Blitzen’d – New England Style Christmas IPA

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A little blurry, but shows the color better

Blitzen’d was brewed on 11/11/16.  I’m getting around to this brew day post almost two weeks later after the beer has already been kegged on the second round of dry hops.  Oh well.  This beer is another in my line of New England style hoppy beers, but it’s a bit different than the juice bombs I usually make in this style.

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Brew day was a cool, clear evening

The inspiration for this beer was Sap by Tree House.  I never set out to clone beers though, and cloning Sap wasn’t my goal here, especially since I’ve never even had it.  I love the idea behind the beer though.  Sap is brewed primarily with Chinook hops to get those pine and herbal notes that the hop is known for.  Sap started off as Tree House’s Christmas IPA, though it apparently is in regular rotation now.  I love the idea of a Christmas tree inspired piney IPA mixed with the New England juicy style.  I imagine that Sap is truly reminiscent of pine sap, the Chinook giving that pine aroma and flavor while the NE IPA base calling to mind that golden stickiness of tree sap’s consistency.  Most of these types of beers, mine included, are made with hops like Galaxy, Citra, Mosaic, El Dorado and so on.  It’s fun to try other types of hops in this style to see the results.

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The burner, up close and personal

In keeping with Sap’s spirit, I mostly used Chinook hops in this beer.  This might be my first time ever using Chinook hops now that I think about it.  Simcoe takes a supporting role to give the beer a bit more depth of flavor, as well as a bit of fruitiness.  Simecoe is also known for having a very unique pine aroma, but I’ve also gotten pineapple and citrus from it was well, especially when used in a NE style IPA.  I’ve always used Simcoe with fruity hop varieties though, never with another piney or herbal hop.  I’m really excited to see what happens with this beer.

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Prepping my brew water

I’m also trying out a new hop schedule that I’d like to implement in all my future New England style IPAs/DIPAs.  Almost like a template to get my bitterness and flavors where I want them.  I’ll be using .5oz of Apollo hops for bittering, and then 1oz of Apollo at 10 minutes.  All flavor and aroma hops then go into a hopstand and massive dryhops.  I had been using hops like Citra and Galaxy or whatever in 10 minute additions, but when you do a 30 to 45 minute hopstand on top of that, I’m wondering how much flavor those are really contributing in the end or if its more bitterness?  I’m thinking rather than potentially wasting expensive flavor and aroma varieties in an addition where I might not be maximizing their use, why not use just a single ounce of Apollo to get the same bitterness and maximize my whirlpool and dryhops.  Every clone recipe I’ve seen for Trillium beers uses this method, just with Columbus rather than Apollo.  I prefer Apollo since it seems less sharp to me.  Blitzen’d is my first shot at what will hopefully be my IPA hop schedule template going forward.

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Staying warm around the kettle

The grainbill is a bit different from my usual New England base beer, but not by much.  Most of these beers I make are a golden/light orange color, very orange juice-like in appearance.  I’m going for a more deep glowing orange appearance for this one.  I had some English dark crystal on hand that I used in a previous batch, so I used a bit of that for color.  I also had some light caramalt to had just a bit of sweetness.  I skipped my usual honey malt in this one.  Honey malt is great for adding a bit of fruity sweetness to help with the juiciness of my NE IPAs, but I didn’t want that sweetness to detract from the pine of the Chinook and Simcoe.  I figured a small amount of the light caramalt will still contribute just enough to add some depth of flavor.  Other than that, my usual flaked oats and white wheat are there to achieve the creamy body that the style is known for.

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Brew day was pretty smooth for the most part with one exception.  I overshot my mash temp by about five degrees, and then overshot my sparge temp as well.  To compensate for this I added ice to bring me to my 150 degree mash tempt and 168 degree sparge.  Well, that turned out to be a problem because I undershot my OG of 1.068 by a few points in the end due to the added water volume.  The recipe posted here was adjusted with the new OG of 1.065, which isn’t a bit deal, but its worth noting.  Other than that, everything went smoothly.  The beer was boiled for 60 then I did a 30 minute hopstand prior to chilling.  The beer fermented for 3 days at 65 degrees.  I added the first round of dryhops on day three and ramped the temperature to 70 to help the beer finish out, though activity had slowed by then.  The beer was fermented for another five days on the dryhops.  I normally have these posts typed prior to kegging, but I’m a little behind.  I’m typing this on 11/23, two days after I kegged this……soooooo see below the recipe for the keg update like I usually do.

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Alyssa’s first brew day!

