Beer 36 (last one): Soo Good Maharaja IPA Clone

After drinking this last night, fresh from the keg, I came to realize two things. First, I love Simcoe hops, especially dry hopped, especially a lot of them. Second, there are some beers that are so good, we feel the urge to share with others. This is one of those beers. I love it. Whether it’s the recipe, the Victory malt, the dark crystal malt, the loads of Simcoe and ridiculous amount of hops in general, or the interesting herbal Chinook hops, or the fact that I forget to fine it, the attention to pH, or all of the above? – it’s a keeper.

Immediately you get a huge hop aroma, and I mean yuge: citrus, fruity, pungent, floral. I really think Simcoe dominates the aroma. Some people describe Simcoe hops as “dank” or “catty”. I have no fucking clue what that means. Seriously…catty? Who was the first idiot to drink an IPA and say “I’m getting a bit of cattiness from these hops.” And what did the other person say? They probably nodded their heads in agreement, like the group-think-sheep we are.

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The first drink is smooth. The hops are delicious, the Chinook gives a unique quality, the malt gives a nice backbone. Perhaps I would change the yeast to “London III,” as the Avery website suggests.

Maharaja Clone (6 gal.)
16 lb 2-row
1 lb Sugar (added to boil)
9 oz Victory malt
9 oz C-120
—-mashed at 148 for 30 minutes—
1 teaspoon of acid added to mash for pH
2 oz Columbus FW (30 minute boil)
2 oz Simcoe FO
2 oz Centenial FO
4.5 oz Simcoe DH 3 days
2 oz Centenial DH
2 oz Chinook DH
US 05 yeast

peace

-matt

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Beer 30: 7 Day Double IPA

This is why people keg. Eight days ago I brewed this Double IPA, and today I will be trying it for the first time. That’s 8 days from ‘grain to glass,’ as they say. Admittedly, I rushed the beer for hunting camp, and normally would give it a few more days to sit at  70F, but I’m pretty sure it’s good to go. Day 1: brew the beer in under two hours. Day 2: notice fermentation. Days 3 and 4: heavy fermentation. Day 5: hydrometer says 1.010, it’s either done or pretty darn close. Day 6: drop the temperature to 31F (cold crash). Day 7: transfer beer to keg, add gelatin to keg, and set the pressure to 50 psi for 10 hours (this was a 6 gallon batch). Day 8, today: drink. Is it carbonated? One way to find out. It’s 6:00am right now, time to take a sample:

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The first thing I notice is haze, a product of rushing it, which I noticed while transferring the beer to the keg. I prefer crystal clear beer but this is acceptable, and it will probably clear itself out more, as the gelatin works its magic. Secondly, I notice a strong hop flavor. This is a a nice little IPA. Third, is it carbonated? Not sure. The head is nice, but I don’t see bubbles coming from the bottom of the glass. I’m very new to kegging so I don’t really know. I think it’s very close.

Looking at the hop profile, I’m very excited to drink this beer. On paper it’s awesome. On paper it should have a big aroma too.

update: Hunting camp is over. And while I didn’t shoot any deer, I had plenty of this absolutely delicious IPA. The keg was gone in two days. This is the best IPA I’ve ever made. Impressive and intense tropical aroma, nice malt balance, hidden alcohol. And it was “juicey,”as they say, perhaps because of the magical thing that happens when you dry hop during fermentation. After traveling with the keg, it took about 24 hours for the beer to clear up.

Damn this was good.

Hunting Camp IPA (6 gal)
Brewed Friday, Nov. 4th

5.5 lb 2-row
6.5 lb Maris Otter
3.5 lb Munich
1 lb Cane Sugar (added end of boil)
————–
1 oz Magnum (FW, 30 m. boil)
1 oz Centenial (F0)
1 oz Amarillo (FO)
2 oz Equinox (DH, 3 days)
1 oz Citra (DH)
1 oz Centenial (DH)
2 oz Simcoe (DH)
1 oz Amarillo (DH)
—————-
US-05 dry yeast

1 tsp Calcium Cloride, 2 tsp Gypsum (heaping, added to mash water)
mashed @ 149 for 30 minutes, boiled 30 minutes

Beer 27: DIPA with a lasting aroma

Aroma is the Big Foot of brewing: hard to find. And when you find it, it’s gone fast.  It’s no surprise that the best IPAs have the best aromas, and the flavors follow the aroma. I had a Pliny the Elder last night, for example, and the aroma was intense, followed by an intense, citrusy flavor.

