Friday, May 11, 2012

“Green Eyed" (I)PA

 Brew date: April 26, 2012
First yeast starter!
5 gal.

We begin this batch with my first attempt at a yeast starter the day prior to brewing. I've heard a lot about how much a starter improves the quality of the initial fermentation, and since Kraemer Brew is all about quality (:D) it was really a no-brainer. I read up on the process -- it's quite simple, straight-forward -- but still found this video from Beer Geek Nation a relief, Once I had the process down, I simply used Mr.Malty's yeast calculator,, to give me the precise pitching rate.

Starter Ingredients:
  • 109 g DME (light)
  • 1 L water
  • Wyeast 1099 Whitbread English Ale

Steeping the crystal malt
Add DME to water. Boil 10 min. Chill to 75 'F. Agitate wort to aerate. Pitch yeast. Cover with tinfoil. Agitate intermittently. Keep at room temperature.

With the yeast starter in place, it was time to tackle my planned IPA. The recipe is adapted from John Palmer's "Victory and Chaos India Pale Ale" published in How to Brew, I did my best to maintain the IBU count, OG, and FG.

  • 4.083 kg (~9 lb) Pale Ale Liquid Malt Extract
  • 280 g (~9 ⅞ oz) Crystal Malt 120L
  • 2 oz Galena (A: 13.4%) - 60 min
  • 1 oz UK Kent Golding (A: 5.8%) - 15 min
  • ⅞ oz UK Fuggles (A: 4.2%) - 15 min
  • ¾ oz Cascade (A: 6.4%) - 5 min
  • 1 oz Williamette (A: 5.7%) flowers - dry hop 

Add grain to 2 gal cold water and steep at 150-160 'F for 30 min. Add LME and Galena hops and boil for 60 min. Add UK Kent Golding and UK Fuggles hops with 15 min left. Add Cascade hops with 5 min left. Strain. Chill wort to 120 'F. Add to fermentor with 2 gal cold water. Top off to 5 gal. Pitch yeast starter at 75 'F.
My ghetto, post-strain setup to ensure sanitization


OG: 1.056 (1.053 @ 72 'F)
Color: Sunburn yellowish-orange
Smell: Hop
Taste: Sweet, spicy, citrus

Extremely excited for this batch! The flavors are excellent; I love the fine spicyness that I got from the Kent Golding. The bitterness is strong but balanced.


The entire brewing process continues to become more comfortable with every batch I add under my belt (and probably to my gut). I can actually manage to put on a record and trust that I can flip it and get back without a boil-over. Speaking of which, the soundtrack for this batch consisted of several albums I picked up from Record Store Day. FYI: The new Black Keys album, "El Camino," frickin' rocks. I must have cranked that one at least three times during the day. Sincerest apologies to my neighbors. I suppose that means this batch should have been a "black" IPA, but that's getting too literal even for a guy that has now named more than a few beers after what he's been listening to. Guilty as charged. So instead, I'm simply going to name this one after my wife's beautiful green eyes -- which were sorely missed during brew day. If that's too sappy for you (and it is pretty fucking sappy) you can chalk the name up to the amazing color of the Willamette whole hops which will be used to dry hop this batch; or, barring that, envy (for this this delicious batch).

The main difficulty -- the source of headache and spills alike -- remains the strain and sparge at the end of boiling. My brew pot is only 3 gallons. (I wish I had a 5-7 gal pot.) We have no other vessel that can hold more than 2 gal. This makes it a huge pain in the ass to strain. In short, I am forced to split the wort between two other pots and bring them both back up to a boil to ensure sanitation. As you can see by the picture, this system is more than a little "ghetto."

Overall, the yeast starter seemed to produce a vigorous fermentation, and the batch now sits dry hopping in a secondary fermentor. I'll post another blog entry to cover that experience. I expect to bottle sometime in early June.