IPA Brew Day – Make IPA Great Again!
It was a dark and stormy brew day.
No, actually, it was cold and cloudy. I was inside though. I started the brew day at 7:30 AM by getting both kettles going with water – the BK had the mash tun heat up water and the HLT had my strike water (which I measured the prior night and filled the HLT to let the chlorine dissipate. I put a lid on the BK and then went upstairs to make breakfast for the family.
I decided that since I now have two medals in styles that I like (but not love), I am going to try to medal in styles that I love – which basically means IPA. Maybe APA. Probably also British Bitter. Possibly dunkelweisen too (we’ll see). This is the first of that – I want to make an IPA that hits all the marks in the right spot. While I have been really enjoying some NEIPAs (specifically those from Listermann Brewing), this one will be clear, bitter, and aromatic. I want only some malt sweetness, and I definitely want it to take a backseat to the hops.
Upon returning to the basement brewery, I pulled the lid giving myself a nice steam burn on my left arm. I realized the element was at the max despite being set to ‘5’. I think the SSR is melted. I pulled the plug on the BK and drained the water into the mash tun to preheat while I added 5 ml of acid to the HLT for the mash water. Once the mash tun was mostly empty, I dumped the rest and dumped the grain into it. I shut the element off on the HLT and doughed in, hitting a mash temp of 154ºF, which only dropped to 152ºF over the hour rest. Mash pH was good, at about 5.3. After the hour, I recirculated and lautered for more sweet wort than I’ve ever received for first runnings – it was around 3.1 gallons, I was shooting for 3.5 gallons. Looks like the union I installed into the mash tun helped! I began the batch sparge and 10 minute rest and then dumped the first runnings into the BK. After the rest, I recirculated and lautered for just under 3.5 gallons for the second runnings and added the second runnings to the first in the boil kettle. I stirred and pulled a sample and then began boil.
And what a boil it was. Since the SSR was melted, it’s like using a propane burner on max. I started with around 6.5 gallons, and my final volume was around 5 before chilling caused me to lose some more (maybe 0.5 gallons, I ended up with 4.5 in the fermenter). When adding my 15 minute hop addition, I rigged the plate chiller and started recirculating boiling wort through it without running anything in the cold side. 15 minutes later, I shut off the element and turned on the cold water to begin chilling. At some point my pump failed, as it wasn’t pumping anything. My response to this was to use gravity to chill to my bottling bucket, and then drain the bottling bucket through the plate chiller and into the fermenter. This worked (I got down to 72ºF or so), but it was a pain and subjected the wort to some oxygen when it is most vulnerable to oxidization.
I pitched the yeast, I decided to use Denny’s Favorite, which appears to be from North Coast Brewing (the people that make Old Rasputin). The Fermentation temperature reached 75ºF around 24 hours post-pitch, and around 40 hours post-pitch was down to 70-72ºF.
Recipe will be shared as soon as I figure out why beerxml isn’t working.
After conversing with some fellow homebrewers on Reddit, I decided to give this a week to 10 days in the fermenter, crash it, rack it to a keg with an added hop sock of the dry hops and slow carbonate it over a week or so.
(this will be updated as necessary)