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10 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 68.4 %
2 lbs Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 2 13.7 %
White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 3
Acidulated (Weyermann) (1.8 SRM) Grain 4
Caramalt (Thomas Fawcett) (15.0 SRM) Grain 5
Carapils (Briess) (1.5 SRM) Grain 6
Crystal, Dark (Simpsons) (80.0 SRM) Grain

Apollo
Chinook
Simcoe

Kegging Update:  This beer was kegged on 11/21/16 on the second round of dryhops.  The transfer went smoothly under my usual closed Co2 transfer process.  The FG came in at 1.015, a point or two higher than I would have liked, but thats ok.  The ABV on this beer is 6.5%.  The hydrometer sample tasted really good, it definitely had some pine notes mixed with a bit of grapefruit and pineapple.  I should be ready to drink in another five days or so.

Tasting Notes 12/05/16:

Appearance:  Blitzen’d pours a deep golden orange with a white head supported by fast, tiny bubbles.  It has the typical juice-like appearance of my other New England IPA’s which in my opinion is a thing of beauty.

Smell:  The aroma of Blitzen’d is pretty interesting.  There’s definitely pine from the Chinook and Simcoe, but there’s more fruitiness than I would have expected.  There’s prominent aromas of orange citrus, a bit of peach, some papaya, and some pineapple.  I dare say the fruit is even more prominent than the pine.  I’m sure some of the fruit comes from the Simcoe, but I think the 1318 yeast probably provides a lot of those fruity aromas as well.  I get a lot of those same citrus/peach/pineapple aromas in most of my pale ales using this yeast, so I’m sure its a contributing factor.

Taste:  This beer has a pleasant mild bitterness that quickly gives way to a predominant herbal flavor that I’m pretty sure is the Chinook hops from what I remember from other beers I’ve had where they feature.  There’s just a hint of piney resin in there as well.  The Simcoe hops provide a bit of pineapple and citrus in addition to the resin, and the 1318 yeast flavor profile tends a bit towards a peach flavor when used in beers like this.  There’s a bit of underlying sweetness here, but it’s not juicy in the way most of my beers of this style are and that’s good since juicy wasn’t the goal here.

Mouthfeel:  Medium carbonation with a medium body.  As usual with beers with this percentage of oats and wheat, there’s a smoothness and fullness without feeling heavy and chewy.  The beer remains dry enough that it’s easy drinking.

Overall:  I’m really interested to try Tree House Sap after this beer, I’d love to know what flavors they get out of those Chinook hops, and what they do with the malts to balance it.  All in all, this is a fine, tasty beer, but if I’m being 100% honest I expected more.  Maybe I’m not the biggest fan of Chinook hops since I had a pale ale from Goose Island featuring Chinook that didn’t do a whole lot for me, and it had a similar flavor.  This beer is different being a New England style beer than anything I’ve ever had from Goose, and I DO like it, but it just doesn’t blow me away in the way I’d hoped it would.  Again, I admit I’m being really picky here.  I’d be interested to brew this beer again with some major tweaks.  I think I’d make Simcoe the star of the show and either scale the Chinook back or replace it entirely.  I’d also make it a bit darker orange, just to set it apart a bit more than my usual pale ales.  I’m not sure what I’ll do next year though, I kind of missed brewing my Black December this year, but I’d like another crack at this with some changes.  We’ll see next year!

Hop Harvest IPA 2016

dsc_1148Hop Harvest IPA was brewed on 09/18/16.  This beer marks the first time I’ve had access to freshly picked hops!  A coworker of mine, Steve, is a fellow homebrewer who happens to also grow his own hops.  I showed up to work and found a bag of about three and a half ounces each of freshly picked and dried Nugget and Cascade hops!
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I brought the hops home that night, measured them out in 1 ounce bags, flushed with Co2, and then put them in the freezer until brew day a few days later.  The flavor fresh hops impart is supposed to be unique and intense when compared to using pellet hops.  I had about 6 and a half ounces to work with here, so that’s not a ton given that whole cone hops have more plant material that doesn’t impart anything to the beer than pellets do.  I figured to get the most out of this beer I needed to both do a smaller batch to make the amount of fresh hops I had go further, and I needed to supplement them with some pellets.

I bought two ounces each of Cascade and Nugget pellets to use during the boil and first round of dry hops, saving all my fresh hops for the hopstand and keg dry hops.  If you read my blog, you know I make my pale ales in the New England/Northeast style.  I always do a round of dry hops in the fermenter while primary fermentation is still active.  I used an ounce each of Nugget and Cascade pellets in the fermenter just for ease of removal.  Getting bagged whole cone hops out of the carboy would be awful, and not bagging them would make yeast harvesting difficult.  So pellets it was.  An ounce and a half each of my freshies were saved for hopping in the keg.

Cascade and Nugget are not the trendiest types of hops, and I’ll be interested to see what these classic American hops do in the new school NE hoppy style.  Cascades are still citrusy, and I can see Nugget fitting in here too.  Nugget can lean more towards the herbal, pine and spice side of things, but I’ve had strictly Nugget hopped beers that were fruity as well. Cascade and Nugget aren’t the Citras and Mosaics of the IPA world anymore, but that’s kind of appealing here, combining old and new.  I’ll also be excited to see what using fresh hops brings to the table as far as flavor and aroma intensity goes.  In reality, 6 ounces of fresh cones isn’t a lot by today’s pale ale standards, so I’m hopping that by doing a smaller batch I was able to stretch them a bit further.

