Sunday, October 23, 2011

Batch #5 - India Pale Ale (Extract)

Batch number 5 is an India Pale Pale.  It is based on the Brewer's Best IPA kit but with a twist.  Because I like my beer hoppy, I'm going to dry hop this batch.  If this one turns out OK I plan to try going all-grain next batch after I accumulate all the necessary equipment.

Ingredient List:
  • 6.6 lbs. Muntons Light Liquid Malt Extract (LME) - Two 3.3 lb./1.5kg cans
  • 1 lb. Brewer's Best Dry Malt Extract (Spray - Dried Malt) DME
  • 1 lb. Brewer's Best Crushed Caramel Malt Specialty Grain
  • 8 oz. Brewer's Best Crushed Victory Malt Specialty Grain
  • 2 oz. Brewer's Best Cascade Bittering Hops, 6.4% Alpha Acid
  • 1.5 oz. Brewer's Best Columbus Bittering Hops, 13.9% Alpha Acid
  • 1 oz. Brewer's Best Cascade Aroma Hops
  • 1 oz. Hopunion Amarillo Dry Hopping Hops (not included in Brewer's Best kit)
  • Wyeast 1272 American II Yeast (replaced the Nottingham Ale dry yeast that came in kit)
  • 5 oz. Brewer's Best Priming Sugar for bottle conditioning
  • Heat approximately 2.5 gallons of drinking water to a steeping temperature of between 150 - 165 degrees.
  • Pour the Crushed Caramel and Victory Malt Specialty Grains into a steep bag and loosely tie a knot to contain the grains and place in your heated water.
  • Steep for approximately 20 minutes but ensure the temperature does not exceed 170 degrees.
  • Remove the grain bag and allow the water to drain back into the brew kettle.  Do not squeeze excess water back into kettle.
  • Bring your newly created wort to a gentle, rolling boil.  Remove from heat and add all of the fermentables (both the LME and DMW) and stir vigorously to ensure they to not caramelize on the bottom of the brew kettle.
  • After the fermentables are added return to heat and gently stir until wort returns to a boil.
  • Slowly sprinkle both bittering hops into boiling wort and boil for 55 minutes.
  • Add aroma hops and boil for 5 more minutes and terminate boil.
  • Place brew kettle in ice bath to chill as quickly as possible to a temperature of  70 degrees.
  • Strain cooled wort into primary fermentation bucket.
  • Start adding water to bring the Original Gravity to between 1.061 - 1.065.
  • Pitch the yeast and stir well to aerate.
  • Add airtight lid with airlock to begin primary fermentation.
  • Ferment for 3-4 days in primary container.  Actual primary fermentation was 8 days.
  • Take a specific gravity reading and record. OG reading - 1.061
  • Transfer to secondary fermentation and add dry hops.  Omitted dry hops.  SG reading 1.020
  • Allow beer to finish fermenting in secondary fermentation carboy for approximately 2 weeks.
  • After about 2 weeks in secondary fermentation proceed to bottling.
Notes and/or lessons learned:
  • For batch #6 consider upgrading brew kettle to larger model that will allow me to do a "full boil" instead of adding water to the concentrated wort.  For this batch I did an initial 3 gallon boil which is about as much as my present brew kettle can handle.
  • My previous 4 batches have all been drinkable but they have all had that homebrew "twang" to them. In reading some threads on I got the following recommendations:
    • Do full boils whenever possible.
    • If you can't do all-grain then use all DME in your extract brewing instead of LME.
    • Stay away from aluminum brew kettles.
    • Maintain appropriate fermentation temperatures.
    • One suggestion was to use only distilled water.
    • Consider making a yeast starter.
  • The directions called for pitching the yeast AFTER adding the additional water to achieve the desired OG hydrometer reading.  I reversed the order.  Not sure if it matters.
  • Desired Finishing Gravity was not achieved.  Fermentation conditions were acceptable.  My guess is that there simply wasn't enough active yeast cells to do the full job.  Hopefully a yeast starter will do the job next time.
  • Popped open a bottle after 7 days of bottle conditioning and there was little carbonation present.  I thought the batch was a dud but at 14 days the beer was great.  This appears to be a style and/or batch that will do well with increased bottle conditioning.
The Verdict:

  • Damn good - possibly the best batch yet.  No homebrew "twang" present.  Tasty.
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