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!

White Death (Version 7) New England Style DIPA

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White Death was brewed on 10/10/16.  Well well well, here we go again!  I knew I wanted to brew another batch of this beer before long, and there wasn’t much I wanted to change about it.  Since the last time I brewed this beer, Chicago has had a few breweries come out with some truly great examples of the New England IPA style.  Breweries like Mikerphone and their Special Sauce beers, Hop Butcher’s Galaxy Bowl, and The RAM’s Juicy have all been stellar beers that I just couldn’t get enough of.  The more I had these beers, the more things I realized that I needed to tweak to get White Death to be 100% where I want it.

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A couple tools of the trade

One thing I wanted to improve was just the overall saturation of hop flavors and aromas.  Sadly for my wallet, this just meant more hops.  There’s basically a pound of hops in this recipe, and the vast majority of those are in the hop stand and dry hop.  I’m not sure if this is overkill or not, I’ll have to see once this is done and see if there’s anywhere I can scale the hops back a bit without losing any flavor or aroma.

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Me, giving the mash a good stir

Looking back, I love how I said I wouldn’t change much if anything with that recipe last time, and just look above.  What can I say, I love tinkering with my recipes, but I really think this will get me where I want to be!

As for the brew day itself, it went about as perfect as it gets.  I was with my friends Jason and Dave, so I had plenty of help when I needed it.  I hit my mash temp right on the dot.  I mashed for an hour and then sparged.  Once the boil got going, I had some time to relax and have a couple beers with the guys.

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Jason stirring the mash

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A nice fall day for brewing some DIPA

Below you’ll see my hop additions, and that’s without the dry hop!  I added Citra and Mosaic at 10 minutes left, and got my chiller going at flameout.  I brought the beer down to 180 degrees and added a hopstand charge.  I let those hops steep for 45 minutes, chilled down to pitching temperature, and took my OG reading.  Right on the money at 1.075!  I swear, this brew day went too good to be true, I’m waiting on some disaster with the yeast or I’ll drop the carboy at kegging or something.

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The boil and hopstand hops…there’s anoth 8oz for the dry hop!

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My brew assistants Jason and Dave

I’ve said it before that this is my favorite beer that I brew, and this is the most excited I think I’ve ever been about a batch that I brewed.  I really think this recipe nailed the style, and I executed everything on brew day.  Hopefully the repitched slurry of Wyeast London Ale III yeast do their job, and I minimize any oxygen pickup during dry hopping and kegging.

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Pale Malt (2 Row)
Oats, Flaked
White Wheat Malt
Carapils
Honey Malt
Corn Sugar

Apollo
Citra
Galaxy
Mosaic

Keg Update 10/18/16:  The beer was kegged on the second round of dry hops.  The FG came in at 1.014, right on target to get my 8% ABV!  The sample I took was absolutely fantastic tasting, tons of juicy hop flavor.  I can’t wait to see what another four ounces of dry hops does!

Tasting Notes 11/3/16:

Appearance:  White Death pours a deep golden orange color with a beautiful haze.  If you you dig New England IPAs, you’ll love this.  The beer beer looks like its glows under a light source, its really a beautiful beer.  The appearance really enhances the juicy feel of the beer.  The head is fluffy and white and maintained by lively tiny bubbles.  The head eventually dissipates and fades to the side of the glass where it clings as nice, sticky lacing.

Smell:  So, so juicy smelling.  Its like opening a blended bag of hops and putting your nose in.  It smells like a smoothie made of orange and a bit of generic citrus, pineapple, peach, berry, passion fruit and mango.  It’s just very juicy!  I feel like I’m overusing that term, but it’s really the best descriptor.  I love how the Galaxy hops really amped up that peach and tropical fruit aspect.  The yeast esters further compliment the fruitiness of the hops.  If you want floral notes or piney resin, look elsewhere.  This beer is like a glass of carbonated fruit juice blend with some alcohol.

Taste:  The bitterness is very mild and so smooth, but its enough to keep the beer from being too sweet.  The taste follow the nose with predominant flavors of orange, pineapple, mango, and peach.  There’s lighter hints of passion fruit, lemon zest, and a bit of berry.  Malt definitely takes a back seat here, but I love the way the sweetness and slight fruitiness of the honey malt compliments the hops.  The 1318 yeast provides a wonderful profile that really enhances everything else going on with this beer.