Brew day was a madhouse, but in a fun way.  I was given two one gallon brew kits by my friend Andy, and I decided to put them to good use.  While I was brewing my fresh hopped pale ale, I had two batches of one gallon all grain beers going on the stove.  Needeless to say, I had my hands full.  Things were pretty hectic, but everything turned out well for the most part.  The Hop Harvest ale went really well, I hit all my numbers.  I mashed in at 152 for 60 minutes, sparged, and got my 60 minute boil going.  I used some of my Cascade and Nugget pellets in the boil, and saved a bit for a flameout addition.  I had a big addition of fresh hops go in right at flameout, and I steeped the hops in a hopstand for 45 minutes to let those freshies really soak in.  After the hopstand I chilled to about 70 degrees, took my hydrometer sample, and poured through my strainer into the carboy.  My hydrometer sample came in at 1.058.  The beer fermented at 68 degrees for 4 days.  I hit it with the first round of dry hops on day 4 and ramped the temp up to 72 to help the yeast finish out.

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Recipe Specifications
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Batch Size (fermenter): 4.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.058 SG
Estimated Color: 6.2 SRM
Estimated IBU: 36.6 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 73.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
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Amt Name Type # %/IBU
5 lbs 8.0 oz Pale Malt, Golden Promise (Thomas Fawcet Grain 1 64.5 %
1 lbs Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) Grain 2 11.7 %
1 lbs White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 3 11.7 %
6.0 oz Honey Malt (Gambrinus) (25.0 SRM) Grain 4 4.4 %
4.0 oz Carapils (Briess) (1.5 SRM) Grain 5 2.9 %
4.0 oz Munich 10L (Briess) (10.0 SRM) Grain 6 2.9 %
2.5 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 7 1.8 %

0.25 oz Nugget [13.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 8 15.3 IBUs
0.75 oz Nugget [13.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 9 16.6 IBUs
0.50 oz Cascade [5.50 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 10 4.7 IBUs
2.50 oz Nugget [13.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 Hop 11 0.0 IBUs
2.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 Hop 12 0.0 IBUs

1 oz Cascade [5.50 %] – Dry Hop 1
1 oz Nugget [13.00 %] – Dry Hop 1

1.75 oz Cascade [5.50 %] – Dry Hop 2
1.5 oz Nugget [13.00 %] – Dry Hop 2

London Ale III (Wyeast Labs #1318)

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 8 lbs 8.5 oz
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Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 10.66 qt of water at 163.7 F 152.0 F 60 min

Keg Update 09/29/16:  I kegged this beer last night on 2.25 oz of fresh Nugget and Cascade hops.  I used some stainless steel washers to help keep the bag weighted down.  I took my final hydrometer sample and it came in at 1.012, giving me an abv of 6%!  The sample tasted nice already, with citrus and some herbal and pine notes.  I’ll be anxious to see jhow this turns out!

Tasting Notes 10/12/16:

Appearance:  Hop Harvest pours a cloudy orange color with gold highlights.  This beer started with the usual level of juice like haze I get in my New England style beers, but as the keg has gone, it’s begun to settle out a bit.  Its still hazy, but not turbid.  The beer has a nice white head that dissipates fairly quickly.

Smell:  I’ve never used Nugget hops, and its been a while since I’ve used Cascade, so I’m not sure how much the fresh hops differ from the usual pellets, but this beer has a unique smell.  The dominant smell almost reminds me of being in a forest after a rain shower.  Its a very fresh floral and herbal note I think, with citrus and a bit of peach underneath that.  I’m guessing the peach comes from the 1318 esters, while the citrus should be the Cascade.  I’m thinking the herbal and floral notes are from the Nugget hops.

Taste:  This beer benefits from the stirring the keg up periodically, otherwise its a bit bland for a NE style pale.  The bitterness would be mild in a more flavorful beer, but there’s not a ton of hop flavor, so the bitterness sticks out a bit more.  There’s a spicy herbal flavor, with just a hint of grapefruit and peach beneath that.  The Golden Promise and honey malt add a bit of complexity to keep the beer from seeming boring, but there’s a bit of harsher bitterness in the finish.  Don’t get me wrong, this is a decent beer, but its pretty balanced and certainly not a hop bomb.  Its just a bit bland.

Mouthfeel:  Pretty nice body on this,  but nothing special.  Medium carbonation.  The bitterness in the finish creates a drier feeling on the tongue that interferes with what would otherwise be a smooth finish.