In terms of aroma, this Double IPA rocks. It’s got a nice, strong, grapefruit nose, thanks to the 7 ounces of citrisy hops added with the Shark Tank (patent pending, not really…my thoughts here):

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Was the Shark Tank the reason for the aroma? Probably not. The amount of dry hopping? Maybe so. Was it because I used gypsum and calcium in my water? Maybe so (who knows? I’m pretty much guessing when it comes to water chemistry). Was it because I kegged this IPA for the first time in my brewing career? Probably. My new brew friend allowed me to use one of his kegs. Kegging has been touted as being essential for a great, fresh IPA. That makes sense. With kegging you (a) purge oxygen from the headspace, making the hops fresher longer and (b) get to drink it faster and fresher. Three weeks later, the aroma is hanging on.

And the flavor is pretty damn good too. This is crisp, citrusy, slightly resinous, slighty pine, and enough complex malts to back it up. The alcohol is completely undetected, and the water profile seems crisp and clean. US-05 is a winner in my book; it humbly steps aside and lets the malt and hops shine through – and it requires no starter.

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This is a tasty IPA. That’s my final answer.

This beer, as usual, took 1 hour 30 minutes to make, thanks to the heretical methods that I’ve been employing for a while now: 30 minute mash and boil, no sparge, short chill, and quick transitions due to BIAB and keeping the lid on. That’s pretty impressive if I say so myself.

West Side IPA  5 gal.
10.7 lb 2-row
3.5 lb Munich
.5 lb Caramel Crystal 60
(mashed for 30 minutes at 149F)
—————————
1 oz Magnum FW (30 minute mash)
2 oz Cascade (whole cone) DH (all dry hopped for 3 days)
1 oz Centenial DH
1 oz Simcoe DH (whole cone)
1 oz Mosaic DH
1 oz Citra DH
1 oz Equinox DH
—————————–
US-05
——-
water: added 2 teaspoons Calcium Cloride and 1 teaspoon Gypsum to the mash water
after chilling down to about 120F or so, I placed into my cold fermentation chamber to bring down to pitching temp. A few hours later, before bed, I pitched the beer a little hot – at 82F- just because I don’t give a fuck, and that’s okay. The next morning (Saturday) it was at my target fermentation temp (68F), but no krusen was seen yet.
Sunday morning, 2 days after brewday, a nice krusen, which hung around until Wednesday.
Thursday night, 5 days after brewday, I dry hopped with 7 ounzes of hops in the Shark Tank, pissed off that it floated to the top.
When fermentation was complete, I cold crashed, fined with gelatin, and kegged for the first time.

 

Beer 19: Dry, Crisp, Equinox Double IPA

I had really big expectations for this one. It’s a fine IPA, don’t get me wrong, but my expectations that were not met. With seven ounces of dry hops, all ‘Equinox,’ I was hoping for a huge tangerine hop aroma, which surprisingly doesn’t come through on this beer. Equinox is a new hop variety that is supposed to smell strongly of tangerines (I know because I’ve tried it). This beer is a dry, crisp, clear, simple Double IPA with a slight hop aroma and medium hop flavor. Even though Centenial is barley present in the recipe, I can taste it. But I’m afraid the alcohol masks the hops a little bit. It’s not hot, or warm, but you can tell the ABV is pretty high, which is not surprising if you consider the malt bill is 2-row + sugar (both highly fermentable). I also think that, after crushing finer, my efficiency is much better. My older recipes need to be rethought based on that fact. Before I would get residual sweetness from 2-row + sugar. Not anymore – bone dry. Good to know for next time. I’ll probably add some Munich or Vienna malt to the party next time, to add depth and flavor. It’s also quite bitter, but the aroma and flavor should balance that out. I don’t mind a bitter DIPA. I should also note that I dry hopped with a bag, rather than simply dumping the pellets into the fermenter. Normally I don’t do that. Perhaps that explains the lack of aroma? perhaps not.

