Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Adventures in Homebrewing-The Belgian IPA! (Ready to Drink)

***(See Update at the Bottom)***

Last weekend, I brewed up a batch of beer with my father in law (official title: "Assistant Brewmaster").

Here's our recipe:

Malt & Fermentables
10 lbs Rahr Two-Row
12 oz. Belgian Caramel Pils
4 oz. Briess Caramel 120L

.75 oz Chinook Pellets 60 mins
.5 oz  Chinook Pellets 10 mins
.25 oz Falconer's Flight Pellets 10 mins
.25 oz Falconer's Flight Pellets 5 mins
.25 oz  Chinook Pellets 1 min
.25 oz Falconer's Flight Pellet 1 min
A Tiny Amount of Coriander and Grains of Paradise Thrown in Last Minute of Boil

Dry Hop
.5 oz  Chinook Pellets
.5 oz Falconer's Flight Pellets

Total Bitterness 52.6 IBU

Wyeast French Saison (3711)

Alcohol Content
6.0% ABV

Here are some pics from the brew day:

                              Heated 13.75 quarts of water to 165 degrees for the mash

                                         Getting the grains ready to put in the mash tun

                  Transferred the water from the pot to the mash tun and mixed in the grain

                      The hops divided up by when they will be added to the boiling wort

                                           We used Chinook and Falconer's Flight hops

                                Used a tiny amount of coriander and grains of paradise

While the grain was mashing for an hour at about 150 degrees, we heated up 22 quarts of water to 175 degrees for our sparge.  After the hour of mashing was up, we added the sparge water to our sparge tank and started the run off.   We ended up collecting about 6.33 gallons of wort for our boil.

The mash tun and sparge set up on my screened in patio. 

We collected 6.33 gallons of wort and started the boil and added hops according to our recipe

    Added Irish Moss with 15 minutes left in the boil.  This helps produce a clearer beer

                                               Close up shot of some hops we used

After an hour boil, we used a wort chiller to chill the wort down to 80 degrees

        After putting the chilled wort in our fermenter, we added our French Saison Yeast

                  Original Gravity was supposed to be 1.050, we got 1.054.  Nice and efficient!

                    Brew day is done.  The reward is a glass of our previous batch: Saison

The beer started fermenting within 24 hours, and the air lock is still bubbling away 6 days later.  It's starting to slow down though.   The fermentation temp was about 70-72 degrees the first few days, and I let it slowly creep up to mid 70's.  I will wait another week or so and then transfer the beer off the trub, and into the secondary fermenter where we will add our dry hops.  Stay tuned for an update on this batch!

I transferred the Belgian IPA to the secondary fermenter on Thursday night.   I added 1/2 oz. each of the Chinook and Falconer's Flight Hops for the Dry Hopping.  I took a gravity reading with the hydrometer and it read 1.004.  This means the alcohol percentage of this beer will be approximately 6.7% ABV.   

Bottling Day was Thursday, September 1st.  We sampled it and tasted really good!  We used all 12 oz. bottles, with the exception of one 22 oz.   We ended up with 40 12 oz beers and 1 22 oz beer.   Gravity still read 1.004, so official ABV is 6.7%.   Here are some pics from bottling day.

***Update*** (9/27/2011)

The Belgian IPA has been in the bottle carbonating for almost a month now and I have been enjoying it over the past week and a half.  It came out pretty good.  I am very happy with it, and think that it will definitely be a recipe that I repeat next year.  The carbonation is good (not overly carbed like some of my homebrews in the past).  The head lingers for the duration and leaves some moderate lacing on the glass.  The taste is pretty good.  It's hoppy, but for a hop head it isn't overly hoppy.  There is a nice malt flavor that balances out the hops pretty well.  The hops are very aromatic and flavorful in this beer.   I am glad I used the Falconer's Flights hops.  They give it a citrusy, grapefruity taste and aroma that I really like.  If you haven't heard of Falconer's Flight hops (they are pretty new type of hop), here's a description from Rebel Brewer:

"An exclusive proprietary hop blend created by Hop Union to honor and support the legacy of Northwest brewing legend, Glen Hay Falconer, who passed in 2002. This novel proprietary pellet blend is comprised of many of the Northwest’s most unique hop varieties and is perfect for any Northwest-style IPA. Each hop has been hand selected for its superior aromatic qualities, imparting distinct tropical, citrus, floral, lemon and grapefruit tones."

If I had to score it, I would give it a B+ for homebrews.  It's not my favorite beer that I've brewed, but it's towards the top.  Stay tuned for a blog on my experience entering my Summer Saison into the Savannah Sud's Homebrewing Competition last month.  



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