Overall:  I can’t say I’m necessarily let down here since I didn’t really have any expectations for this beer, but I’m certainly not impressed with it either.  I think the issue comes down to the amount of hops used.  The fresh whole cone hops have a lot more plant material by ounce, and while the aroma and flavor they provided was raw and pretty cool, I just didn’t have enough.  I should have done an even smaller batch to really make the most of them, but oh well.  I’d love to try another fresh hop beer though, and it was cool getting to use some varieties that I don’t use much if any of.  In the grand scheme of things, this is a forgettable beer.  I’ve brewed plenty worse, but I’ve certainly brewed better IPA’s.

 

Kangaroo Scallywag – New England Style IPA With Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy Hops

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This beer was brewed on 07/10/16.  Kangaroo Scallywag is another in my series of New England/Northeast style beers.  This one is an American IPA.  It’s been a year since I’ve brewed one.  I tend towards brewing doubles in the 8% range or going lighter with APA’s so I figured a standard IPA brew day was about due.

The original plan for this beer was to use Azzaca hops rather than Galaxy, and the beer’s name would have been different.  I’d been reading about Azzaca hops and they sound like they’d be great in this type of beer.  I’d never used them so it would have been fun to try them out alongside the Nelson hops for a super fruity IPA.  When I got to my LHBS I saw they were out.  I still got a bunch of Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand and I wanted another fruity hop to go with it so I figured I may as well just make this a Southern Hemisphere IPA and go with Australian Galaxy, hence the Kangaroo part in the name.  While I’ve only used Nelson once prior, I know plenty of commercial beers that pair it with Galaxy, so I know I’m in for a delicious hoppy treat.

There were a few aspects of this beer that were new to me, but let’s start with what’s the same.  I went with my usual 2 Row base, I used both White Wheat and flaked to give it that smooth creamy body, some carapils for the same, and my hop schedule is my usual for this type of beer.  I kept my water chemistry treatment in line with what I usualy do for this style of beer which is heavier on the chloride and lighter on the sulfate to help achieve that smooth easy bitterness that this style of IPA is known for.

As for the differences, there were a couple.  This is my first time using honey malt in a hoppy beer, though I’ve seen plenty of recipes that have so I’m hardly doing anything outside of the ordinary.  I’m interested to see how it compares to the light caramalt I usually use for color and a hint of sweetness in my hoppy beers.  If it adds a little extra complexity I might have to sub honey malt into some of my other recipes.  The other new factor in this beer wasn’t a new ingredient, but rather a new method for me.  I’d never wanted to go through the hassle of harvesting and washing yeast.  It seemed like more work and risk of infection than I wanted to deal with.  By just buying a couple packs of yeast on brew day and just pitching those, I felt like I eliminated one extra variable where something could go wrong.  While that’s a safe way to do things, it gets expensive.  Yes the ease of just pitching a couple packs of yeast is nice, but it adds up money wise.  I read an article on one of my favorite blogs, Ales of the Riverwards,  about just harvesting the slurry from the fermenter and directly pitching that slurry into another batch without going through a washing process.  It sounded interesting, so I harvested the Wyeast 1318 London Ale III from my Serrated Summer Ale in mason jars and kept it in the fridge.  As the article I linked to describes, its good to keep as much trub and hop matter out of the harvested slurry as possible, and I think I did a good job of that.  I was excited to try harvested slurry for the first time here.

Sorry for the lack of brew day pictures, I didn’t bother with the camera for this one.  The brew day itself was the usual processes and procedures.  It was just my friend Steve and me, so it was a pretty quiet day.  I mashed in at 150 for an hour, did my usual batch/dunk sparge with the grain bag, and boiled for 60.  I had to cut my hopstand from 30 minutes to 20 as I was up against the clock trying to get this done before leaving to go play in my hockey league.  I chilled the beer down to about 95 degrees before I had to leave, so I put the beer in my fermentation fridge and set it to run while I was gone.  I came home and the beer was around 70 degrees so I took my hydrometer sample and then I measured out about 200 ml of 1318 slurry and pitched it.  They hydrometer sample came in right at my expected 1.064 after I adjusted for temperature.

It took until the next evening before I saw signs of fermentation, but it took off like a rocket at that point.  I added an ounce of Nelson and Galaxy after 4 days of active fermentation, and I’ll post an update when the beer is kegged.

