Saturday, February 16, 2013

Tasting: Big Aroma IPA

For once I am more than pleased with an IPA that I've brewing. It's still a bit cloudy, but that is expected. It's only been conditioning for 6 days and if I can hold myself back from enjoying too many then it be a will a treat to have on tap for a few weeks. My efficiency was way down on this beer. Maybe it was all the hop additions, maybe it was the cold temperature outside. I didn't take a preboil gravity reading. Efficiency doesn't always matter a whole lot, but I did use more Specialty Grains that I would normally want to use with this. I aimed for higher alcohol, but it finished out below 1.010 and the dry finish is what I truly aimed for. 

It's got a beautiful orange hue and head that lasts halfway through. The Munich, Crystal 40 and Carapils didn't add much color, but with it was a very vigorous 75 minute boil. 

It smells very piney, and dank. There is a fair amount of Simcoe and Columbus in this beer. It is a nice punch in the nose, but hops are all that you pick up on.

As for the rest of the beer. It is right to my liking for this style. It has a bit of a Firestone Walker Union Jack maltiness to it, but less sweet. The Cali Ale yeast and the dextrose addition dry it out nicely and let the hops shine through. There is a fair amount of body perceved as well.  The cabonation level is just right. It is West Coasty to say the least.

Big Aroma IPA
OG: 1.062
FG: 1.008
75 Min Boil

Great Western 2 Row, Munich, C40, Carapils, Dextrose
Columbus, Simoce, Centennial, Cascade, Amarillo Hops
WLP 001: Cali Ale Yeast

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Brewing: Big Aroma IPA

Brewing an IPA when it is snowing outside, and you are brewing outside is not on my repeat list. I have wanted to brew an IPA for months now. I have collaborated on few and they came out beautfully. I brewed an Oat IPA back in the Fall, but I keg hopped and forced carbed a few bottles so that it would be drank quick and fresh. I've been out of that beer since the month I kegged it. I've also been reading the IPA book by Mitch Steele since the holidays and it is very inspiring to say the least. My IPAs are one of the brew styles that I feel I can do better on each time. So research was what I let my eyeballs devour over the past few weeks. I went after this brew session with some tips by Nathan Smith. I like his agressiveness with hopping and his malt bill overall. I am also a big fan of drying out all my beers the best I can.

Excessive hopbursting seems to be the technique that I have found myself using with the past three or four IPAs that I made. After many stuck runoffs into the fermenter I shied away a bit. I don't know why. I've been using a hop spider for any hopping over 6 ounces. I found it a bit annoying when adding late hops as my immersion chiller was in the way. As for dry hopping, I obviously shy away from heavy amounts also. Keg hopping I am all for though. So I went at this beer with the 7, 7, 7 method that Nathan has used. 7 Days in the Primary, dry hop in the primary for 7 days as soon as fermentation slows down, and then again at the 14th day. Keg on 21 day and let it settle out. All this in the primary was an interesting approach. I wasn't sure about that 14th day hopping in the primary again, so here is where I racked. I may have done this whole thing wrong. The gravity was at 1.008. That is pretty much where I wanted it at. I pitched at 62 and ramped up to around 64 for dry hopping. At 12 days in I brought it up to about 66-67 will leave it there until day 20 or so and bring it back down to get in the keg.

The Aroma was beautiful when racking off. 11ozs of hops total until I keg and I am pretty sure I will keg hop with 1-2oz as well of Amarillo. This was a pretty standard IPA (2 row, C40, Carapils, Munich, Columbus, Centennial, Amarillo, Simcoe, Cascade, and Cal Ale yeast. I am looking forward to enjoying this by months end.