Last weekend I managed to finally squeeze in a brew day… the first one in two months. I decided to rebrew my last IPA attempt, seeing that I got a very positive response from others, and I personally was pretty happy with it as well. One thing that I needed to improve upon was hitting my numbers though. Last time I had aimed for a 7% IPA and got a 6% one. Not a big deal, but as a homebrewer, I want to become more reliable with my outcomes. Getting proper balance for a beer relies upon hitting the numbers closely. Undershoot an IPA’s abv, and it could easily become too bitter.
In the last couple of bathes I’ve adjusted my boil-off rate, and begun using a couple new items: a refractometer and a new ThermoWorks digital thermometer. I also replaced the stainless steel braid that I use in my cooler mash tun to strain the wort.
Last Sunday’s brewday thankfully was fairly uneventful. I only had one “oops” in that I forgot to add the irish moss late in the boil which would assist a bit in clearing the final beer. But that’s minor in my mind. I’m not entering it in competition, so if it’s a bit cloudy, so be it. It won’t effect the flavors. I used 16 pounds of grain in this recipe, and pretty much hit all my numbers.
- Mash temp of 151°F
- pre-boil gravity of 1.060
- starting gravity (post-boil) of 1.066
The low mash temp should help the beer dry out and finish with a relatively low gravity. I should be looking at an ABV of around 7% this time, along with a bitterness of about 75 IBU. I used northern brewer hops for bittering (appears I finally used up all my magnum hops), and Mosaic, Columbus, and Chinook later in the boil (Mosaic and Columbus at 20 min for flavor hops, and all three varieties at 5 min for aroma). I have three ounces of those three hops set aside for dry hopping in the secondary carboy once the majority of the fermentation is complete. It’s been bubbling pretty steadily all week, with about an inch and a half of krausen at the top. Due to the amount of hops in the boil kettle, I didn’t get the full five gallon yield I typically aim for. Likely I will end up with more like four and a half gallons of finished beer… maybe even less as the dry hops will absorb even more liquid.
I chose the Columbus and Chinook to go with the Mosaic hops last time seeing that the one time I went with mostly Mosaic, the beer was dominated by the stonefruit associated with Mosaic. The Columbus and Chinook offer up some resinous, piney flavor and aroma that I find works well when blended with the fruit from Mosaic.
The only difference in the grain bill compared to the previous attempt was that I used a pound of light munich instead of C10 (crystal 10L). This is in addition to the 13 lb of basemalt and pound each of Carpils and Vienna malts.
I’m heading off skiing with friends this weekend, so I likely will just let this sit in the primary fermenter until at least mid-week, giving it a week and a half in the primary. I may let it go as long as two weeks given the high abv though. Then I’ll rack it onto the dryhops in the 5 gallon Better Bottle for roughly one week before kegging. Really looking forward to this one. I may even bottle a gallon or two as I have some friends who would really like a few bottles to save and have here and there.