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Equinox DIPA
14.5 2-row
1 lb. Cane Sugar (end of boil)
1.8 oz. Centenial and Equinox mixture (FWH, 40 minute boil)
——————-
7 oz. Equinox (DH 3 days)
1 oz. Centenial (DH 3 days)
——————-
US-05 dry yeast

3/14 started with 8 gallons water, mashed at 152F for 40 minutes
after 33 minutes, mash dropped to 147.7F
2 hour brewday total
no chill method, added 1 gallon cold water after boil, put in cold ferm. chamber for 24 hours, pitched yeast
3/17: krusen forming
3/20: hydrometer reading 1.010 dry hopped
3/23: still 1.010, cold crash
3/26: bottled 27 22 oz. bottles

Just for the heck of it, I did a 40 minute mash and boil (instead of 30), but I still managed to have a 2 hour brewday. Gypsum was added to the mash water.

I guess that’s it. Next up: Belgian IPA.

Beer 15: Delicious Double IPA brewed in 1 hour 30 minutes

So I think beer tasting, much like wine tasting, is kind of a farce. According to hop descriptions alone, I should be smelling and tasting all of the following: passionfruit, pine, citrus, earth, floral, tropical, lemon, orange, grapefruit,  melon, lime, gooseberry, and….lychee (what the fuck is that?). Not that I have a golden palate or anything (most people don’t), but if I’m honest, I can pick out citrus and grapefruit (okay maybe pine, but nothing like gin). What I really taste is the American hops associated with American IPAs, which is something you become familiar with after drinking a bunch of American IPAs; they have a particular flavor and aroma. I taste a really good, super smooth, heavily dry hopped Double IPA. The aroma is very nice, and the flavor is nice too. The malt gives it just enough body and foundation and a touch of sweetness so that it’s not watery or thin or too dry. The malt has a backbone and flavor of its own. The San Diego yeast may vary well accentuate the fruity hop flavors. I’ve used San Diego twice, and both times the IPA came out good. This is dangerously drinkable. If I made this again, I might leave out the Honey malt altogether. Update: I think I should have let this beer carbonate a little longer. The carbonation is sufficient, but I’m missing a little bite, which I assume is lack of carbonation. Hopefully the case in my basement will be fully carbed.

Double IPA  5 gal
10 lb 2 Row
1.9 lb Munich malt
.6 lb Honey malt (Gambr.)
.7 lb Cane Sugar (end of boil)
————–
1.5 oz. Warrior (FW, 30 minute boil)
1. oz Simcoe FO (before no chill method)
1 oz Amarillo FO
2. oz Simcoe DH 2 days
1 oz Centenial DH 2 days
1 oz Citra DH 2 days
1 oz Amarillo DH 2 days
—————
San Diego Super Yeast (fresh ‘pure pitch’ packet)

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Yes, 1 hour 30 minutes brewday, for an all grain, full volume, 5 gallon batch – a personal record of mine (that includes cleaning, setting up, everything). The 30 minute mash and boil saves the most time, but I’m getting better at the transitions too (quickly going from mash to boil). I did the lazy, no chill method, and it worked beautifully. After the boil, I added the flame out hops, put the beer in my cold fermentation chamber, and kicked back. Pitched yeast the next day (no starter, no aeration, no agitation of the wort…just pitched). I was worried the beer would be too bitter, actually, because of the Warrior and the flame out hops; after all, with the no chill method they stay hot for a while. Turns out the bitterness is right on. I will probably use 1.5 ounces Warrior in all my IPAs from now on. I will also continue flame out additions, treating them as 10 minute additions or whatever.

 

Bottling Nightmare, Oxidized Beer: Cardboard Double IPA?

So the maiden voyage with my upgraded system went smoothly, very smoothly. This was an all gain, BIAB, no sparge, 5 gallon beer. Smooth. Until bottling day. After dry hopping with over a pound of hops, some whole cones that picked myself, some from a friend, I proceeded to cold crash for a day, then added gelatin. Then, not being excited by the hop character, I added 6 more ounces of hop pellets (I think the harvested hops weren’t dryed correctly). I waited another day and said fuck it: I’m bottling this bitch.

