its 95% there.  All in all, I’m very pleased with this one!

White Death Version 5 – Northeast Style DIPA

White Death 5

White Death 2

Perfecting this beer has become my white whale, my never ending quest for perfection.  The problem is, I always mess something up or change too much.  I still have sky high hopes for this batch, and it may still be the finalized recipe for this beer that I was hoping to find, but I made one error that I need to touch on before I get on with this:  I used the wrong base malt!

My LHBS sells a number of different base malts in bulk out of big containers.  In my haste to get in and out in a reasonable time since I was running late on this brew day (Much like the post about it, this beer was brewed 09/20/15), I saw Canada Malting Pale Malt.  In my rush to get my things together, I didn’t realize I got the Canada Malting Superior Pale malt, thinking instead I had their regular 2 Row.  This malt is kilned slightly darker than your standard 2 Row.  I had intended on just going with 2 row this time around, and getting that golden orange color from a half pound of light Caramalt.  I now have a beer that is potentially darker than I intended.  I say potentially because I was shooting for an SRM of about 5 to 5.5, now I’m around 6 to 6.3.  I’m not even sure in reality I’d notice the difference, but I’m a beer perfectionist so things changing from the plan on brew day threw me off.  This could still turn out exactly like I want it to though, so I’m trying not to get ahead of myself here and make changes that don’t need to be made.  The Superior Pale is supposed to be a really nice base malt, so this could be a fortunate mistake and I may end up loving it.

The other changes I made (Intentionally this time) to this batch from the prior ones is balancing the Citra and Mosaic more with the Columbus and Simcoe.  The last batch was a bit harsher and resiny, and I wanted the fruity characteristics to come through more so I bumped the Cirtra and Mosaic additions up.  I also used Warrior as my bittering hop.  Columbus for bittering was just a touch harsher than I wanted in this beer.

This is also the first batch of White Death to use Wyeast 1318 London Ale III rather than Conan.  I came to this decision after doing my side by side yeast comparison of the two in an otherwise identical pale ale (Read about that here).  1318 is just awesome and I’ve used it a few times in lower OG beers.  I can’t wait to try it in a DIPA.

As has become typical for me, I had a higher chloride water profile to smooth out the mouthfeel for this beer.  If you are reading this and haven’t read my other posts, I’ve been trying to chase the mouthfeel and body from guys like Hill Farmstead, The Alchemist, Trillium, Tree House, and Tired Hands.  I think yeast selection and water profile are huge components to that.  Really, I’m trying to make the quintessential Northeast DIPA here.  A smooth mouthfeel, smooth bitterness, and a fruity juice like hop quality with a bit of earthy dankness to go with it.

The brew day itself was the usual.  Our neighbors came over to hang out for a while, so did my brother Kevin and his family.  My wife came back from a Las Vegas trip just in time to help me mash in, so that was great!  I hit my numbers on the dot.  I cooled the beer to 180 for my 30 minute hopstand and then transferred it to the carboy.  I dry hopped with the first dose right as fermentation slowed around day 5.  I’l keg it in another day or so with the second round of dry hops and then get carbing!

Water Profile:

Ca+2       Mg+2        Na+        Cl-         SO4-2      HCO
139.3       6.8            22.3       199.0     118.1       0.034

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal
Estimated OG: 1.074 SG
Estimated Color: 6.3 SRM
Estimated IBU: 113.2 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt Name Type # %/IBU
11 lbs 8.0 oz Pale Ale Malt 2-Row (Briess) (3.0 SRM) Grain 1 76.4 %
1 lbs Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 2 6.6 %
1 lbs White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 3 6.6 %
8.0 oz Caramalt (Thomas Fawcett) (15.0 SRM) Grain 4 3.3 %
5.0 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 5 2.1 %
12.0 oz Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 SRM) Sugar 6 5.0 %

2.00 oz Warrior [15.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 7 90.7 IBUs
1.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Boil 5.0 min Hop 8 7.2 IBUs
1.00 oz Mosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] – Boil 5.0 mi Hop 9 7.4 IBUs
1.00 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] – Boil 5.0 min Hop 10 7.8 IBUs
1.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 m Hop 11 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus (CTZ) [15.50 %] – Hop 12 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Mosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] – Steep/Whirl Hop 13 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 Hop 14 0.0 IBUs
Dry Hop split into two doses
2.00 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 16 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 17 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] – Dry Hop Hop 18 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Mosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Hop 19 0.0 IBUs

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

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 15 lbs 1.0 oz
Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 17.89 qt of water at 163.7 F 152.0 F 60 min

Kegging Update:  I transferred this one into the keg over the weekend for the second round of dry hops.  I do a closed transfer under C02 for all my beer, and for whatever reason I lost my siphon.  I think the bottom of the cane may have gotten clogged with some trub, but even after clearing it and checking the dip tube and poppet on the out post of the keg that I was transferring the beer through, I couldn’t get the siphon started again.  I was pissed!  This is my favorite beer I make, and there was about a six pack or so left of beer still in the carboy.  I was not going to waste it.  I used my old autosiphon to put the beer in some glasses, cooled it down, and then used the neighbor’s sodastream to carb it up.  I lost about another beer worth of foam, but at least I was able to drink most of it over the course of the evening.  I also noticed the beer was a bit darker than I wanted, but not by much.  I likely will go with plain 2 row next time, or cut or lower the caramalt.  Still, the beer tasted awesome already.  The FG came in at 1.013, giving me my 8% abv I shoot for with this beer.

