Sunday, July 13, 2014

#25 Session IPA - Brewday

Recipe     -     Brewday     -     Tasting

I bought the yeast for this batch from MoreBeer, and it arrived warm in a cardboard box with no attempt at cooling.  Ideally I would make a starter to make sure the yeast is healthy, but this beer is basically a yeast starter for the next batch.  Also this a GigaYeast "Gold Pitch" meaning double the cell count (200 million) of a standard vial or smackpack, and the recommended pitch for this beer (Mr. Malty) is only 150 million, so we should be ok.

I decided last minute to bump up the mineral additions in this beer.  Usually I brew with pretty soft water, only adding gypsum and calcium chloride to get the calcium up to 50 ppm with an appropriate chloride to sulfate ratio.  My beers have been generally pretty soft though, so after watching this interview with John Kimmich, I figured a bit more bite might be nice in an IPA, plus the extra calcium would help the yeast flocculate quicker; Conan has a reputation for slow flocculation.  I didn't get too aggressive, but we'll see if it's noticeable.  Kimmich also mentions that he prefers a lower mash pH for his IPAs so I'll give that a try, shooting for 5.2 pH with the lactic acid addition instead of 5.4 like I usually do.  Final mineral profile:
65ppm Ca  -  3ppm Mg  -  80 ppm S04  -  50ppm Cl  -  35ppm CO3

Brewday 7/13/14:
Today was pretty miserable.  I tried to brew after our noon softball game, so I got a late start and was more tired than usual.  On top of that I tweaked my knee at the game which kept getting worse as I hobbled around, and by the end of the day I could barely walk (but we won, so it's all good).  It also slowed me down enough that I had trouble staying on pace; I didn't even have enough time to stop and smell the flowers!  (Which as everybody knows is the best part of brewing an IPA.)  Thankfully the beer itself went pretty well according to plan.

I shot for 154F with the mash, but I overestimated the mash tun temperature, so I came in low at 151F and just let it ride.  I listened to an interview with Kai Troester where he explained that a major advantage of a mash out is that it accelerates the a-amylase enzymes to liberate dextrines still locked in the malt's endosperm.  Since I've had low efficiency and a major part of that has been a coarse crush, I decided that adding a mash out to my own mash would be a great way to increase efficiency.  After 55% and 58% efficiency in the patersbier and quadrupel respectively, I figured 65% would be a reasonable increase factoring in the lower gravity.  My efficiency shot all the way to 74%, and I ended up with 8.5 gal of wort instead of the expected 7.6.  I went with a bit more vigorous boil to make sure I could fit the whole thing in the fermenter so the OG ended up 3 pts high at 1.041 (which might push this beer over 4%) but was still right at the limit of 5.5 gal.

Comparing clarity after boiling, fermenting, and dry hopping

30 sec. 02, pitched at 64F, fridge set to 64F.

2.5 Days:  Temp up to 70F.

5 Days:  This beer still looks to be fermenting a bit.  I turned it up to 72F because I need it to finish out so I can harvest the yeast tomorrow!

6 Days:  Well turning up the heat didn't do anything since the heater went out again.  I don't know what's up, must be time to buy a new heater.  I racked it off anyway to harvest the yeast and add dry hops.  The SG was at 1.015 which is definitely higher than I expected, and only 63% apparent attenuation.  Maybe the yeast that's still active will continue to nibble away at the remaining sugars; I definitely sucked up some yeast during the transfer.  The tastes also reflects the low attenuation: the hops are definitely there, even before the dry hops, and the malt flavor is fantastic, but a tad sweet.  Fingers crossed that Conan gets to work.

10 Days:  I want to have this beer this weekend, so I'm going to go ahead and keg it.  The gravity dropped a few more points to 1.011 which is much better.  I'm sure it could have used some more time--12 days grain to glass is ambitious--but I have friends visiting and an empty tap.

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