Mouthfeel:  Silky smooth from the wheat and oats.  The body is on the fuller side of medium, with lighter medium carbonation that enhances the creamy body.  Even the body of this beer is juice like, and it really enhances the aromas and flavors.  I feel like I’ve gotten close with previous beers in terms of mouthfeel, this is the first time I’m really nailed it on the head.

Overall:  Yes!  Yes yes yes!  This is truly the beer I’ve been trying to make!  The almost pound of hops I put in this beer truly turned out to be worth it.  This beer is so saturated with hop flavor and aroma, I’ve never brewed anything quite to this level.  The addition of Galaxy rather than Amarillo really played well with the Citra and Mosaic.  It was an improvement for sure with what I was going for.  I think the higher percentage of oats and wheat really made the body perfect on this one.  The dry hop is right on the money.  I’d love to shave a couple ounces of hops off somewhere if I could to keep the cost down, but I don’t want to lose anything from this spectacular beer.  I might up the Apollo at 60 to .5 oz, then do an ounce of Apollo at 10 and save all my flavor and aroma hops for flameout and dry hops.  I also might be around the end of this pitch of 1318, though that doesn’t factor into the actual recipe design.  I’ve never had this beer even get close to clearing at all until the very end of the keg on my last batches.  I just harvest slurry from my fermentor without washing it, and I’m thinking I’m getting more and more flocculant pitches.  Every three or four days I need to agitate the keg a bit to get more of those hop oils and yeast back into suspension.  That seems to be the key with beers like this.  It loses some flavor when it clears since there isn’t much going on behind all those wonderful hop oils.  This beer is the best beer I’ve made…..period.

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
—————————-
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!

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!

White Death (Version 4)-Northeast Style DIPA

White Death 4

White Death 2

This beer was brewed on 06/12/15.  As the title suggests, this is my fourth crack at this recipe.  The funny thing is, if you go back and look at the first take on this beer it will resemble this one more than versions 2 or 3.  I’ve gotten away from trying to get this more like a Heady Topper like beer specifically and more like a general “Northeast Style IPA.”

A Northeast IPA isn’t really a sub-category of IPA or DIPA, but it may as well be due to the similarities these fantastic hoppy beers in that part of the country have.  I’ve had hoppy ales from The Alchemist, Trillium, Lawson’s, Hill Farmstead, Treehouse, Bissell Brothers, Foundation, Tired Hands, and a few others from the Northeast.  Not bad for a guy living in Chicago.  The hoppy beers from these guys are exactly what I want for my beers and specifically my “flagship,” White Death.  A lot of the beers from these guys are light colored, hazy, have a creamy soft mouthfeel, low in harsh bitterness but huge on hop flavor.  That’s not to say you can’t find beers like that in other parts of the country, but these breweries in the Northeast seem to just “get it” when it comes to the hoppy styles.

While not truly sub-categories of IPA, most people will admit that there is East Coast IPA and West Coast IPA.  The standard East Coast variety tends to be a bit darker and maltier, maybe using more specialty grains, a bit fuller bodied, and not usually total hop bombs.  Think Dogfish Head 60 or 90 Minute IPA as a good example of this.  The West Coast IPA’s are usually a bit lighter in color and body, bitter, dry, and are huge in hop flavor with little in the way of malt.  Think Stone IPA and Pliny the Elder.  The Northeast IPAs seem to find a balance, taking the best parts of these two IPA types and combining them into an amazing whole.  Most of them have a hazy blonde or orange color that ranges from 4 to 7 or so on the SRM scale.  The mouthfeel of a lot of these beers is absolutely incredible.  They have a smooth, creamy, and soft mouthfeel that sets them apart from other IPAs.  The bitterness on these beers is noticeable, but rarely too assertive.  These beers tend to load up on late and dry hops to get huge flavor and aroma.  The balance of flavors a lot of these breweries pull off is incredible.

I’m trying to get White Death to encompass all the things I love about the beers from this part of the country.  I’m still using the Heady Topper Conan strain on this beer since I love the fruitiness and mouthfeel the yeast leaves.  I’m still chasing the incredible body that beers from Hill Farmstead, Trillium, and Tired Hands seem to have so I made a few adjustments with this goal in mind.  I added some of the oats back into the recipe from the 1st version as well as adding carapils to keep the beer from drying out too much.  I also changed the water profile by upping chloride and dropping the sulfate to smooth things out further.