Tasting Update 10/13/15:

Appearance:  As I had suspected, this beer turned out just the slightest bit darker orange than I’d prefer it be, but that’s pretty nitpicky of me.  The color is still in the ballpark of what I was going for, and its still a pretty beer.  It pours a nice orange color with a good white head.

Smell:  This beer smells fantastic.  Very heavy on citrus and other fruity aromas such as orange, a bit or grapefruit, passion fruit, pineapple, and some subtle dankness.  Some subtle yeast esters are under all the hops.

Taste:  This is great stuff!  I love the London Ale III with this beer, I’ll be keeping it for sure.  There’s a firm, but pretty smooth bitterness.  When I brew this again, I may still dial the bittering charge back a bit more, but its still not harsh.  The hop flavors follow the nose, lots of citrus and some tropical fruits.  There’s a bit of sweetness that’s pleasing in the finish.

Mouthfeel:  Pretty much perfect for this beer.  So smooth and silky.  Nothing I’d change in this regard.  Nice medium body on this, but it still finishes dry enough to be refreshing.  This thing is chuggable for an 8% beer.

Overall:  This beer is 95% there.  The last 5% is really just dialing in the details.  I do think I’ll try regular 2 Row next time with just a bit of crystal to shoot for an SRM of about 5.  I’ll dial the bittering charge back a bit, but the flavor and aroma hops are all spot on.  This beer is so juicy in taste and feel, it just brings a smile to your face!  The water profile seems to be right on as well.  Wyeast 1318 London Ale III was fantastic in this brew, and I’m glad I went with it over Conan.  I’m very confident the next time I brew this beer, it’ll be the finalized version barring any mistakes by me!

White Death 3.0

White Death in glass 3

White Death 2

Another batch of White Death is on the way!  This beer was brewed on 01/03/15.  I had posted my last take on this recipe in the fall, and had said there wasn’t anything I’d change.  In the time since that post, I drank a whole bunch of Heady Topper, and wow that beer is just crazy good.  White Death, while not supposed to be a direct Heady clone, was always intended to be in the ballpark, and my last batch came close. However, after having a case of Heady at my house I realized my White Death wasn’t quite 100% where I wanted it.  The flavors are there, but I wanted a touch more bitterness, and to try and get that great drinkability that Heady Topper has.

With those goals in mind, I made a couple of changes to the recipe.  First, this is a 3 gallon batch!  So if you’re reading this (There’s bound to be one or two of you right?)  and thinking of brewing this beer, I just cut everything in half from my normal batch size.  I’ll talk about why I did a small batch in a bit.  Downing a can of Heady is an easy thing to do.  The beer is bitter, but it doesn’t linger on your palate and leaves you wanting more.  The beer is dry, but still had a nice mouthfeel.  In an attempt to emulate this drinkablity, I dropped the oats and caramalt from the recipe, and hope that the grainy bread like flavors from the Pearl malt and White Wheat will be enough of a malt backbone.  I feel like the caramalt was used in such low quantity that it shouldn’t be missed here anyway.  I also mashed a bit lower this time, 150 degrees for an hour.  Another change I made was the addition of Mosaic hops, and the subtraction of Amarillo.  I like Amarillo hops ok, but I haven’t really been blown away by them, while I have really enjoyed everything I’ve had that makes big use of Mosaic.  Even having Heady, which as far as I know doesn’t have Mosaic hops, there are aromas and flavors that remind me of Mosaic, and nothing that really struck me as Amarillo.  My LHBS doesn’t have hop extract, so I went back to bittering with Apollo for this one.  I also tried adding more gypsum to this batch than I’ve ever used before.

As far as why I did a small batch?  I still have about 6 bottles of my old batch in the fridge.  They have not held up well.  6 gallons of a beer that is best fresh was too much, especially since I had several other brews ready at that time too.  I had about a case left when I could see the beer darken some and the hops started fading.  The beer is now a shadow of what it was fresh, a dull copper as opposed the the bright golden orange it was.  I’d rather brew just a case and love every sip, rather than brew two cases and have to power through the last 12 packs worth that’s gone south.  Hopefully when I get a keg system eventually this concern will be a thing of the past since I’ll be able to purge everything with C02 to minimize oxidation.

