Pints for Prostates

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Session IPA Recipe

The following is the recipe I used for my Session IPA.

Brew Name: Session IPA #1
Brew Date: 2012-10-14
Batch Number: B11

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (gal): 5.5
Total Grain (lbs): 9.30
OG: 1.026 (!!)
Wort Boil Time: 60 min.

4 lbs Maris Otter
4 lbs Canadian 2-Row
1.09 Victory Malt
1 lb Rye Malt
.30 lb CaraPils

.25 oz Columbus @ 60 min
.5 oz Galaxy @ 20 min
1 oz Palisades @ 15 min
.5 oz Columbus @ 10 min
.5 Galaxy @ 5 min
1 oz Galaxy @ 0 min
.25 Columbus @ 0 min

5 ml Lactic Acid
2 grams Epsom Salt
2 grams Calcium Chloride
2 grams Baking Soda
1/2 tab Whirlfloc ?
1/2 tsp yeast nutrient ?

WLP023 Burton Ale
2 liter starter w/ 200g DME

Mash Schedule
Sacch rest 60 min @ 156 F
No Sparge (!!)

- Not sure if I added whirlfoc and yeast nutrient.
- Brew day music: Big Big Train - English Eccentric Part 1, Yes - Drama, Fly From Here
- Critical error of no-sparge caused the beer to be under-attenuated and very bitter. I think the recipe is viable, but full sparges and maximum fermentables are needed.
- See the Session IPA Debacle post.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Session IPA Debacle

India Pale Ale is my favorite style; that’s what I drink the most. I like a beer with lots of citrus and pine resin hop flavor. A beer with 70 IBUs doesn’t daunt me. Understandably, that is the beer style I like to brew the most. A five gallon Cornelius keg of a tasty IPA is sure to be emptied.

The BJCP style guide has an ABV of 5.5 to 7.5% for IPAs. That doesn’t stop people from making more session-able IPAs (or hoppy blond ales) that have less alcohol, but good flavor. Founders All Day IPA is an example of a session ale with 4.7% ABV. Lagunitas DayTime is another, with an ABV of 4.65%.

This fall I brewed a session IPA. Unfortunately, the beer did not come out well. I created the recipe, but I don’t think the recipe is bad. I think the problem derives from one process decision I made that proved to be a critical mistake.

I had read somewhere that one way to bring down the amount of fermentables in the wort (and therefore get lower gravity) is to just take your first runnings and then add water to get to your pre-boil volume, as opposed to couple batch sparges. That sounded easy and it was sure to cut at least a half hour off my brew day. I didn’t realize the house of cards I was playing with.

After the fact, I can see that this chosen method had a few consequences:
  • The straight water that was added did not get treated with the same water additions (Epsom salts, Calcium Chloride, etc.) as the mash water. That means that my water chemistry and ph was off. The yeast probably wasn’t happy about that.
  • Because I only used the first runnings, the gravity was low; lower than the calculations in my BeerSmith software. To make matters worse, I added about a gallon more water than I needed, which made the gravity even lower. The low gravity meant that the yeast did not have as much fermentables to grow on. Again, the yeast was not happy. The carboy had extra yeast residue on the inside walls of the carboy and on the surface of the beer.
  • The hops that I added were based on a recipe with a certain grain bill and gravity. The lower gravity meant that there were too many IBUs (bitterness) for the resulting beer.
The beer ended up cloudy, yeasty, and bitter. Undrinkable. I tried it each week, and it improved slightly, but not good enough.

It’s a bummer that the beer went bad. But, I can say that I learned something from the experience. I might wait for the sting to wear off some before I try to brew that recipe again.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Ezra Saison Results

...I haven't posted in awhile. I've been brewing, but I haven't taken the time to post on this blog. In my defense, it was a busy and eventful autumn for me and my family. In this post and the next I will do a little "catch up" and share what has been happening, brew-wise.
Ezra Saison Color and Clarity
My last post was about the brew day for the Ezra Saison. That was beer #10 (B10) and I brewed it at the end of August (2012-08-27). As for the results, I consider it one of my best beers so far. I did not document any tasting notes, but I can say that it fit the BJCP guidelines for the Saison style. It was perhaps a bit on the hoppy side of the style. I enjoyed drinking the whole five gallons over several weeks.

For me birthday, Kim took me out to a nice restaurant in the area and I ordered a bottle of Ommegang's Farmhouse Saison, Hennepin. I took one taste and said, "wow, my beer tastes like this." Well, my beer wasn't that good, but it was in the ballpark. Validating experience.

As you can see in the photo above, the gelatin fining I added to the keg helped to clarify the beer. The longer the beer sat in the keg, the more clear it got and the better it tasted.

I wish I had bottled a sample of this beer. The beer improved over time. I have since bought some oxygen absorbing bottle caps so that I can bottle a six pack sample of each future brew. I'll be able to open one bottle and decide whether or not to send the beer to a competition.

Plan to post about my Session IPA experience soon.   : )