After working with both Golden Promise and Pearl malt a few times each, I’ve found I prefer the Golden Promise.  Much like in the 1st version of this beer, I went with a 2 Row and Golden Promise mix.  Golden Promise has a sweet bready flavor that I really like, and I was tempted to use a higher portion of it, but in the end I went with a 50/50 split with the 2 row just in case that sweetness would take from the hops.  I still like the Pearl malt, but I find it more grainy rather than bready which is what I want in this beer.  I kept the pound of White Wheat I’ve been using in this recipe.

I simplified the hop bill a bit by cutting out the Apollo hops and upping the Columbus additions as well as using Columbus for bittering.  I actually like Apollo hops a lot, but my LHBS doesn’t stock them and I got tired of having to pay for shipping just for hops.  I tried to make Simcoe and Columbus the stars of the show more, with Mosaic and Citra supporting.  With Conan yeast adding fruity flavors in addition to the Mosaic and Citra, I felt loading more Simcoe and Columbus would bring out more of the pine and dank notes to balance the fruit.

This brew day was done on a Friday night, with just me and Kristin.  I love my busy brew days with my friends, but this was a nice low key change of pace.  This is my favorite beer I make, and I wanted to be focused on my process to get it perfect since this will be its first trip to the keg.  The brew night went perfectly, no steps were missed and no mistakes were made.  I hit my 152 mash temp on the dot.  I boiled for 60 minutes and chilled to 180 to do a 30 minute hopstand.  The OG came in at 1.075.  The first round of dry hops went into the primary at day 5.  They’ll sit there for 4 or 5 days until I rack to the keg for the second round of dry hops.

Here’s my water profile:

Ca+2           Mg+2         Na+         Cl-         SO4-2          HCO
153.6           0.0            0.0          194.9      104.0            0.000

Recipe Specifications
————————–
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal
Bottling Volume: 5.25 gal
Estimated OG: 1.075 SG
Estimated FG: 1.015 FG
Estimated Color: 5.2 SRM
Estimated IBU: 95.1 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 73.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
————
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
6 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 39.8 %
6 lbs Pale Malt, Golden Promise (Thomas Fawcet Grain 2 39.8 %
1 lbs White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 3 6.6 %
12.0 oz Carapils (Briess) (1.5 SRM) Grain 4 5.0 %
8.0 oz Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 5 3.3 %
5.0 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 6 2.1 %
8.0 oz Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 SRM) Sugar 7 3.3 %

1.50 oz Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus (CTZ) [15.50 %] – Boil 60 min Hop 8 70.1 IBUs
2.00 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] – Boil 5.0 min Hop 9 15.6 IBUs
1.00 oz Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus (CTZ) [15.50 %] – Boil 5 min Hop 10 9.3 IBUs
2.00 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 Hop 11 0.0 IBUs
1.50 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
0.50 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 m Hop 14 0.0 IBUs

1.00 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] – Dry Hop 1
1.00 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] – Dry Hop 1
0.5 oz Mosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] – Dry Hop 1

0.50 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Dry Hop 2
0.50 oz Mosaic -Dry Hop 2
1.00 oz Simcoe – Dry Hop 2
1.00 oz Columbus – Dry Hop 2

2.0 pkg DIPA Ale (Omega Yeast Labs #OYL-052) 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 18.20 qt of water at 163.7 F 152.0 F 60 min

Update 06/24/15:  The beer went in the keg last night for a second round of dry hopping.  It’ll sit there at room temp for 4 more days and then I’ll remove the hops and get carbonating.  The gravity sample came in at 1.014, right where I was hoping.  The sample tasted great.  One thing I noticed was the bitterness on this version.  I don’t think I’d ever bittered with Columbus until now and the bitterness is a bit sharper than Warrior or Apollo.  That’s not to say I don’t like it, and it’ll be interesting to see how it is with another week of conditioning and with carbonation.

Tasting Update 0717/15:

Appearance: The beer pours a beautiful hazy golden/orange color.  This version looks just like the previous batches.  The beer is hazy, which is fine by me for this type of beer.  Kegging helps the head stick around nicely and the beer leaves nice lacing on the glass.

Smell:  This batch had heavy orange citrus aroma.  There are hints of grapefruit, pineapple, and peach as well.  There also a heavier pine and earthy element to this batch.  The aroma of this one was pretty strong, I like what layering the dry hops does for this one.