I did this brew as the first half of my two batch stove top brew day.  The brew day itself was uneventful, which is usually a good thing.  It was just me and the dog, so I wasn’t distracted, and kept the beers to a minimum (Boooooooo!).  I mashed in at 150 for an hour, sparged, and boiled.  I did an hour long hop steep.  I put half my flameout hops in immediately after the boil, and added the other half for the 30 minutes it was cooling.  I had to do an ice bath for this one since my chiller is set up for a garden hose attachment, and it was snowing out so I didn’t feel like dealing with that.  I took my hydrometer reading and it came in at 1.073, right around where I wanted it.

Here’s my water profile

Ca+2   Mg+2   Na+   Cl-   SO4-2
185.9   0.0       0.0    42     388.7

Recipe Specifications

Batch Size (fermenter): 3.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.075 SG
Estimated FG: 1.013 FG
Estimated Color: 5.1 SRM
Estimated IBU: 135.7 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 74.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt Name Type # %/IBU
7 lbs Pearl (2.5 SRM) Grain 1 88.4 %
8.0 oz White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 2 6.3 %
2.7 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 3 2.1 %
5.0 oz Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 SRM) Sugar 3.1 %

1.25 oz Apollo [17.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 4 115.5 IBUs
0.50 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Boil 5.0 min Hop 6 6.5 IBUs
0.50 oz Mosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] – Boil 5.0 mi Hop 7 6.6 IBUs
0.50 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] – Boil 5.0 min Hop 8 7.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus (CTZ) [15.50 %] – Hop 9 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 Hop 10 0.0 IBUs
0.50 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 m Hop 11 0.0 IBUs
0.50 oz Mosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] – Steep/Whirl Hop 12 0.0 IBUs
0.25 oz Apollo [17.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 Hop 13 0.0 IBUs

0.50 oz Mosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Hop 16 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 17 0.0 IBUs
0.50 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 18 0.0 IBUs
0.50 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] – Dry Hop Hop 19 0.0 IBUs
0.25 oz Apollo [17.00 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 20 0.0 IBUs

1.0 pkg DIPA Ale (Omega Yeast Labs #OYL-052) Yeast 14 –

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 7 lbs 14.7 oz
Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 9.59 qt of water at 161.4 F 150.0 F 60 min

Bottling Update on 01/17/15:  FG of the beer was 1.012, right where I wanted it.  The hydrometer sample tasted and smelled amazing.  It really did remind me a ton of Heady Topper, and while I may not have been going for an exact clone, this tasted damn close.  The only negative here was I only got 21 bottles from this batch. I took the siphon out as soon as I started getting some hop material up with the beer.  I left what was probably another few bottles worth in the carboy, but with all that hop material from the huge dry hop, I didn’t want to risk sucking that into the bottling bucket or agitating the beer.

Tasting Notes on 01/25/15:  I feel that this beer is best to drink as soon as its carbonated, so this was about a week after bottling.  This beer is great, plain and simple, and I feel it’s most likely the best beer I make.  This third batch is even better than the last one, and the subtle changes from the lat batch are the difference.

Appearance:  This beer pours a very hazy golden orange color, almost like a glass of orange juice.  The beer pours with a fluffy white head that slowly dissipated into a consistent thin head that lasted the whole glass.  The brew left nice lacing on the glass.  Exactly how I like my IPAs to look.

Smell:  Huge hop aroma on this beer, complimented by the Conan yeast.  I get aromas of pineapple, passion fruit, some pine, earthy dankness, citrus, and a nice dose of peach from the yeast.  Huge aromatics on this one.

Taste:  There’s a nice bitterness upfront, but it quickly gives way to waves of hop flavors.  The tastes largely follow the nose with some tropical fruits and earthiness.  I get a lot of pineapple and some citrus and some peach.  The back end has a nice sweetness to it.  I’m glad I dropped the oats and caramalt, the Pearl and White Wheat provide enough base to give the beer a nice malt base to let the hops play on.

Mouthfeel:  I was worried that cutting the oats and caramalt would have a negative effect here, but thankfully I was wrong.  The beer is a just slightly drier, but it’s definitely more drinkable than the last batch.  As a matter of fact, this beer is dangerously drinkable for an 8% beer.  The mouthfeel is still sturdy enough to keep the beer from ever feeling thin.

Overall:  This is as good as any commercial IPA I’ve had in my opinion, and as a very Heady Topper like flavor to it, but not close enough that it would be a clone, which is fine.  I like what the Mosaic hops added here, and I can detect their presence in the beer, where I feel like the Amarillo in the previous batches got lost in the shuffle.  The beer didn’t lose anything from simplifying the malt bill, and I think it was an improvement.  I love this beer, and the only way I feel it could be improved is through kegging to minimize oxygen pickup.  The only things I might try when I get around to brewing this one again is to increase the bittering charge just a bit more, and then I’d like to eliminate the 5 minute additions.  I’m not sure whether they really add anything substantial that I can’t get from the hopstand, and I’d love to try and cut the cost of this beer a little since those hops add up in a hurry.   This beer is just crazy good though, and I wouldn’t change anything else!

Final Beer Stats:   

Measured OG: 1.073

Measured FG: 1.012

SRM: 5.1

IBU: 136.6

ABV: 8.1%