Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Batch 003: Howl at the Moon

Another brew day come and gone.  This time I had to come up with a recipe using ingredients I had on hand.  I had some US-05 left along with a stash of Columbus, Centennial and Cascade in the freezer.  Those just scream IPA to me, but having just brewed Papa's Pale Ale I wanted to mix it up a little bit.  While unpacking some boxes at the store I noticed a giant box of priming sugar.  Everyone has seen these pre-portioned 5 oz bags of corn sugar to use for bottle conditioning and I laughed thinking to myself "I won't have to use a whole bag of this for a while".  Then an idea, instead of an IPA I can make an imperial IPA and 5 oz of sugar should be just the right addition to dry it out.  Not a Eureka! moment, but I liked the train of thought that brought me to this.  I tossed a handful of midnight wheat in along with the standard pale malt to make it a black IPA because I've had a few black IPA's recently that really hit right with me.  So first round with this recipe, we'll see how it works out.

The beer.  Keeping things simple again I used pale malt for my base with a splash of midnight wheat to give it that awesome black appearance.  The 5oz bag of corn sugar will be thrown in at the end of the boil to boost the gravity, dry out the beer, and make up for lower efficiency in a higher gravity mash.  As for hops, I gave it a healthy shot of Columbus at the beginning of the boil for a nice dank hop bitterness to combat the bit of roast coming off of the wheat.  Once again, I am a huge fan of holding off all late addition to a whirlpool addition and tossed in some more Columbus and a bit of Cascade in for a 30 min whirlpool.  When I rack to secondary it will get another charge of Columbus and Cascade.

The process.  Things seemed to go a bit smoother today than the last couple days with only a slight hiccup that I expected walking in.  I decided to go full BIAB and do a full volume mash with no sparge.  I expect to loose a bit of efficiency, but kept all my calculations the same since I wasn't sure how much I would loose.  To fight against that I also double crushed my grains to get better extraction.  I mashed in a bit hot and tossed in an ice cube to cool it down to my rest temp of 148.  I wanted this to dry this beer out as much as possible so I mashed low to create a more fermentable wort.  Temp held just fine for an hour and I pulled the bag out and let it drain for a few minutes.  I did give it a few presses to squeeze out some more sugars.  (I know, I know, don't squeeze the bag you will extract tannins!  But I wasn't pushing nearly as hard as the bottom of a 15 gallon mash tun is being pushed on by the weight of the grain above it so I think I'm safe.)  I started my boil and the rest went off without a hitch.  I ended up with just over a gallon of wort at the end so I am happy with my boil rate now.  I was about 3 plato short on my gravity, but without the sparge I could see that happening.  Trying to decide if I will stick to the full volume mash or if I will return to sparging next week.  Any ideas from anyone reading would be nice.  While mashing I transferred Papa's Pale Ale (Batch 001 ) to secondary and dry hopped.  I lost a good amount of beer to hop and trub loss.  That was expected though based on the last attempt to brew it.

Everything is bubbling away nicely and now I have to decide what to brew next week.  Decisions, decisions.

Until next week, Cheers.



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