Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Illustrious IPA planning

Hi all,

I am currently working onboard a ship in the South China Sea, we have just departed from Hong Kong no beer & no brewery but i can plan! I have been revisiting the wonderful book  'For the love of hops' in my time onboard. Well worth a read if you have not had the pleasure yet. As an aside i was extremely surprised to read that China is the 3rd largest hop producing country. Sadly i  have seen no hops in my time onshore in China but i will now be keeping an eye out for them!

 As we are now well into The Winter brewing Season in Scotland i have decided to take advantage of and go with a long slow old school Scottish IPA ferment on Belgian split of Duvel & Chimay. Most assuredly not a classic IPA yeast but i was intrigued by the smoothness this yeast produced in my last batch of beer and think it can be brought somewhere interesting as a counterpoise to massive hopping!

To continue the off track theme of this IPA i intend to produce the majority of the colour in this beer with the light baking of a couple of kilos of wheat malt to a nutty brown colour. The remaining colour and hopefully toffee overtones will come from some intense early reduction of the 1st runnings during deliberate kettle caramelisation. Darkening my own grain is a new step for me so i look forward to this with anticipation.

In this spirit of new brewing adventure i have also decided to try mash hopping for the first time and will be using a part of a 3/4 kilo of home grown First Gold hops for this purpose, the remainder will in all likelihood be used as a flame out addition. I have a truly excessive amount of hops in storage at the moment and to free up some fridge(s) space i have decided to 'Go in crazy' with the hops. 

As previously stated, i intend to mash hop this beer which is a new technique for me, i will also be using the tried and tested methods of first wort hop and hop bursting in the final 10 minutes. As i am being excessive in the hopping department i will also fire up HopThang once the beer has cool fermented for a month. I will in all likelihood finish this portion of the beer off with a dry hop of Bramling Cross. In this instance i will be resisting the urge to break out the New World hops and will be sticking with European hops to finish the beer.

Anyway, i shall be home on the 16th Dec and should have brewed by the 20th Dec. Look out for an update and abv guesstimate, 6% is feeling about right for this one. My intentions are for deep copper colour, smooth Belgian yeastiness but not too yeast forward, well carbonated with an abiding head and a literally monster smooth hop presence and high bitterness, sound nice eh? I love the word Illustrious but will also be keeping the adjective 'Sumptuous' to the fore of my mind while brewing this beer.

 A 5 Imperial gallon section of the beer will be willingly sacrificed to the God of Brett C on a warmer ferment to encourage side flavours and will in time be dry hopped with something exotic which will have been hop blitzed in a blender and free poured into the fermenter to maximise hop contact along with a 1/2 kilo of dark sugar to kick the beer up to Belgian ABV's. 

Thank you all for reading the blog, as i type this paragraph the blog counter is approaching the 25K mark. Which is nice in a numerical roundness sort of way. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous New Year where ever you are. :) 


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