Sunday, 11 July 2010

White Star IPA first taste

If you are in the know about making IPA's you'll know that it is an unforgivable and heinous crime to be sampling them when they are barely a month in the bottle. I'm afraid to say that i am guilty of this on a regular basis. Sometimes it can be a bit of a non event and regretted. Other times its a happy surprise. In this instance it was happy time!
We currently have a half decent ongoing Scottish Summer. When I bottled this beer i decided to take advantage of this rare occurence and try a hot maturation with 2 dozen of the 50+ bottles of White Star IPA. To do this i simply put a crate of White Star in the loft space which heats up and holds temperature nicely. It made sense that the bottle i try should be from the experiment as it will be furthest along in development.

Tasting notes on White Star IPA

Chilled bottle for one hour to control potential carbonation explosion(unfounded fear).
Poured well with nice light colour slightly copper in tone.
Let rest for 10 minutes
Large amounts of citrus hops on the nose.
Smooth surprisingly sweet fruitiness on first sip which then changes to almost but not quite a hint of pineapple at the end of the sip.
At the end of the sip its big mangoes in the nose.
There seems to be a hint of whisky knocking about in here somewhere. I can't quite pin it down and admittedly it could be a placebo effect.
Carbonation is quite high as you can see from the head. Head holds all the way to bottom of glass.
Body and malt support the hops nicely.
Bitter but nowhere near as bitter as my Hop Bomb IPA(November 2009,7.3%ABV & Estimated 200IBU) which Catherine and I tried side by side with the White Star for comparison. Smooth is the word that keeps coming to mind(possibly from the FWH).
It doesn't drink anything like a 6+% beer.

 Beer as you may know goes through a number of stages of development in the bottle. With this in mind my expectations for this beer were not high at this early stage. In this case i have been pleasantly surprised and i will be repeating the crime of sampling it again at the end of the month at a BBQ to see if it has changed again with another 2 weeks in the loft.

I'll leave you with pictures of the hops & Others that went into this beer. As you can see IPA's are not simple beers but they are massively rewarding. :)

 Bobek&Styrian goldings(5.6oz)First Wort Hops

Amarillo and Simco(2.1 oz)First Wort Hops

First Wort Hops with First runnings from grain

Aroma hops Simco & Amarillo(6.6 oz)

Final aroma Hops Amarillo, Chinook, Simco & Willamette with a little orange peel

A few Oz's of oak Whisky barrel shavings for flavour during primary fermentation

Amarillo & Simco dry hops during primary fermentation

Click on link above to go the recipe

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Wednesday, 7 July 2010

A moment of clarity during the ongoing IPA slide

've been working offshore in Baku for the past few weeks. Its my first time in Azerbaijan. I like it, the people are nice and i tried Azerbaijan tea for the first time a couple of days ago. For all you taste geeks out there its very smooth with the smallest hint of vanilla and not at all bitter. Even if its not beer i'll still analyise it as if it is! Here's a couple of pictures of the barge i am working on.

One of the benefits of working offshore is that a lot of onshore lifes static and interference isn't present. I have a chance to think more than may be the case at home.While i've been here and had the chance i have been planning my next foray into the Wonderful World of IPA's. As i think pretty much constantly about beer i realised that what i REALLY want to brew is a traditional Scottish IPA(my moment of clarity).

My more recent brews have all had a distinctly American slant to them with lots of Amarillo, Simco & C hops bouncing around in them. Stunning beers every one and i consider myself lucky to have around 100 bottles of various recipes in varying stages of maturation to be enjoyed over the next few years.With the American IPA itch having been thoroughly scratched for the time being i have decided to go back to the start of IPA's and brew a recipe of my own based on historic Scottish 60's IPA recipes. When i say 60's & historic i really mean it. This beer wouldn't have been out of place between 1760 and 1860.

I haven't quite finished the recipe and in truth i'll probably change some small details on the brewday itself as i truly believe that this is where the 'art' is in The Art of brewing. The end result is going to be (i hope) very pale in colour, full bodied, with a balance between the hops and malt and a powerful but not overpowering bitterness. Also hoping to hear from the WLP023 yeast and the dry hopped Bramling cross hops in the background. All things being equal it will be ready to drink around Winter 2011. I'll document the brew day and update the blog once done. My personal preference in brewing software is Beersmith. If you are new to brewing and haven't used any software before may i direct you to the link below for a free trial?

I intend to make this batch around about 15 gallon. This will give me the opportunity to taste the changes over the next 5 to 10 years and i can play with hot maturation in Summer 2012. I picked up this idea on the site below. The site owner has a cracking beer book out as well. I make nothing from pushing the book apart from enjoying the idea of beer geeks getting a bit of entertainment out of the book.

 I intend to brew with Golden Promise grain to keep within the Scottish theme and i intend to use the entire 25kg sack right down to the farnia hiding in the corners.The final volume will be decided depending on the brewhouse efficency of my sparge. I am aiming for a Scottish style IPA somewhere around the 8 to 9.5% ABV mark and between 130 & 150 IBU's. This will be the first time i've sparged a 25kg volume of grain on this system(or indeed any) so i can't be sure of my efficiency. There will i'm sure be lots of scrambling about and close monitoring of volumes in and out! There's a few other bits and bobs i'm going to do but i'll keep them for the brewday update itself as they might change or not make it to the finished article.

Thanks for reading this far. So here it is, my stand against a One Hundred year corporate slide in quality in what is to me THE definitive style of what beer is. Lets face it, if aliens landed tomorrow and said 'take me to your beer'. Would you really feel proud handing them a bottle of Bud?

 Didn't think so. :)

Hop Paradigm Shift IPA

Boil Time: 120 min

25.00 kg Golden Promise (Approx 2.3 SRM)
4.50 oz Goldings, East Kent [4.50 %] (120 min) (First Wort Hop)
4.50 oz Fuggles [3.80 %] (120 min) (First Wort Hop)
7.00 oz Challenger [7.60 %] (120 min)
3.50 oz Northdown [8.50 %] (120 min)
1.50 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (5 min)
1.50 oz Fuggles [3.70 %] (5 min)
2.00 oz Fuggles [4.50 %] (3 min)
2.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [4.20 %] (3 min)
4.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [4.20 %] (1 min)
4.00 oz Fuggles [4.50 %] (1 min)
2.00 oz Fuggles [3.80 %] (Dry Hop 21 days)
2.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [4.20 %] (Dry Hop 21 days)
1.00 oz Bramling Cross [6.00 %] (Dry Hop 21 days)
2.50 items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 min)
16.00 oz Oak whisky barrel Chips ( 21.0 days)
Burton Ale (White Labs #WLP023) Yeast

Est Original Gravity: 1.092 SG(@65%BHE)
Est Final Gravity: 1.024 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 8.88 %
Bitterness: 132.1 IBU
Est Color: 6.8 SRM

I hope this can be a bit of an interactive thing so if there's anything you see here that you want to shout out about or suggestions you want to make please feel free.

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