Saturday, March 31, 2012

Overdue Update and India Pilsner Ale Brewday...

I know... I know... it's been forever since I posted... sry.

Just to bring you up to date:

Black Fri.P.A. posted here and here... is still on tap...

Things I learned about black IPAs:

1. If I brew this in the future, more hops... especially aroma and dryhop... this came out more like a hoppy porter than anything IPA-ish.

2. Black IPA is kind of a novelty style... and ten gallons of black IPA is a lot. I get tired of the style quickly... If not for all the commercial bottles and wine I've been drinking to change things up, I might have ended up dumping or pulling the second keg out of the kegerator and sticking it in the corner for a few months... hence the reason that it's still on tap almost 3 months later.

California Common (aka Steam beer) posted here... is kegged and carbonating. To be honest I kinda forgot about this one while it was ferementing at 55 degrees, 8 weeks in primary and it finished at 1.009 from 1.054 which is kinda low for the style, but it was crystal clear and the gravity sample tasted great. I'm currently force carbonating one keg in my kegerator and I primed the other to naturally carbonate at ambient temps...

Cellar Party: A couple weeks ago, myself and a few of my beer geek friends got together and all brought old and/or rare bottles for a tasting party...

Over 150$ worth of beer, oldest bottle was from 2005... Among the beers tasted that night: New England Brewing Co. Imperial Stout Trooper (2011), Deschutes The Abyss (2007), Berkshire Brewing Co. Russian Imperial Stout (2011?), Rodenbach Vintage Oak Aged Ale Barrel No. 230 (2007), Brooklyn Brewery Black Ops (2011), DFH Noble Rot (2011), Coastal Extreme brewing Co. Newport Storm Barleywine (2005), Oskar Blues Ten Fidy (2011?), Laughing Dog Brewery The Dogfather (year?), DFH Olde School (2010), Alchemist Beer Heady Topper (one of the best IIPA's I've ever had...), Sierra Nevada Hoptimum (2012)

Good friends, tons of great beer... a great time was had by all... and I earned like 4 badges on Untappd. Great, great night.

India Pilsner Ale Brewday: About a year ago, at a local brewpub I had this great IPA made with all pilsner malt... it was hazy, super pale, and had a great floral and citrus hop profile. The brewmaster himself was kind enough to share the ingredients and target gravity with me, though he left weights and times up to me to figure out... I brewed a 5 gallon batch of this last year (before I started this blog) and it turned out great, one of my favorite homebrews to date. last Sunday I brewed up a ten gallon batch an it's currently fermenting in my closet at 65 degrees (my basement is still too cold for Ales...)

Here's the recap...

Recipe for 11 gallons:
26lbs German Pilsner Malt (I used Belgian last time but my brewstore was out)

Single infusion mash at 154 degrees (nailed strike temp this time.)

Double batch sparge, actually, doing a kinda combination batch/fly sparge now... my ten gallon igloo cooler won't fit enough water for a single batch sparge, so I dump in sparge water until the cooler is brimming, let sit about ten minutes and start draining... as it drains, i slowly add remaining sparge water to maintain full level... then let drain completely before repeating for second sparge.

90 minute boil (pilsner malt contains a lot of DMS, which will add a buttery creamed corn flavor... so the longer boil makes sure to drive all that out.)

start hop schedule with 60 minutes left in the boil...
60 minutes: 1.5oz Summit hops for bittering
30 minutes: 1oz of Cascade and 1oz of Centennial hops for flavoring
5 minutes: 1oz of Cascade and 1oz of Centennial hops for Aroma
Dryhop: each fermentor for 1 week with 1oz of Cascade and 1oz of Centennial hops for Aroma

I didn't bother with Whirlfloc, with all that Pilsner Malt and no protein rest, there is no way this is going to clear anyway...

US-05 dry yeast... I tend to use clean simple dry yeast for hop and malt centric beers, I save the expensive liquid yeasts for Belgians and Steam Beer where the yeast is a major contributor flavor...

This brewday was a breeze... I'm really getting my ten gallon process down... total zen mode even though life is full of turmoil at the moment. Actually that's what I really love about brewing... aside from having a ready supply of good beer on tap in my own home, it's the actual process that I love. No matter what is going on in my life, no matter what I'm stressing or obsessing about, work... kids... whatever... it all goes away when I'm brewing, it really is like 6-8 hours of meditation for me. I feel physically exhausted (in a good way) and mentally recharged after a quiet brewday.

However, I did hit a few snags... My target gravity was 11 gallons at 1.070 gravity and I usually get 83%  efficiency... I ended up with 12 gallons at 1.054 giving me 71% efficiency... I didn't get the boil off rate I was expecting so it ended up a little watered down, not sure why efficiency was so low (for me... I am aware that this is a perfectly acceptable efficiency for most All Grain brewers) it's nbd... the finished beer will just be lower alcohol, maybe a little less body, and hoppier... but hoppy is good, so...

To finish off... A wise man from my past once told me, "Life happens." Well, I am in the midst of a lot of personal turmoil and change... unfortunately some of those changes may affect the frequency of my brewing... hoping to do my best to brew when I can because brewing soothes my soul. But I will try to keep up on the blog when I can... thinking of doing some reviews of commercial brews... local brewpubs.. stuff like that...

Actually, if any commercial breweries out there would like me to blog reviews of their beers, I would be happy to oblige for a free sample or two... I did this for Bison Brewing Co., posted here... My contact info can be found on my profile... just throwing it out there...

Sorry no lolz... not feeling lolzy... self reflection is where it's at right now. That's it for today... I'll be around... Later.


  1. Hope you get back to brewing soon.. You posts are a reminder of what is so great about this hobby and I always get a laugh while reading and that is healthy right?

    1. Bob, thanks for the kind words... your comment kind of made my day. I haven't even looked at this site in almost a year... Unfort, space and time still aren't allowing me to brew. life's been crazy... I still have all my gear in storage and I'll get back to it someday.