Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hella! IPA

Brew Day 9/22/12

This was the first of two beers I brewed at the new HomeBrewery inSonora, and besides one terrible scare with the fermentation chamber it went amazingly smooth. All targets were hit, both recipes were solid, and hopefully both beers will be winners.

H!PA: I know I’ve mentioned my affinity for IPAs before. Ridiculously, out of the 9 beers I have planned for the next several months, 6 are IPAs…. All with a different “concept.” The theme for this recipe is for it to be an extra-gnar-super-duper special delivery of a forest of hops. Not looking for balance, not looking for excitement, not looking for size; just want an extra pale and piney, mean, green, lean, and stinky hop rocket. West Coast IPA from the hills; Hella! Pale Ale. Pine sap, citrus peel, earthy spice, and maybe some distant tropical tingles are my targets in that order with the hopping on this one! OOooooooooooohhhhhhhh boy!

I also am also looking for a clearer and paler beer than I have been making lately. No caramel malts and a flocculent English yeast should keep it nice and clean while the Golden Promise as the base should keep it interesting enough in the background to support all of the hops—really I just haven’t been satisfied with my previous IPAs in the bitterness dept, “too much balance” has left me wanting more bite—so I went the distance and opted for what is essentially a base only bill (just some carafoam for “the chewy” and sugar to help it finish nice and low) and with 89-135 IBUs depending on the calculator it should be up around 2x the bitterness of YPA.

What else… Magnum as the bittering charge ‘cuz that is how Sierra does it…. A 2:1 ratio of Simcoe to Chinook kettle additions ‘cuz Simcoe’s resinous pine and orange brightness should be even better with a touch of the Chinook’s, woody, earthy, spicy darkness to anchor it…. 3 oz additions at 15min and “whirlpool” to ensure the flavor and aroma get the full spectrum of citrusy sweet to pine sap nuances from the hops… a single oz Citra at 5min to hopefully extract it’s great tropical and black pepper notes but boil off the more subtle and delicate floral tones (pine and floral perfume are two of my favorite hop profiles in IPAs, but they don’t belong in the same beer IMO)… a big dry hop dose of Simcoe and Chinook to keep it super “foresty”… and relatively low fermentation temp to leave the yeast out of the way. **We’ll see how the Nottingham Dry yeast does, and if I can actually use Citra for it’s citrus and tropical fruit flavors without being as perfumy as it was in the flame out and dry hop additions in La Rouge, Sunny Side, and Swamp Thing.**

The Recipe (for 4.5 gal after boil, 4 into fermenter thanks to hop bag absorption):

.5 lb Hops in the Boil!
10 lbs Golden Promise-69%
3 lbs Rahr 2-Row-20%
1 lbs Carafoam-7%
.5 lbs Table Sugar- 4%

1 oz Magnum @ FWH
1 oz Chinook @ 15min
2 oz Simcoe @ 15min
1oz Citra @ 5min
1oz Chinook Flame Out @ 160
2oz Simcoe Flame Out @ 160
1oz Chinook Dry Hop after 2 weeks in primary (DH total of 10 days)
4oz Simcoe Dry Hop after 2 weeks in primary (DH total of 10 days)

Pitched 1 Packet Danstar Nottingham Dry yeast @ 75F with .5 tab Servomicies. Quickly dropped to ferment at 66F for 5 days and then up to 75 to clean up. **Would have loved to pitch at 65F, but the fridge was being kooky**

Used Sonora Tap H2O with 1.5 g/gal gypsum for pale/hoppy water profile.

Mashed at 145F for 30min, then 152F for 30 min. Mash Out at 168F for 10 min.
Batch Sparge
70min boil.

Collected 4 gal after boil and hop trub removal. **under shot boil off rates, and therefor overshot targeted OG. Should have been 4.5 into fermenter at 1.066, instead got 4 gal at 1.070**

OG: 1.070= 63% efficiency
FG: 1.012= 7.6% ABV
Calculated SRM: 6
Calculated IBU: Garetz 88, Tinseth 135

9/23- Down to 66F after cooling overningt, foamy activity!

9/27- called Annette to turn chamber up to 75F.

9/13- Kel added 1oz gelatin.

9/14- BOTTLING NIGHTMARE! The damn whole leaf hops that I used in the dry hopping soaked up around a half gallon. Seriously. Then they clogged the damn spiggot so badly that I had to stick my ARM in the bucket to plunge the opening, only after blowing bubbles through the nozzle and failing to dislodge the clog that way. Also, I'm an idiot and calculated the carbing sugar for 4 gal BEFORE transfering the beer to a bottling bucket, only to find out that thanks to the long list of mis-haps there was only 3 gal to bottle.

Over carbed by 1.0 VOLs CO2? Check.
Exposed to major risk of infection? Check.
Oxidized beyond recognition? Probably.

Hopefully the yeast is clean enough to survive a short bottle condidioning period and go straight into the fridge to stop the carbonation from going too high. As far as the oxidation goes? All there is to do is keep my finger crossed that this beer will just be too hopy to detect any off-flavors.

11/22/12- After a few ins-and-outs of the fridge due to paranoia about over-carbonation, it has finally hit the sweet spot... However the hops have already faded a bit from where they were in thier glory at 2 weeks. Supurb IPA if you ask me! Luckily all the mishaps didn't detract from the final product too much. It's a heady brew, brimming with pine, pineapple, and some earthy spice. Will brew again!


  1. Very nice recipe! I think I'll put a link to your blog from mine. Cheers!


  2. Hey thanks Al--

    Send a link and I'll reciprocate.