Recipe Specifications
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Boil Size: 7.00 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.75 gal
Estimated OG: 1.064 SG
Estimated Color: 5.6 SRM
Estimated IBU: 63.3 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 74.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 74.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
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Amt Name Type # %/IBU
10 lbs 8.0 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 76.0 %
1 lbs Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) Grain 2 7.2 %
1 lbs White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 3 7.2 %
8.0 oz Carapils (Briess) (1.5 SRM) Grain 4 3.6 %
8.0 oz Honey Malt (25.0 SRM) Grain 5 3.6 %
5.0 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 6 2.3 %

1.00 oz Warrior [15.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 7 48.1 IBUs
0.50 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 8 8.1 IBUs
0.50 oz Nelson Sauvin [12.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 9 7.0 IBUs
2.00 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 Hop 10 0.0 IBUs
2.00 oz Nelson Sauvin [12.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpoo Hop 11 0.0 IBUs
1 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Dry Hop 1
1 oz Nelson Sauvin [12.00 %] – Dry Hop 1

1.5 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Dry Hop 2
1.5 oz Nelson Sauvin [12.00 %] – Dry Hop 2

London Ale III (Wyeast Labs #1318)  200 ml slurry repitched from previous batch

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 13 lbs 13.0 oz
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Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 17.27 qt of water at 161.4 F 150.0 F 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (0.84gal, 3.50gal) of 168.0 F water

Water Profile:

Ca+2                  Mg+2                  Na+                    Cl-                  SO4-2               HCO
139.2                  12.0                   10.0                   151.9               96.4                 120.571

Kegging Update 07/19/19:  I kegged this beer to sit on another round of dry hops for the next five days.  I took my hydrometer sample and was thoroughly disappointed.  For whatever reason, this beer only got down to 1.020.  It was fermenting like crazy, almost requiring a blowoff tube, so I’m really surprised.  1318 is a quick fermenter, so I’m guessing its done.  Maybe my pitch rate was off if I had more trub in the pitch than I expected?  I’m not sure.  I’m hesitant to use any yeast harvested from this batch since it didn’t really perform.  My ABV is only 5.8 on this one, more of a pale ale than IPA, but the flavor was still nice.  Can’t win them all I suppose.  UPDATE 07/24/16:  I removed the dry hops and noticed that there was a ton of foam in the keg when I opened it.  I wondered if I had roused the yeast when I transferred so I figured why not take another hydrometer sample and see.  It got down to 1.015!  Hell yes.  So my final ABV on this beer is 6.5%, right in line with what I wanted!  The hydrometer sample tasted great, I have high hopes for this one.

Tasting Notes 08/15/16

Appearance:  Kangaroo Scallywag pours a glowing orange color with golden hues mixed in.  A typical looking New England style IPA, this beer is very hazy and juice like in appearance.  The beer pours with a sift white head that sticks around then clings to the side of the glass.  A pretty beer for sure if you dig this style like I do!

Smell:  This beer has a huge bouquet of fruity aromas.  In my opinion, the Nelson sticks out over the Galaxy, but both are evident.  The classic vineyard grape aromas from the Nelson blend with notes of mango and pineapple.  There’s more tropical fruit and not much in the way of citrus in the aroma.  There’s a aroma that Southern Hemisphere hops tend to have in common and its evident here.  I wish I could put my finger on the exact quality they have, but I can’t.  There’s an almost Belgian ester aroma to the aroma, but it doesn’t carry to the flavor.

Taste:  The bitterness in this one is so smooth.  It quickly gives way to  beautifully saturated hop flavors.  Again, I feel the Nelson shines through a bit more with its grape like fruitiness, but the mango and pineapple from the Galaxy are close behind.  This beer is like tropical fruit juice, its so tasty!  There’s a pleasant sweetness in the finish without coming across as malty.  I’m sure its a mixture of hop flavors and sweetness from the malt bill, specifically the honey malt.

Mouthfeel:  This beer is very soft on the palate, with what could be described as a pillowy mouthfeel.  The beer still finishes dry enough that it leaves you anxious for another sip and remains very drinkable.  The carbonation is medium and the beer leaves sticky lacing on the glass.

Overall:  I was worried about this beer when it went into the keg due to what seemed to be the yeast crapping out on me.  Either they were still working or the transfer to the keg woke them back up, but either way, they got the job done and I’m very happy with these results!  I really like Nelson and Galaxy together, they produce so much fruit flavor in a beer like this.  I’m a big fan of the subtle sweetness of the honey malt in this type of IPA when used in the right amount, and I’ll be interested to use more of it going forward.  I’m not sure of anything I’d want to change if I was to brew this one again.  I’m sure it’ll be a while if I do just because there are always new hop combos I want to try and other beers I’d like to revisit first, but put this beer firmly in the “Would brew again” category!

Serrated Summer Ale 3.0 – Hoppy Blonde

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Serrated Summer Ale (1)

Brewed 06/12/16.  Finally, I get to brew a summer beer while its warm enough to feel like summer outside!!!  My Munich Helles required jeans and long sleeves and I brewed that in May.  Oh well.  Anyway, this is my third time brewing my main summer beer, Serrated Summer Ale.  The first time I brewed this ale, it was basically a different beer.  It was essentially a knockoff of Two Brothers Sidekick extra pale ale.  Its a very light pale ale with a big tropical and citrus kick, but its definitely West Coast.  The beer is crisp, dry, and clear.  If that appeals to you more, check it out here.

