Thursday, 5 June 2014

A tribute to Stone Ruination IPA, Satan's Circus.


I recently returned from a bucket list event in Japan. It was a twelve day Father & Son backpacking adventure. I simply have no words to communicate the sheer excellence of our trip. If you have any adventure in you at all, add a Japan trip to your own personal bucket list! Tell them Joe sent you! :)

While in Osaka 'Fukishima ward' we found craftbeerbase A wonderful craft beer paradise smack bang in the shadow of the Umeda Sky building. A wonderful wee haven for the hop afficianado. While trying a couple of draft variants i spotted Stone Runination IPA in their huge beer fridge. I bought a couple of bottles and brought them back to Scotland with us.

A tremendous resionous big beer, right up my street and a wonderful example to hold in my mind while i create Satan's Circus.

In my tribute to the sheer excellenc and WOW of Ruination I am going for a sweet mix of malts with the idea of leaving a nice malt backbone post yeast frenzy to support the hop string. I am also going old school with my yeast and using Burton ale yeast. I am of a mind that too many IPA's these days are brewed using yeasts of no character to allow the hops to have the floor entirely to themselves. This shouldn't be the case and i am hoping for a nice sulphurous note from the Burton yeast(Satan's Circus you see).

The recipe is as follows on a 15 gallon batch 100 minute boil

Satan's Circus
9kg Maris Otter
2kg Wheat malt
1 kg Crystal malt
1 Kg Cara gold malt
1kg Amber malt
2 handfuls chocolate malt
1kg Sucrose
3.5 oz Cascade Mash hops
3.5 oz Topaz Mash hops
3.5oz Coumbus FWH 120 min
3.5oz Chinook 5 min boil
3.5 oz Columbus 5min boil
3.5 oz Topaz 5 min boil
3.5 oz Apollo 5 min boil
6oz Columbus aroma hop 120 min
3.5 oz Pacific Gem aroma hop 120 min
3.5 oz Northdown aroma hop 120 min
3.5 oz Cascade aroma hop 120 min
3.5oz Chinook Dry Hop 1 day
3.5oz Pacific Gem Dry Hop 2 day
1oz Chinook Dry Hop 2 day
7 oz Simcoe Dry Hop 3 day
3.5 oz Cascade Dry Hop 2 days
85 IBU
Burton Ale yeast
O.G 1.060
F.G 1.010
ABV 6.5%

I now use hops in the mash as a part of my process and will continue to do so for their insualtion properties, fine smell and general coolness as a brewing step!

I added a couple of handfuls of chocolate malt during mash tun recirculation as the colour of the 1st wort was slightly weak for the hop profile i have in mind.
1st runnings were duly reduced to boost caramel profile.

I then went for a 100 minute boil and used a good and varied amount of aroma hops.

During the recirculation of the wort through the hop bed i decided to try something a bit different. I reduced the nozzle on my recirc pipe and basically sprayed the returning wort across the floating hop bed to oxygenate the wort for the soon to be pitched yeast and also to scavenge as much hop oil as i could from the floating bed.

This process went on for a full 120 minutes while i slowly cooled the wort. Quite therapeutic! i pitched a 250 ml solution of cleaned Burton ale yeast. Lovely profile on this yeast.

Another bonus of the therapy step was the removal of all cold break material from the wort. The sample below was taken mid volume during transfer to fermentation vessel and has been treated to a drop of the burton yeast so i can monitor yeast performance.
I intend to dry hop with Pacific Gem, Columbus and a huge amount of Simcoe over the next two weeks. I also intend for this to be a caramel malt backboned resinous beast of a beer, basically one where you'd chew the edge of the glass!

We'll see... :)

Edit-16 hours later

As you can see, the yeast has taken off on a flyer. About 3 inch krausen, nose crinkling volumes of CO2. While sterilising Hopthang yesterday i found a crack in the hop bowl :( so a new one on order for this brew :). Good little krausen on the test sample as well.

Further edit 48 hours later
The yeast is ripping through the fermentables and we are at 1.026G, this seems like a good point to start with the dry hopping schedule.
 First up is a nice resinous 3.5 oz bag of Chinook. Also, a bag, a weight, some hops and a length of string.

 Lastly, a liquidiser to blitz the hops down to larger than but not by much herb size to increase contact area with the beer. Will it work, who knows but its got good results in the online forums so why not eh?

Post Dry Hop 16/06/2014

As you can see from the recipe i have tried to add a few layers to the hop aroma. At the moment i can confirm that i caught a whiff of the following. Oranges, gooseberries(cats P), mangoes, lychees, grapefruit and for some reason i'm not sure of powerful dark chocolate! Its all still a bit muddy this early but showing serious promise.
The first 8 or so gallon bottled easily but the remaining volume was experiencing serious tap blockage due to fine hop debris. No big deal as its all part of the process. The solution was a decant into a clean sterilised FV through a doubled over muslin filter, a 12 hour settle then an old school careful siphon above the settled debris. Even a simple 12 hours between bottling sessions and i could smell the difference in hop intensity. Distinct odours really starting to emerge! Looking back i'd like to have added another week onto the brewing timeline but needs must and i've got SO much on at the moment. This beer will be sampled in a totally unclear partially carb'd fashion this weekend before i depart for work in Saudi Arabia. I will post a nice hazy (hop oils not yeast doncherknow old boy) picture of the product but in the meantime i thought you'd like to see the label?


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