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.

 

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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!

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
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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:
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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
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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!