Taste:  The bitterness in this version is sharper than previous ones from the use of Columbus as a bittering hop.  Its still a great beer, but the bitterness is a bit sharper than I’d prefer.  Some people would like this, but I want the flavors in this beer to be a bit rounder.  The bitterness of this beer lingers longer than I’d prefer.  This version of the recipe is very resiny.  There’s a bit less fruit than previous versions, but its still there.  The fruity hop flavors follow the nose with orange, grapefruit, peach, and pineapple.  The malt body has a nice bready flavor thanks to the Golden Promise, but I may just go with straight 2 row for simplicity’s sake next time.

Mouthfeel:  This is an area that improved over the previous versions.  I’m really like liking the higher levels of chloride in my hoppy beers.  That combined with the oats, wheat, and yeast really do wonders for the body of this one.  The beer has medium carbonation.

Overall:  This beer took a couple steps forward in some areas and a couple steps back in others.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still really happy with this beer, but there are things I’d like to change before I brew it again.

Lets start with what works.  Kegging helped this beer in a number of areas.  Its held up way better than any of the batches of this that I bottled.  The aroma has been clearer and more powerful.  The flavors seem a bit bolder.  The mouthfeel is smooth, almost creamy, but still dry enough to stay very drinkable.

As far as improvements go, it’s mostly fine tuning at this point with one or two bigger things.  I’m going to bitter with a cleaner hop next time like Warrior, the Columbus was too sharp for my tastes.  I went a bit heavy on the Columbus in the flavor and aroma additions as well.  I need to bring some of the fruity notes from the Mosaic and Citra back into focus, this batch was a bit more resiny than I wanted.  For the malt, I may try going just 2 row as the base.  I’ll keep the wheat and oats, and likely add a bit of caramalt in place of the carapils.  The last charge is a maybe: yeast.  I really like Wyeast London Ale III when I used it in my summer ale.  I plan on doing a side by side with London Ale III and Conan in an APA as a test before I decide this for sure.  I really like both yeasts, and it will be the only way I can choose between the two.

All in all, this was still a great beer and I know what I need to do to perfect this recipe.

Attack and Release- American IPA

Attack and release glass

Attack & Release

Finally back to brewing big batches outside!  Another long, miserable Chicago winter is in the books and it was wonderful to be back outdoors making beer again!  This batch is a big one for me as it’s the first beer I plan on kegging.  It’ll be a new process for me, and I’ve already thought of some things I’d like to try for next time like a closed transfer system.  I’m anxious to see how my hoppy beers hold up compared to being bottled, though I’m sure I’ll still need to dial in my process.

I’ve been wanting to brew this beer for a little while now, and I though my first kegged beer would be the right opportunity.  I looked back at this blog and saw that I hadn’t brewed a regular American IPA in about a year.  Since that time, I’ve had some IPA’s that have blown me away, but I loved two in particular that I wanted to emulate; The Alchemist Focal Banger and Surly Todd the Axeman.  These two beers have a decent amount in common, mainly that they are hopped with Citra and Mosaic hops, UK base malts, and a yeast with some character.  In designing this beer I used some of what has worked in my White Death DIPA.  I chose Pearl for the base malt, Conan for the yeast, and some wheat and caramalt for body and character.  I had some Apollo around for bittering, and then loaded up on the Citra and Mosaic.  To be honest though, I wish I went a bit heavier on the hops.  My LHBS only had two ounces left of Mosaic, so I had to skimp a bit on brew day.  I had to pick up another two ounces a couple days later for the dry hop.  I love the flavor and aroma that the combination of Mosaic and Citra have.  Its citrus, tropical, and bit dank.  I love Simcoe with these two hops as well, but I figured I’d keep it simpler for this batch.

