Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Scholar Batch #3 (American IPA) -- Brew Day

So, I know I used to condemn brewing batches over and over in order to fine tune them, but maybe that's because I didn't find a bunch of batches that I really loved and to which I really wanted to dedicate my brew time.  This most recent batch of The Scholar, an American IPA featuring Nelson Sauvin and Citra, has become one of my favorite beers.  In a Philadelphia home-brew competition only open to American ales, my The Scholar took gold in the IPA category with a score of 40.

For this batch, I really want to work on a few things.  The first is temperature control.  In the previous batches when I brewed this beer, I didn't have a temperature controller hooked up to a fridge in order to control my temperatures.  This has been a recent purchase of mine so now I'll be able to ferment this on the cool side and hopefully make a very clean, hoppy IPA.

Second is working to really dry this beer out.  When I was fortunate enough last week to get out to San Diego to try the beer that inspired mine, Society Brewing's The Pupil, I was amazing at how dry it really was.  I'm lowering the grains in the original and replacing it with a half pound of corn sugar to dry out the final beer.  This will serve to up the OG a little bit as well.

Third, I really want to make this seem hoppier.  I changed some of my water chemistry around to up the sulfate content to 160ppm.  Usually, I shoot for around 75ppm on my hoppier beers.  I've always been worried about accentuating the bitterness of hops instead of the flavor, so I've kept my sulfate levels restrained in the past.  However, I just figured I'd experiment a bit this time.

This batch is also the first time that I've been able to utilize my new Barley Crusher grain mill.  Unfortunately, the drill that we own wasn't powerful enough to spin the rollers and I had to use the hand crank on this which was a major bitch.  Consider it a given that a new drill has been ordered.  The one thing that my new grain mill contributed was an insane efficiency of 85% that bumped my OG up to 1.070, thus giving me a 8.2% ABV beer.  I'll adjust for that the next time (I figured something like this would happen), but I'm not going to dilute this one to bring it back to recipe.

The Scholar Batch #3 (American IPA)
5.5 gallon batch -- 90 minute boil
Est OG: 1.062
Est FG: 1.007
Est ABV: 7.3%
IBU: 66
SRM: 4

10.0lb 2-Row Pale Malt
3.50lb White Wheat Malt
0.75lb Carapils
0.50lb Corn Sugar (added at end of boil)

0.50oz Magnum @ FWH (24 IBU)
0.66oz Nelson Sauvin @ 20 min (14 IBU)
0.33oz Citra @ 20 min (7 IBU)
2.00oz Nelson Sauvin @ Steep 10 min (13 IBU)
1.00oz Citra @ Steep 10 min (6 IBU)
0.50oz Centennial @ Steep 10 min (3 IBU)
2.00oz Nelson Sauvin @ Dry Hop 4 Days
1.00oz Citra @ Dry Hop 4 Days
1.00oz Centennial @ Dry Hop 4 Days

1500ml starter of WLP090 Super San Diego

Mash @ 148F for 90 minutes

11/11/2014 -- Brewed by myself.  Used grain mill for first time and got an 85% mash efficiency.  Brewhouse efficiency kicked up to 70% with a 1.070 OG.  Pitched yeast, saving some of the starter in a ball jar.  Strong fermentation began within 10 hours.  Happily bubbling away at 66F in the ferm chamber.

11/27/2014 -- Dry hopped.

12/1/2014 -- Crash cooled.

12/2/2014 -- Added a half packet of gelatin, rehydrated in 2/3 cup of 155f degree water.

12/3/2014 -- Bottled.  Final gravity came out to 1.007, so given the higher OG, this baby came out to 8.6% ABV.  That a tad more than I had wanted, but I suppose it is winter and a heartier beer does a body good.  I added a 1/3 packet of S04 as I've had trouble with WLP090 carbonating at the lower winter temps of my basement.  Carbed to 2.4vol CO2 with 4.1 ounces of corn sugar.  Other than the gravity miss, this one came out beautiful, at least at bottling.  Wonderful aroma, great hop taste, and a crystal clear straw color.


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