After a couple of months away from the brew kettle, I got back to the hobby with a beer that’s perfect for spring in Minnesota (when it eventually comes). I decided on a nice session IPA that was easily drinkable and came with a great hoppy character.
Here are some of the recipe highlights:
Brew day got off to a hectic start. I was trying to squeeze it in on a Sunday afternoon, and wanted to get started so I had plenty of time to finish before it got dark. It was very breezy so I had to set up wind barriers around my burner to protect the flame. What I didn’t account for was how much that wind would affect heating up my water.
Forgetting my high school thermodynamics lessons would come back to bite me when I mashed in. I usually slowly add the grains while stirring to prevent clumps but that slow pace was plenty of time for a cold, stiff breeze to drive off quite a bit of heat by the time I sealed the mash tun. Instead of hitting my intended 153F, I was sitting right around 145.
I quickly commandeered a bit of my strike water and heated it up to boiling to increase my mash temp. Thank goodness for Brewer’s Friend to help with the calculations. I’ll just call this an improvised step mash.
After an hour, I drained the tun. I heated up the sparge water while I was waiting, this time covering my kettle to contain the heat and speed up the process. Once I hit 170F, I added the sparge water into the tun, let it rest for 10 minutes and drained it into the boil kettle.
The wind fought me while heating up the wort as a more intense breeze was slowing down the heating process. I put the lid on to help it get close to boiling temp and then took it off so particles that cause off-flavors would be able to boil off.
Once things got rolling, I added my first addition of Amarillo hops. Then came a long waiting period. I didn’t have much to do until five minutes left in the boil, so I did as much cleaning as I could then to save time later.
With five minutes left I added my Whirlfloc tablet, followed by another ounce of Amarillo with two minutes remaining. At flameout, I tossed in a half ounce of Citra for a bit of variety in the hop character. The rest will be added as a dry hop addition.
I went about the cumbersome process of siphoning the wort into my cube to cool overnight. I will hopefully have a new kettle with a spout for my next brew, or will have to modify my current one.
Tomorrow, I will transfer the beer into the fermenter and add the yeast to start the alcohol creation process. The strain of yeast is known for its ability to enhance the “juicy” and fruity tastes in beer. It’s very popular among New England IPA brewers, so I wonder if it will cause some haze in this batch as well.
I’ll find out in about a month.