Pointer IPA Stir

The brew day itself had ups and downs as they all seem to do.  I like to use two brewing software tools.  Beersmith and Brewtoad.  I’m still dialing in my equipment profile on Beersmith as there are a ton of variables, but I like the simplicity of the mash and sparge calculator on Brewtoad.  I tend to use the sparge volume from Brewtoad rather then Beersmith, but Brewtoad wasn’t loading for me on Sunday.  The sparge volume in Beersmith seemed a bit high, but I followed it, and I undershot my OG at the end of the day by a few points because of the increased volume.  Nothing a bit of DME couldn’t fix, but I should have known that was too much sparge water.  I feel like I got careless with the DME as well.  I always boil it first to sanitize it, but I didn’t this time.  I hope I don’t wind up regretting that!  I also overshot my mash temp by two degrees.  I was shooting for 150, but I wound up at 152.  That’s not going to change things up too bad, and so far Conan has fermented well for me.  I’m not too concerned about this beer not drying out.  Another hiccup I hit was I chilled under the temperature I wanted to do my hop stand at.  I underestimated how cold the outside hose water would be this time of year and it brought be down to 120 degrees in short order!  I could have put it back on the burner, but I put the four ounces in and steeped them for 45 minutes.  The reason for some of this is I get distracted, and sometimes a bit tipsy on brew days.  My brew days tend to be social events too with friends and family, and I could probably pay a bit more attention to my process.

All in all with my adjustments I hit my numbers, and I’m sure this beer will turn out good!  The recipe below is what I brewed, but I wanted to add another oz of Mosaic at 10 minutes.  As I said above, the LHBS only had two ounces of Mosaic.

My water profile:

Ca+2    Mg+2    Na+    Cl-        SO4-2
151.3    0.0        0.0      63.7      276.4

Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal
Estimated OG: 1.066 SG
Estimated FG: 1.012 FG
Estimated Color: 5.3 SRM
Estimated IBU: 69.1 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 74.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
————
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
11 lbs 8.0 oz Pearl (2.5 SRM) Grain 1 87.6 %
1 lbs Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) Grain 2 7.6 %
5.0 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 3 2.4 %
5.0 oz Caramalt (Thomas Fawcett) (15.0 SRM) Grain 4 2.4 %

1.00 oz Apollo [17.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 5 55.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min Hop 6 14.1 IBUs
2.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 0.0 m Hop 7 0.0 IBUs
2.00 oz Mosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] – Steep/Whirl Hop 8 0.0 IBUs

2.00 oz Citra [12.00 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days Hop 10 0.0 IBUs
2.00 oz Mosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Hop 11 0.0 IBUs

1.0 pkg DIPA Ale (Omega Yeast Labs #OYL-052) Yeast 9 –

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 13 lbs 2.0 oz
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Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 16.40 qt of water at 161.4 F 150.0 F 60 min

I’ll update this post as the beer progresses!

Update 04/22/15:  The beer was transferred to a keg tonight!  It feels great to finally be able to type those words.  The beer was dry hopped in the keg.  I tied two hop bags with 2 oz hops each with some unwaxed dental floss to the handles of the keg.  The floss is thin enough that it doesn’t mess up the airtight seal.  The hops will sit in there for 4 days, then I’ll pull them out and force carb.  In less then a week I should be sampling my first kegged homebrew!

The first pour from the kegerator!

The first pour from the kegerator!

Tasting Notes 05/05/15:  Hell yes.  What a difference kegging makes in mouthfeel, aroma, and hop flavor.

Appearance:  Attack and Release pours a cloudy, slightly orange hued golden color.  The beer has the typical appearance of the Northeast style IPA I based the beer on.  The beer pours with a creamy, one finger sized head that lingers.

Smell:  Really nice aroma on this beer.  Very hop forward with lots of fruity hop flavors such as citrus, peach, berry, and mango.  The citrus in this is more orange than grapefruit.  I love the peachy aroma that the esters from Conan yeast provide.

Taste:   Low bitterness, but good hop flavor.  The flavor has developed and improved for the couple weeks its been in the keg, but I do think the cool hop stand failed to extract all the flavors from the late hops.  I also wish I bumped the hop bill up a bit.  The flavor is still good though.  Lots of citrus, a bit of pineapple, some berry, and a bit of mango.  The malt base has a nice bready quality, but the malt in this one is pretty subtle.

Mouthfeel:  This is one of the biggest improvements that kegging brought.  The creamy texture of this beer is exactly what I wanted.  Tons of lacing on the glass.  Medium carbonation.  The beer still finishes dry enough to make it very drinkable.

Overall:  I’m pretty satisfied with this one.  I wanted to do a keg test run before doing a batch like White Death where I throw a wall of hops at it and this beer was great for that.  Like I said above, I think I missed out on some flavor in the hop stand, and I think the overall hop bill needs to be bumped up.  Next time I’ll move the late hops to five minutes, and double their amount.  I’ll bump up the hop stand too.  I’m happy with the flavors from this simple hop combo, and I’ll definitely brew this one again!

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

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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

Ingredients:
————
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
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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%