Saturday, January 12, 2013

Making a hybrid ipa

      Today is incredible it is January 12th and as a native Pennsylvanian im outside making beer, its usually a lot colder at this time of the year. What an awesome way to spend the weekend. Its a little over 50f right now and its the perfect weather for beer making. There is a fog that has been hanging around all morning but as the day wears on the sunlight is slowly creeping in. On to the beer.......I want to thank my family from my wife Katie's side who all helped contribute the new equipment that I used today. It makes making the beer so much easier, and because its a little easier, even more fun. The two new pots and propane burner makes doing the boils faster and these pots will let me do 5 or 10 gallon batches.
I adapted my recipe from a pale ale recipe that I found on the internet that used hops with a much lower Alpha Acid levels. Not really sure what to call this beer yet, but I decided it would be good to balance the floral and bitter flavours of the hops with the steel cut oats they should add a delicious body to this strange ipa hybrid, without contributing too much to the final ABV. I ended up using 1.25oz of Kent Golding hops 7.2%aa and 1 oz. of Simcoe Hops, which have a hearty Alpha level at 13.2%aa. Im very interested to see how the combination of the english with a decidedly american hybrid hop strain. The simcoe hop has become one of my absolute favorite hops it has such an amazing flavor profile. I posted pictures of my kegerator setup, including a picture of a pour of my first draft beer, as well as pictures taken during the various steps of the brew process (from the initial mash step to the boil).

The steel cut oats are in the metal bowl in the bottom left.

Just started the mash

The boil 

     To start (this is after all my equipment was cleaned and sanitized),I mashed the 2lbs vienna malt and 1lb of Crystal 10l malt with the steel cut oats for one hour. Initially heated the 2gallons of water to 160f and then stirred in the grain somewhat more than 4lbs of grain. I pulled that pot out and then began heating up 2 gallons of water for the sparge/lauter step. Since I was doing this outside I would have to switch the mash pot back onto the burner every so often to make sure that the grains stayed around 155f while they were mashing, as long as its between say 145f-160f its fine. This temperature is perfect for getting out the sugars and other flavor contributions from the grain without being so hot that it begins to break down the cell walls of the grain and let out harsh flavors. Generally, when doing a partial mash infusion one only mashes the specialty grains for 30-45mins. But because i was also mashing the Vienna malt I wanted to mash for a full hour to make sure the extra sugar is extracted from the Vienna malt. And I assume that the extra time wont do much to harm the specialty grains. The Sparge/lauter step rinses the sugars of the grains. What I do is place a large stainless mesh colander over the sparge pot and slowly pour the mash through the colander, the colander collects all the grains and then i lift the colander full of grain and place it on top of the now emptied mash pot then i slowly pour the pot of 4 gallons of mash over the grains, rinsing out the remaining sugars. I do this same step again assuring that the grains are fully rinsed, this also ensure that the wort is oxygenated. Oxygen really hurts the flavour of the beer later on but initially the yeast need the oxygen to do their job. I then boil the wort and add in the dried malt extract and add the hops in according to the hop schedule. After the boil is finished, it is important to cool the wort as fast as possible to make sure that not harmful bacteria grows, and when the wort is 70f you can pitch the yeast and let the beer ferment in the primary container for 10-14days. And since I now have a kegging system I add it directly to a clean and sanitized keg and set it up in my kegerator and in a few days i can enjoy the beer. It usually is best to let the beer sit for around 2 weeks in the keg as it allows the beer some more time to be able to although the flavors to meld and mellow. But I have a hard time waiting that long.

Heres the ingredients:

8 lbs. 2-Row Pale Malt 
2 lbs. Vienna Malt 
1 lb. Crystal 10L Malt 
1lb 2oz Steel Cut Oats

Kent Goldings .75oz boil for 60 min. 
Kent Goldings .50oz boil for 30 min. 
Simcoe .5oz.  boil for 15 min. 
Simcoe .5oz boil for 5 min. 

Danstar Nottingham Ale Yeast.