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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pale Malt (2 Row)
White Wheat Malt
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.