Tag Archives: Imperial IPA

A Tale of Two IIPAs

We recently decided to attempt what we thought was a simple experiment. We wanted to brew two batches of the exact same beer and then dry hop them with different hops to see how dry-hopping affected the overall aroma and taste and to better understand the aroma characteristics of the hops we were using.

We chose to brew an Imperial IPA for this experiment for a couple of reasons. One, we love big IPAs. Two, the recipe we were using was a partial mash and uses a healthy does of Pale Malt Extract (10lbs in each 5-gallon batch) in it, which we believed would even out some of the potential differences in efficiency from the mashes we would make.

Our brew set up remains very simple and we set to getting both mashes going at the same time. We have two gas burners, kettles, and we used sleeping bags to control the mash temperatures. Nothing fancy and we’ve done it many times before, but not brewing the same beer. We did 60 minutes mashes and 60 minutes boils for each. We used the exact same ingredients. With all these similarities, I expected the results to be about the same.

Batch #1 came out with an original gravity of 1.070. This was much lower than I expected – we were shooting for an OG of 1.10. Hmm.

Batch #2 had an OG of 1.082 – also low, but considerably higher than batch 1. WTF?

So there are two main questions:
Question 1: Why were the original gravities so much lower then our targets?
Question 2:  Why was there such a large discrepancy between the OGs of the two batches when we used the same recipes, brewed them at the same time, etc. Clearly our mash and brew methods are different.

I’m going to tackle question #2 first – the discrepancy between the OG of Batch 1 and the OG of Batch 2.

Brew Kettles: In both cases, we used 6 gallon brew kettles for both the mash and the boil. But there are differences between the kettles. Kettle 1 was stainless steel and short and wide, kettle 2 is aluminum and tall and narrow. As a result, the mashes may have acted differently, even though we tried to keep them at a mash temp of 151 degrees. The difference in kettle shape and material may also have been

Mash and Sparge equipment: We used two pretty significant methods for mashing an sparging. Since we only had one lauter tun, we opted to use a grain  bag for Batch 1 and then sparged the grains by pouring water through the grain bag. For batch 2, we mashed the loose grains in the kettle and then dumped the grains into the lauter tun and sparged from there.

My theory is that the difference in OG between the two batches is a result of inconsistencies between the batches during mashing and sparging, since we added 10 lbs of extract to each kettle later. Equipment clearly matters, and can result in pretty significant results.

Back to question #1 – why was our OG so much lower than our target of 1.100? I think the answer here is simple – we mashed at the incorrect temp. I need to research this more.

And then this happened.

The top blows off the Imperial IPA.

The top blows off the Imperial IPA.

At around 2am on the night we brewed a loud POP! wakes me up. The lid off the bucket blew and painted my ceiling, walls, and kitchen appliances with deliciousness. Idiot. I should have used a blow off tube from the beginning. I’ve made this mistake too many times before. Here’s a quick little video of the yeast doing their thing after I put the tubes in:

Today, one week after brewing, we racked and dry hopped the IPAs. Interestingly, they both have the same gravity at rack – 1.041. This means that Batch 1 is currently at 3.8% ABV and Batch 2 is at 5.4% ABV. Way low for the end of primary fermentation for a beer this big.

Imperial IPAs Dry Hopped with Cascade (left) and Citra (right) Hops

Imperial IPAs Dry Hopped with Cascade (left) and Citra (right) Hops

10 hours later, however, and fermentation has kicked back into gear in the secondary.

Imperial IPA reactivated in the Secondary

Imperial IPA reactivated in the Secondary

Next week, we’ll keg these things. Cannot wait to see how they turn out. Stay tuned.

Cheers,

Steve

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TCB Black Imperial IPA V2

Recipe by: Taft Canyon Brewers

Grains:
3 lbs 2-Row Pale Malt
3 lbs British Crystal Malt
0.75 lbs Midnight Wheat (Briess) (55o Lovibond)

Extract: 10 lbs Pale Malt Extract

Hops:
2 oz Chinook Whole Leaf (60 minutes)
1 oz Centennial Whole Leaf (30 minutes)
1 oz Chinook Whole Leaf (30 Minutes)
1 oz Centennial Whole Leaf (10 minutes)
1 oz Chinook Whole Leaf (10 Minutes)
2 oz Centennial Whole Leaf (0 minutes)
2 oz Cascade Whole Leaf (dry hop – 6 days)


Yeast:
American Ale (Wyeast #1056) – 2 packages

Misc:

Fermentation Temperature: 68 F

Mash Steps:

60 minutes at 145 degrees (16 quarts)
Sparge at 180 degrees (8 quarts)

Notes: 

Original Gravity: 1.092
Rack Gravity: 1.020 (9.6% ABV)
Final Gravity: 1.017
Final ABV: 10%
IBUs: 116

Imperial Black IPA dry hopped with Cascade hops

Two ounces of Cascade hops in the secondary.

Imperial Black IPA - Primary fermenter after 6 days

Lucky we had a blow-off tube in this. This baby was active – took up all the head room.

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TCB Imperial IPA w/ Midnight Wheat

Dry-hopping the Imperial IPA

After a week of fermenting and settling, the IPA got significantly darker. Here, she is freshly dry-hopped.

