Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Southron (Nelson-Galaxy APA) -- Brew Day

Seeing as summer is quickly approaching, my brew schedule is trending to more hoppy, satiating beers than the past several brews have been.  I've decided to start from scratch on this recipe, trying to  combine a few base malt ingredients I've used successfully in different IPA/APA beers before along with some hop varieties with which I don't have a ton of experience.

I've loved the effects of Honey Malt as used in Ithaca Flower Power.  It really gives a nice, round, sweet taste to the beer that expertly balances the bitterness of that hop bill.  I've also loved the texture that comes from using a bit of wheat in an APA.  It definitely provides that silky mouthfeel along with helping with head retention.  I've added a touch of Carastan Malt for color and some caramel/toffee taste as well as a pinch of Biscuit Malt because I'm a whore for biscuits.

As for the hop bill, I just pulled this out of my ass.  I've recently picked up a pound of Magnum for stupid cheap and I have been using this exclusively as the bittering charge in almost all of my beers.  For the flavor/aroma hops, I decided on a blend of Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy.  I've used Nelson a bit in the past and I've been really impressed with its "pretty" flavor.  Galaxy I've never used but have heard that it pairs well with Nelson.  Seeing as Nelson is from NZ and Galaxy is Aussie, I've settled on The Southron as the name for this one.

I wanted to get a respectable ABV on this one but I also wanted a beer where I could kill a few of these and not get stupid.  In addition, I really want to try to perfect my hopping technique.  For this beer, I'll be doing the FWH with Magnum to get around a third of my calculated IBUs.  Then I'll do a 5 minute addition of Nelson/Galaxy.  For the flameout/steeping addition, I'm adding half of the hops indicated below at flameout, steeping for 10 minutes, and then adding my immersion chiller.  Over the next 10 minutes of chilling, I'll periodically add the remaining flameout hops.  My intent is to capture a wider range of volatile hop oils than would be otherwise available.

Due to some recent NCAA March Madness winnings, I also recently sprung for a pH meter.  I went with the Hanna Instruments HI98128 pH/Temperature Tester as well as the accompanying cleaning solution, storage solution and two-point calibration solutions.  I found the calibration to be quite easy.  I use Bru'n Water for all of my acid and salt calculations and generally try to shoot for a 5.3-5.4 pH in the spreadsheet.  Before today, however, I hadn't actually had the means to measure my mash pH and I suspect that this has been somewhat of a culprit in the fluctuating efficiencies that I've been experiencing lately.  For this particular beer, Bru'n Water estimated a 5.3 pH after the addition of some gypsum and lactic acid.

When I actually went to go measure the pH of the mash, I took a sample after mashing for 15 minutes and tossed it in the freezer to cool off.  The electrodes in pH meters are prone to degradation if checking pH at mash temps, even if they have ATC.  I pulled the sample out of the freezer, measured a temp of 95f and put the pH meter in the sample...and it came out to 5.55, quite a bit higher than the spreadsheet had estimated.  Due to the high pH, I added 1.1mL of lactic acid to the mash, hoping to lower the mash pH closer to 5.4.  I waited around 5 minutes after adding the acid and took another same.  This time it came out to 5.38.  Perfect.  From this point out the mash/sparge/boil proceeded as normal.

The Southron (Nelson-Galaxy APA)
5.25 gal batch -- 90 minute boil
Est OG: 1.057
Est FG: 1.014
Est ABV: 5.6%
IBU: ~48
SRM: 7.6

10lb Maris Otter
1lb Honey Malt
8oz Carafoam
8oz White Wheat Malt
4oz Carastan
2oz Biscuit Malt

0.3oz Magnum @ FWH (15 IBU)
0.5oz Galaxy @ 5 min (4 IBU)
0.5oz Nelson Sauvin @ 5 min (4 IBU)
1.0oz Galaxy @ Flameout/Steep 10 (13 IBU)
1.0oz Nelson Sauvin @ Flameout/Steep 11 (7 IBU)
1.5oz Galaxy @ Dry Hop 4 days
1.5oz Nelson Sauvin @ Dry Hop 4 Days

1300ml starter Wyeast 1028 London Ale

Mash @ 152f for 60 minutes

4/14/2014 -- Brewed by myself.  Hit mash temp of 152f on the nose.  Initial pH came in at 5.55, so I added 1.1mL of lactic to lower pH to 5.38.  Ended up having another shitty efficiency at 68%.  Had to add 1.3lb of DME to get up to target gravity.  The crush on this batch seemed to be on the poor side.  I'm thinking about potentially switching up providers again. Gathered 5.25 gallons of 1.051 wort.  I made a starter from one of the mason jars of washed London Ale (WY1028) from my amber ale. Fermentation began within 6 hours.

4/28/2014 -- Added dry hops

5/3/2014 -- Bottled 2 cases with 4.1oz corn sugar for 2.4vol carbonation.  Beer smelled fantastic, had a nice assertive bitterness and floral aroma.  Color was a touch dark and it was cloudier than I would have liked.  Final gravity came in at 1.012 for a final ABV of 5.1%.

5/18/2014 -- Tasting notes.  Came out wonderful.


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