Sunday, July 19, 2009

IPA Insanity!

Last year was marked by a distinct lack of hops in a lot of my beers. Partly, it was due to THE GREAT HOP SHORTAGE OF '08 (NO!), but I think it was mostly due to my being a fairly new brewer. I was loathe to make something undrinkable because I just plain hopped the shit out of it.

This year I'm much more comfortable with my hopping rates, pairings, and also with how I'm using the malts to balance that. My first IPA this year was absolutely fantastic. I've given a few out to taste, and it's gotten some pretty rave reviews. Of all my beers, I would feel comfortable putting that one on a shelf in a store right now.


Maris Otter- 9 lbs
Crystal 90- .125 lbs
Brown Malt- .125 lbs
Flaked Barley- 8 ounces

Willammette- .5 oz- First Wort Hopped
Willammette- 1 oz- 60 minutes
Vanguard- 1.5 oz- 15 minutes
Vanguard- 1.5 oz- 5 minutes
Vanguard- 1 oz- Dry Hopped

151/165- hot water infusions

Wyeast 1968 London ESB- yeast cake from the Come Hell or High Water Ale

Gravity- Target/Actual-/Final/ABV

The grain bill in this one turned into another attempt to use up what specialty malts I had. I forgot to get some Crystal 60, and I used up all my Crystal 90, which turned out to be less than half of what I had planned on using. So, I pressed the Brown Malt into service. Roasty flavors in IPA's are not completely out of place, but I went with a really light hand on it. Maris Otter: what can I say? I would use it in every ale if I could. While my first IPA this year was a high alpha acid brew, this one used some pretty low versions, but with a very respectable 42ish IBU's. I'm hoping for more of a spicy hoppiness in this one, where the first one was more fruity. The London ESB yeast fermented last week's batch super quick, and the Chinook hops were right up front in that one, so I think this one will be really good.

I'm really hoping to get in a couple of Saison's before the weather turns cooler, although it hasn't been real hot in Chicago this summer. But I'm torn between that and maybe getting in one more fun late summer ale on this yeast cake before I do some darker ales in September and October. We will see.

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