The second version of this beer, as well as this version, are more modeled after a beer called Eureka by TreeHouse.  Eureka is a blonde ale, but not in the traditional sense.  When most people think of a blonde ale, they think of an entry level craft ale that isn’t a drastic departure from the macro lagers that many enjoy.  The beer is typically crystal clear, subtle, and crisp.  There usually isn’t much going on in the way of hops or any sort of yeast profile.  I dare say that blonde ales are a bit boring.  I enjoy them from time to time, and have even brewed several, one I really liked, but if I want crisp, refreshing with not a lot going on, I’ll usually take a lager like a Helles.  Eureka, and my Serrated Summer Ale, are not blonde ales of this traditional variety.   The beer is cloudy in the New England/Northeast IPA style of beers.  The soft mouthfeel is there.  And so are those beautiful citrus and tropical hop flavors.  The beer is still super light and easy drinking, and I’ve only tried Eureka once, but I imagine I could guzzle those by the dozen during the summer.

That brings my to this summer ale.  I wanted something similar to Eureka, but I’m not really into doing clones.  Given what I know about brewing New England style beers, I figured I could brew something close to Eureka without knowing really anything specific about it, and I succeeded last year in that effort.  This year’s Serrated Summer Ale really isn’t much of a departure from last years batch.  I kept the OG down a little bit just to make this one even lighter and more sessionable.  I’m shooting for an ABV between 4% and 4.5%, last year was about 5%.  I simplified the hop bill a bit, cutting out Zythos hops and strictly focusing on equal parts Citra and Galaxy.  This beer should be packed with citrus and tropical fruit flavors that should be perfect in the summer months coming up.  I subbed flaked wheat in place of oats from last years, I just prefer the body they provide over the oats.  As usual, my yeast of choice is Wyeast 1318 London Ale III.  Last years version of this ale was the first time I used London Ale III and I haven’t looked back.  I love this yeast and have written about it in great detail in a number of other articles here, but its just so damn good.

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Cheers! I finally got to wear some short sleeves on brew day this time!

This was a fairly quiet brew day.  I play in an ice hockey league and I had a 8:00 pm game on the night of brew day, so I wasn’t able to partake in my usual shenanigans.  Don’t get me wrong, beers were had, but I kept things pretty low key.  Steve came ove rto help me out which was very much appreciated.  I brew a modified version of BIAB, where I still do typical mash volumes, and I fill another pot with the full sparge volume and basically soak the grains in that for another 15 minutes.  This method usually gets me between 70 to 78% efficiency.  The downside is it can be a pain to brew alone.  I like to squeeze the grain bag to get all the sugars I can out, and that’s hard to do alone.  Long story short, thanks Steve!

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Steve contemplating

I was having some thermometer difficulties on this one, the digital reading seemed to jump around a lot even after I changed the battery, but I think I got my mash temp around 154, a bit shy of the 156 I was aiming for.  I really don’t want this one drying out too much.  Around the half hour mark I went to stir and found that I had lost four degrees which is not typical.  I’m guessing it was from their being less volume in the mash, so there was more headroom in the kettle for heat to escape, even when covered by my usual pile of blankets.  I heated it back up to 156, stirred and covered again.

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The rest of the brew day was fine.  I boiled for 60, hit all my hop additions, and chilled to 180 for a 30 minute hopstand.  I did run out of propane once with about 15 minutes in the boil, but I always have an extra on hand to that was a quick fix.  After the hopstand, I chilled the rest of the way down.  My hydrometer sample was right on the money at 1.045.  I pitched my yeast and into the ferm chamber it went.  As always, I’ll post a kegging update and tasting notes as I go.  Here’s the recipe and water profile.

Recipe Specifications

————————–
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal
Bottling Volume: 5.50 gal
Estimated OG: 1.045 SG
Estimated Color: 4.2 SRM
Estimated IBU: 32.2 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
————
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
6 lbs Brewers Malt 2-Row (Briess) (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 65.3 %
1 lbs Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) Grain 2 10.9 %
1 lbs White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 3 10.9 %
8.0 oz Caramalt (Thomas Fawcett) (15.0 SRM) Grain 4 5.4 %
8.0 oz Carapils (Briess) (1.5 SRM) Grain 5 5.4 %
3.0 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 6 2.0 %

0.25 oz Warrior [15.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 7 14.3 IBUs
0.50 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 8 8.3 IBUs
0.50 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 9 9.6 IBUs
1.50 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 m Hop 10 0.0 IBUs
1.50 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 Hop 11 0.0 IBUs

2.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 13 0.0 IBUs
2.00 oz Galaxy [14.00 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 14 0.0 IBUs

2.0 pkg London Ale III (Wyeast Labs #1318) [124. Yeast 12 –

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 9 lbs 3.0 oz
—————————-
Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 11.48 qt of water at 168.2 F 156.0 F 60 min

Ca+2                  Mg+2               Na+                   Cl-                 SO4-2                     HCO
126.9                  7.4                   4.9                  140.1               92.0                        16.260

Keg Update:  The FG of this beer came in at 1.015, giving me an abv of 4% which is perfect for summer drinking sessions!  The aroma and hop flavor were great going into the keg for more dry hops, so I can’t wait to see how this turns out!