Recipe by: Taft Canyon Brewers

Grains:
3 lbs 2-Row Pale Malt
3 lbs British Crystal Malt
0.5 lbs Midnight Wheat (Briess) (55o Lovibond)

Extract: 10 lbs Pale Malt Extract

Hops:
2 oz Cascade Pellets (60 minutes)
1 oz Chinook Pellets (40 minutes)
1 oz Chinook Pellets (20 Minutes)
2 oz Chinook Pellets (10 minutes)
2 oz Cascade Pellets (0 minutes)
1.25 oz Simcoe Whole Leaf (dry hop)

Yeast:
American Ale (Wyeast #1056) and Safele 05 Ale Yeast

Misc:

Fermentation Temperature: 68 F

Mash Steps:

60 minutes at 158 degrees (12 quarts)
Sparge at 170 degrees (10 quarts)

Notes: Was hoping to make this a “Black” IPA with the addition of Midnight Wheat. The crew at Hops and Berries said they thought 0.5 lbs would be plenty to give it the black color I was going for. Based on the color of this however, I would have needed much more (or perhaps treated it differently). It’s an odd brown. I plugged all the details into BeerSmith and my color seems super light compared to what they estimate it should be, too. We’ll have to see what this looks like after primary fermentation and all those hops settle. My priginal gravity was also light (should have been more like 1.100). I suspect that my mistake was using grain bags to hold the grains (laziness), preventing the dark colors of the Midnight week to full penetrate the mash. Won’t take this shortcut next time…idiot. – Steve

Brew History:

January 20, 2013

Original Gravity: 1.071
Potential ABV: 9%
Final Gravity: 1.041
Final ABV: 7.5%

Black Imperial IPA

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TCB IPA – Version 2

Recipe by: Taft Canyon Brewers

Grains:
3 lbs 2-Row Pale Malt
3 lbs British Crystal Malt

Extract: 10 lbs Pale Malt Extract

Hops:
2 oz Cascade Whole Leaf (60 minutes)
1 oz Magnum hops pellets (40 minutes)
1 oz Chinook Organic Whole Leaf (40 minutes)
1 oz Chinook Organic Whole Leaf (20 Minutes)
1 oz Chinook Organic Whole Leaf (10 minutes)
1 oz Cascade Whole Leaf (0 minutes)
2 oz Cascade Whole Leaf (dry hop for 8 days)

Yeast:
American Ale (Wyeast #1056)

Misc: 1/4 tsp Irish Moss (10 minutes)

Fermentation Temperature: 70 F

Mash Steps:

45 minutes at 158 degrees (9 quarts)
Sparge at 170 degrees (11 quarts)

Notes:

Brew History:

Changes from previous brew are in italics.

November 25, 2012 by Keith and Steve
Original Gravity: 1.090
Potential ABV: 11.75%
Final Gravity: TBD
Final ABV: TBD

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Night-brewing IPA, lessons learned in the pursuit of hoppiness.

Keith and SumoCitrus2 IPA Ingredients

Keith’s head fiendishly inspects the ingredients for SumoCitrus2 IPA

Why say no, when it feels so good to say yes? Less than 24 hours after bottling our first two batches of beer, the Sirens posing as empty carboys were calling our names.  So we did what any self-respecting person would do – we brewed more beer. This time we decided to try our hand at an IPA – a recipe called SumoCitrus 2 our friend Jereme concocted and which I had the opportunity to taste a week ago at his house.

Night-brewing on the deck. We almost decided to name this beer, “The Mothman Cometh”

Our first batch of beer had 1 oz of hops. Our second batch of beer had 2 oz of hops. This puppy calls for 8 – EIGHT! – ounces of hops. We measured them out in bowls on the counter and quickly found ourselves engulfed in hop aroma. It was glorious.

A crap-ton of hops yearning to be added to boiling Wort.

A crap-ton of Magnum and Cascade hops yearning to be added to boiling Wort.

We had our first major boil-over when we first added the hops to the wort – learning a valuable lesson about how FAST these things can get out of control. I’m hard-pressed to come up with a more worthy reason for a deck-stain though.

The Wort boileth over

Ye must respect the wort, or it shall runneth over.

Finally, we also learned a valuable lesson in straining into the fermenter when you have a wort so full of hops. Our funnel and strainers kept getting clogged.

Hops clog the siphon as we try to get the wort into the fermenter.

Hops clog the siphon as we try to get the wort into the fermenter.

Any advice out there on a better way to get wort out of the kettle when it’s this full of hops is extremely welcome. It took us a long time.

Cheers,

Steve

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SumoCitrus2 IPA

Recipe by: Jereme R

Specialty Grain: 2 lbs 40L Crystal Malt, 2 lbs 2-Row

Extract: 10 lbs Light Malt Extract

Hops:
1 oz Magnum (60 minutes)
1 oz Magnum (50 minutes)
2 oz Cascade (45 minutes)
0.5 oz Magnum (20 minutes)
1 oz Cascade (10 minutes)
1 oz Cascade (5 minutes)
1 oz Cascade (0 minutes)

Yeast: Safale US-05 (dried) – Belgium

Misc: The original version of  this recipe can also be found on the Brewer’s Friend website.

Fermentation Temperature: 68 F

Original Gravity: 1.091

Final Gravity: 1.026

ABV: 8.63%

Notes:  The bung popped out of the fermenter on day 3 – causing a hop-lava flow. Cleaned the fermentation lock and re-inserted.  When we bottled the beer, it tasted great, but we did not re-rack or dry-hop it.

Brewed September 9, 2012, Bottled on: September 28, 2012

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