Sunday, February 24, 2019

Hoppily Ever After 2.0

Back in late December, I made the first version of a beer intended to be handed out as a favor to guests at my step-son's wedding. That beer was loosely based on a New England IPA recipe I'd found, but the hops were all swapped out for those with a decidedly citrus flavor. The resulting beer turned out more like a traditional American IPA than a New England style IPA (NEIPA).

The American Homebrewers Association posted a recipe for WeldWerks Brewing's Juicy Bits NEIPA that sounded much more like what I was looking for. WeldWerks uses a blend of Citra, El Dorado, and Mosaic hops. With Mosaic often used interchangeably with Citra, I decided to remove Mosaic from the equation to keep things simpler. I also decided to drop El Dorado during the boil and go with an El Dorado hop extract in the dry hop phase.  Why only use Citra? Aside from the simplicity of eliminating one hop from the ingredient list, Kegerator.com describes Citra as "The Most Citrusy Aroma Hop in the World of Beer" and my step-son and his fiancee wanted a very citrus-forward beer. I won't use Citra for bittering since it's described as having a harsh bitterness, and I wanted something a bit smoother.

Ingredients

2.5 pounds (40 ounces) of Pilsner Malt
2.5 pounds (40 ounces) of Pale Malt
8 ounces of Carapils/Dextrine Malt
6 ounces of Flaked Wheat
6 ounces of Flaked Oats
6 ounces of Wheat Malt
3 ounces of Corn Sugar
6 handfuls of Rice Hulls to help ensure wort flow through the grain bed
0.15 ounces of Magnum @ 12.3% AA FWH
0.35 ounces of Citra @ 13% AA at 10 min.
0.65 ounces of Citra @ 13% AA at 5 min.
1.05 ounces of Citra @ 13% AA at whirlpool/flameout
1 ounce of Citra as a dry hop (4 days) near the end of primary fermentation
1 ounce of El Dorado hop extract at the end of primary fermentation
2/3 of a 1-Liter starter of Wyeast 1318 London Ale III
1/4 tsp. Yeast Nutrient at 10 min.
1/8 tsp. Brewtan B in the mash water
1/4 tsp. Brewtan B in the boil (10 min.)
2.9 gallons of Mash Water
1.8 gallons of Sparge Water

According to BeerSmith 3.0, the beer should have the following characteristics:
  • BJCP 2015 Style: 21.B Specialty IPA
  • Batch Size: 2.5 gallons (3.8 gallons actual)
  • Pre-Sparge Gravity: 1.061 SG (actual, measured by refractometer)
  • Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.046 SG or 11.8 Brix (10.2 Brix, 1.040 actual, measured by refractometer)
  • Original Gravity: 1.063 SG estimated (1.051 Sg actual)
  • Final Gravity: 1.013 SG estimated
  • Color: 4.4 SRM
  • IBUs: 44.8
  • ABV: 6.6% estimated
Mash schedule:
  • Mash in at 120F for 15 minutes
  • Mash at 149F for 45 minutes
  • Mash out at 168F for 15 minutes
  • Sparge for 15 minutes at 168F
The boil schedule:
  • 90 minutes: FWH of Magnum
  • 10 minutes: Citra, Yeast Nutrient, Brewtan B
Fermentation plan:
  • Ferment at 67F for 5-7 days until gravity reaches approx. 1.023 SG
  • Dry hop with Citra and El Dorado extract for 4 days
After this, bottle the beer with enough sugar for a medium level of carbonation.

Post-Brew Notes and Observations

02/24/2019:  Late in the main (149F) mash step, before the sparge began, I measured the pH at 5.6 and the gravity at 14.5 Brix on my refractometer, which is roughly 1.061 SG. The pre-boil gravity measured 1.042 SG, at which time the first wort hops were added in a fine mesh hop spider. While 1.042 SG was lower than my expected pre-boil gravity of 1.046 SG, I opened the lid of the Brewie+ to ensure that we got a bit more boil-off than usual. Hopefully that would get me to the desired final gravity.

When we got near the end of the boil, the gravity of the wort measured much lower than the 1.061 SG I had planned for.  I added 7 ounces of Brewers Crystals to get the gravity up to 1.051 SG. Volume in the fermenter turned out to be 3.8 gallons at 1.051 SG. This is about 1.3 gallons more than anticipated and about 10 points low in gravity. Given the design of the Brewie+, it's not possible to go back and boil off the excess wort, so I had to live with the lower gravity.

I took 3 Liters of the "over-brew" and poured it into a large 5L Erlenmeyer flask. Two-thirds of the 1 Liter yeast starter I made yesterday was pitched into the fermenter (which contained just over 3 gallons of wort) and the remaining third into the flask. The flask was placed on a stir plate with a large stir bar. It will become a large starter for my next batch using this yeast.

02/25/2019: Gravity in the 3L "starter batch" is down to 1.017 SG, which represents 66% attenuation and 4.46% ABV.  It has only a few more points to go before it can be considered to have reached final gravity.  Gravity in the 3-gallon "main batch" is down to 1.036 SG, which represents 27.45% attenuation and 1.84% ABV.

03/01/2019: A half-ounce of Citra pellet hops was added to dry-hop the beer before bottling. It has a very cloudy orange-juice-like appearance to it, with a very citrusy flavor from the Citra hops. I plan to add some El Dorado extract for complexity prior to bottling.

03/03/2019: Gravity is now reading 1.004 SG and temperature is reading 1.003 SG in the main batch. It's interesting to note that in the smaller stir-plate batch, the gravity is reading 1.010 SG and has held there for a while. It's as though there's something different going on in the larger batch (which does still seem to have a krausen on top of it).  A taste test from the main batch showed a decidedly citrusy (almost orange-juice-like) flavor.

03/04/2019: 1 ml of El Dorado hop distillate was added to the fermenter and allowed to mingle overnight before bottling.

03/05/2019: Tonight the beer was bottled with 12 small carbonation tablets per bottle (high carbonation) in 22-ounce bombers and placed in a sealed box to carbonate for a week before delivery to the future bride and groom for taste testing.  It should be carbonated nicely by 3/12/2019.

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