Tasting Notes 07/18/16:

Appearance:  Serrated Summer Ale pours a hazy gold with hints of orange and a fluffy white head.  If you’re a fan of New England style pales, this should appeal to you.  As stated above, this doesn’t look like your typical blonde ale.

Smell:  This beer has a very fruit forward aroma.  There’s a ton of passion fruit, citrus, pineapple, mango, and some lemon zest.  The aroma is really pleasing on this one.  Blending with the hop aroma is some nice fruity esters from the yeast.

Taste:  This beers is saturated with hop flavor without the bitterness of a pale ale.  The hop flavor is mostly citrus and pineapple.  There is a light sweetness, but not much malt flavor to speak of.  Still, for a 4% beer this one has some nice flavor to it.

Mouthfeel:  Light bodied without feeling thin.  Dry and refreshing but there’s still enough body to maintain a smooth texture.  This beer is really juice like in mouthfeel, it really enhances the drinking experience.

Overall:  Another successful attempt at this beer.  I’d be ok bumping this up to 4.5 percent, but I like keeping this light and mild.  The hop flavor is exactly where I want it.  I’d consider subbing some of the 2 Row for Golden Promise to add a bit more malt flavor to this, maybe even dropping the caramalt and doing all Golden Promise as the base.  We’ll see, that’s next summer’s dilemma!  For now, I’ve been enjoying this one for a few weeks now and I’m very pleased with the result!

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.

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Mashing in!

 

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

Ingredients:
————

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

Warrior
Citra
Simcoe
Amarillo
 

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.

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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

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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

Ingredients:
————
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

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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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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.

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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
————————–
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:
————
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

Ingredients:
————
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!

Hoppy Grinchmas (Version 2) – Imperial Red Ale-

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Hoppy Grinchmas

This beer was brewed on 11/07/15.  This is my second take on my holiday Imperial Red ale.  This is a style of beer that I’m surprised doesn’t get more love.  I said this last year and I’ll say it again.  These aren’t just Red IPAs.  There’s nothing wrong with Red IPA’s and I enjoy them, but there is a strong malt presence and a fuller body in an Imperial Red to back up the big hop flavors and aromas as well.  They often have some great caramel notes, some dark fruit flavors, and sometimes a bit of toastiness under a big hop punch.  If you’re unfamiliar with this style, do yourself a favor and pick a few up, and I know I mentioned some of these last year, but it bears repeating.  Lagunitas makes a nice one jut called Imperial Red.  There are a couple in the Chicagoland area that are really nice;  Blood of the Unicorn by Pipeworks and Revolution Red Skull.  Trillium in Boston puts out Deciduous, and given everything else from them I’ve had has been pure gold, I’m anxious to try it.

I didn’t alter this beer too much from last years version.  I brewed a 5 gallon batch this year rather than a half sized version.  My usual batch size is 5.5, but all I had free was my 5 gallon carboy, so I had to scale back a bit.  I bumped up the Munich malt some, and dialed back the crystal malt a bit.  I wanted more breadiness in the malt, and a bit less caramel sweetness.  I also included some Victory malt to add some toasted bread qualities.  I replaced standard C120 with Belgian Special B.  I had special B on hand, and I’ve seen in used in some of my favorite Reds listed above, so I thought it would be a good choice to provide some raisin/dark fruitiness.  I kept the hop bill pretty much the same, just adjusted the schedule to be more consistent with my usual hoppy beers with lots of late additions and a 30 minute hopstand.  The only hiccup as far as recipe goes was that they did not have enough Wyeast 1318 London Ale III to cover this batch and the second beer I intended to brew.  My other Christmas beer, Black December, is a black rye DIPA.  London Ale III does not clear at all on heavily hopped beers.  I love this fact as I enjoy the fruit juice look of Northeast IPAs.  On a black IPA, clarity makes no difference regardless.  On a Red, clarity could be more important (That is if you put any importance on that anyway).  A cloudy look on a Red may look muddled, rather than that beautiful juice look in an IPA.  I had still intended to using London Ale III on this beer, but since they didn’t have enough I went with WLP 007 Dry English Ale, another of my favorites.  This yeast clears well, and accentuates both hops and malt nicely.

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Kristin and I, it was a chilly brew day!