You know where this is going. With all the shit floating everywhere, the bottling spigot got clogged. I couldn’t unclog it. So I frantically got out out my stupid ass “auto-siphon” and cleaned the stupid ass plastic tubes (which were nasty because they are impossible to dry). I tried siphoning to another vessel. After blowing a shit load of oxygen into the beer, the siphon got clogged too, reminding me how much of a piece of shit these things are. I said fuck it. I’m going to just pour the beer into another vessel. So I did (a 7.5 gallon aluminum pot that also has a spigot for bottling..the one I previously used before upgrading).

Splish, splash, splash! Wee!

Then, cold crashed for a few days, making sure all the gunk got below the spigot line. Finally, bottled, for the second time.  At this point, with all the oxygen, I had pretty much given up on this Harvest Double IPA, so my bottling technique was sloppy to say the least. More oxygen. I ended up with 37 beers instead of 50. I thought: hey, at least this will be a good experiment. Will all this oxygen ruin the taste of a DIPA?

To my surprise, no.

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My wife tried the first bottle. She said it was really good. I agreed. I tried a few more. Citrus, topical, hoppy, light, crisp, not too bitter, not too velvety on the tongue, can’t taste the alcohol. I taste a lot of Centenial and Cascade. I’m not going to include the recipe because I don’t know what hops I used or how much (my friend, who gave me the hops, didn’t know what kind….I’m guessing Cascade from the taste).

Oxygen and Bottling
I’m convinced that, if you drink your beer fresh, oxygen is not that big of a deal. Otherwise this would taste bad. In the spirit of science, I would love to keep a few bottles, and see how they taste after a month, or two, or three.

But why the fuck would I do that?

Third Time Using One Pot Brewing: Killer Double IPA

As I’m still waiting for my Belgian Tripel to fully carbonate, I dub this beautiful beer my third experiment in One Pot Brewing. Let’s cut to the chase: this is one of the tastiest beers I’ve ever made. I would choose it over most commercial examples, including Bell’s Hopslam (but probably not the best of all: New Belgian’s Rampant.)

Double IPA   8.4%   $34
11 lb. 2-row
1 lb. Munich
1 lb. Corn Sugar
—–
1 oz. Centenial FWH
2 oz. Centenial FO
2 oz Centential DH 5 days
1 oz whole cone Centential DH 5 days
1 oz Cascade DH 5 days
1 oz whole cone Cascade 5 days
——-
San Diego Super Yeast

For this beer, I was looking for an amped up Two Hearted Ale with a touch of Cascade. A distinct crispness, which might come from the whole cone hops, or the Cascade hops, which complements the carbonic bite and makes it refreshing and drinkable. It’s dryer than a lot of commercial DIPAs and oddly drinks like an IPA, with touch of sweetness makes you thirstier. The hops smell a little sweet and pack a big solitary flavor. After making several Centenial-only IPAs, I love the combination of Centenial and Cascade. Cascade seems to lighten it up, make it more crisp and piney, for lack of better terms. As for barley, normally I do straight up 2-row for DIPAs, but the 1 lb. Munich malt addition really adds a malty backbone and give it a little color and body, which I enjoy. It’s not watery. Okay, I’m done: I feel like a fucking idiot writing all that nonsense. I still think words like “piney” and “dank” are very odd and, after drinking a ton of IPAs, I still don’t really understand them to be honest. It’s a good IPA, okay? Trust me.

The clarity is good, but I did notice the bottom of the bottle had a little junk in the trunk (nothing compared to what it used to be like). Probably due to dry hopping with whole cone hops, something I wanted to try – but man it’s a pain in the ass. They float on top of the fermenter, get in the way of the gelatin; but man they taste good.

Carbonation…Wait…Times
Before using gelatin to clear my beer, most of my beers would carbonate in 5 days or so. Gelatin works well to clarify beer, but bottle carbonation is taking much longer than before. Makes sense: there is simply less yeast in the bottle for the sugar to work on. Cold crashing is another factor. I’m bottling cold beer, which takes extra time to warm up. This DIPA, for example, took about 2 weeks to carb, while my Belgian Tripel is taking at least a month. Temperature fluctuations also might be a factor. If I had a temperature controlled chamber, I wonder if carbing would take less time? hmmm…we shall see.