Monday, November 22, 2010

Three days of Brewing: Day 1, IPA

It was tough waking up this morning. Days off without schedules are a rarity, but I dragged myself out of bed and got moving. I decided to try something new (to me) that other folks in BFD have recommended, which is to use "Malt Conditioning" (see to try to increase my efficiency.  That took a few minutes to do, but didn't really add any significant time to my brew day, which is nice.  I think it worked, as well, since I got about 80% efficiency in my mash--not bad!

I am sitting here now, several hours later, the boil has just ended, and I'm about to cool the wort down to pitching temp.  So far, everything has gone very smoothly.  Here's how the new setup looks:
From top left to bottom left:  hot liquor tank, new boil kettle, other pot for heating water for mashout.  Toolbox with pump mounted inside, and mash/lauter tun (Rubbermade cooler). 
The design of everything has worked as planned.  In brewing, people dream about having brew sculptures they can use to brew.  People build these sculptures out of metal tubing, or buy ready made ones, often for thousands of dollars.  In truth, they are useful, but you can't use them in a kitchen--and that's where I brew!  My brew sculpture was made by Maytag!  I have no problem making five gallon batches with this setup, and my back is happy about the pump, since I don't have to lift heavy containers of hot (or cold) liquid!  

OK, so about this IPA.  You can sample what I'm aiming for if you go to many liquor stores in the US. Stone IPA is pretty widely available, and is a great example of an American IPA.It should have about 7% alcohol by volume, which is a little higher than your typical macro-brew.  Very hoppy (65 IBUs), light in color, and aromatic from dry hopping, it is a very drinkable beer--if you like IPAs.    I like IPAs!  A lot!  Lately I haven't had enough of them, I think, so this should help.  Here's what it looks like in the pot, cooling:
Copper chiller in the wort.  All the little flecks in the wort are hops or hot break materials (protein).  Those will be left behind in the pot.

And now, in the fermenter:

The recipe was published recently in Brew Your Own magazine, so I decided to give it a shot. Aside from the evaporation rate on my boil being a little high, the only concern I have is that the 2oz of Centennial hops I added with 15 minutes to go are adequately utilized and give a nice piney aroma.  I use a "hop bag" in my boil because I don't have a filter on the bottom of my pot that won't clog if I use pellet hops, which are the most commonly available (they look like rabbit chow).  Pellets are great, but I think I need to make some modifications in my system, specifically doing a whirlpool and adding a counter-flow chiller to let the hops out of the bag.  In time, I'm sure I'll get there.  In the meantime, I'll hope for the best. Or hop for the best!

Tomorrow I'm brewing an Oatmeal Stout--the one I won the competition with. I need to toast some oats today so I will be ready tomorrow for the big brew.  I will also gather my other grains for mashing, so in the morning I can just start crushing and brew sooner. 

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