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My friend Parth helping me mash in

This was a really fun brew day as we had a pretty good crowd.  My good friends Scotty, Jess, and Parth all stopped by, and the neighbors brought some beer loving friends as well.  They brought some bottles of some pretty good stuff, so the group did not go thirsty on this brew day!  Despite my pretty solid level of buzz, I hit my numbers pretty close.  I came in low on my OG, hitting 1.071 rather than 1.074, but it’s not a big deal.  Other than that, the day was smooth.  Well, smooth for brewing at least, disaster struck in my basement bar.  I had recently acquired a Sam Adams 25th Anniversary bar mirror.  A coworker of my wife gave this to us since he had no where to put it.  I’ve always wanted a bar mirror, they just look so damn cool, and I set it on a chair in my basement.  I assume you all know where this is heading.  I knocked that son of a bitch over of course, shattering it into little, depressing pieces!  I only include this in the blog entry so that my future self reading this will hopefully have learned not to put awesome glass decorative pieces waiting to be hung up in areas where people walk.

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Left to Right: Steve, John, our neighbors Phil and Julie

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My friends Parth, Scotty, and Jessica

I accidentally closed out my water brewing calculator without saving the numbers for this recipe, but the numbers were around 130 for calcium, near 200 chloride, sulfate was about 130 or 150.  the other mineral were negligible.

Here’s my recipe:

Recipe Specifications
————————–
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal
Bottling Volume: 4.50 gal
Estimated OG: 1.074 SG
Measured FG: 1.071
Estimated Color: 16.4 SRM
Estimated IBU: 76.7 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 73.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
————
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
10 lbs 8.0 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 74.3 %
2 lbs 12.0 oz Munich 10L (Briess) (10.0 SRM) Grain 2 19.5 %
8.0 oz Victory Malt (25.0 SRM) Grain 3 3.5 %
4.0 oz Special B (Dingemans) (147.5 SRM) Grain 4 1.8 %
2.1 oz Roasted Barley (Simpsons) (550.0 SRM) Grain 5 0.9 %

1.00 oz Warrior [15.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 6 50.5 IBUs
1.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Boil 5.0 min Hop 8 8.1 IBUs
1.00 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] – Boil 5.0 Hop 9 9.4 IBUs
1.00 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] – Boil 5.0 min Hop 10 8.7 IBUs
2.00 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 Simcoe [13.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 Hop 13 0.0 IBUs

2.00 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 15 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus (CTZ) [15.50 %] – Hop 16 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Dry Hop 0.5 Days Hop 17 0.0 IBUs

2 pkg Dry English Ale (White Labs #WLP007) [35 Yeast

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 14 lbs 2.1 oz
—————————-
Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 17.66 qt of water at 165.9 F 154.0 F 60 min

 

Keg Update 11/24/15:  I racked this beer into the keg last night.  FG came in at 1.014, giving an ABV of 7.5%.  The hydrometer sample tasted fantastic, but the dry hops should kick this up some since the malt was a bit more forward than expected.  Carbonation will help bring the hops out too.  Can’t wait to tap this one.

Tasting Notes 12/27/15:

Appearance:  Hoppy Grinchmas pours a deep red/amber color with good clarity, though its hard to see that from the picture above.  When held to the light this is a very traditionally pretty looking beer and not one of the hazy hop milkshakes I like in a lot of my beers.  There’s a nice persistent off white colored head.

Smell:  This beer has a surprisingly complex aroma that has a nice balance of the malt and hops.  I expected the hops to come forward more, but the toasted biscuit and plum/raisin aromas from the malts stand up to the citrus and pine from the hops.  There’s also hints of caramelized sugar.  Its a really nice smelling beer.

Taste:  Very well balanced between hops and malt, just like the aroma.  The bitterness nicely balances the sweetness.  The malt flavor is pretty complex.  Toasted bread crust and sweet dark fruit flavors are what come through the most.  The raisin flavor from the Special B is too heavy.  That’s surprising given the small percentage I used.  Perhaps its the Victory or Munich malt that’s adding too much?  There’s a bit of a sharp flavor in there somewhere that I can’t quite put my finger on, but I don’t think it’s from the hops, and its not a pleasant flavor.  Either way, I’d probably dial those malts back a bit for next time, or drop them entirely.  Its a slippery slope though, because I’m not sure I want this to be a Red IPA, I do like a nice malt flavor in this beer too.  The hop flavor in this blends well with the malts with some citrus and resiny bitterness coming through.

Mouthfeel:   The mouthfeel on this beer is very nice.  Medium bodied, but nicely drinkable.  Very smooth on the palate with medium carbonation.

Overall:  I have to admit, I’m somewhat disappointed at how heavy on some of the toasted crust and raisin flavors this beer is.  I like the malt bill from last years version better, and I might go back to something more similar to that when I do this again.  I’m my own worst critic though, and while this isn’t an awful beer, its just not that good either.  I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with it that was from my process, I just think I messed with the recipe too much.  I know I can make a better Imperial Red.

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

Ingredients:
————
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!