Monday, July 4, 2011

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA Round 2

Round 1 of this beer was my best to date. I made some bad ones over the past months so decided to try this again, with some upgraded brewing equipment. I bought some "keggles" - keg/kettles - from someone. They are the best and cheapest way to get a stainless steel boil kettle and mash tun. Plus they are huge so no boil overs, and they help with efficiency (barley used vs. alcohol in beer basically).

A huge benefit of these new keggles is I'll be able to do 10 gallon beer batches instead of my usual 5...but I'm not confident enough to do that much yet. I need to make sure it's going to be good before I take that leap.

New mash tun and boil kettle

Thermometer and ball valve built into each keggle

This was my first time using spring water to brew. I think my tap water was producing some off flavors, maybe related to chlorine or calcium. My City does a very lazy water report so I can't tell what's really in it. Best solution rather than additives like gypsum - just buy spring water.

Spring water and yeast starter with Wyeast Whitbread 1099 yeast

Time to mash in with 18 lbs of barley: Pilsner and British Amber 60L.

New mash tun ready to add water

Mashing in

Add hops and boil for 90 minutes

After the wort is cooled, aerate and siphon to glass carboy. I usually use a plastic fermenter but had some issues, these should allow less chance for bacteria I hope.

Adding yeast starter slurry to wort

The things I did differently this time than my last 10 batches or so:

1) Use new keggle equipment for boiling and mashing. This allows less chance for boil over (15.5 gallon container vs. previous 8 gallon boil pot), more temperature control with built in thermometers, better efficiency due to quality false bottom and pressure pushing wort through the keggle.

2) I used a 6.5 gallon glass carboy as primary fermenter. I think the plastic one I like to use may be scratched, less air tight, and it's hard to clean since you're not supposed to scrub/scratch it. The last batch I made I had to toss - it tasted like plastic - a problem due to heat and cleanliness...even after all that sanitizing.

3) I'm fermenting the carboy of wort and yeast in a refrigerator in the garage. I bought an old refrigerator mainly for this purpose. It needs to stay at 68-70 degrees. I'm using a regulator on the refrigerator which keeps it the right temperature. The last batch had the "fussel" / gasoline type of flavor that is a result of fermenting too hot (room temperature - 76 to 80 degrees).

4) I used a yeast starter - sometimes I don't due to time but I made sure to this time.

Let's hope it was worth the trouble...or at least that it will be soon enough on the next few batches. All grain brewing can be a tough science for the weekend brewer.

This batches specs:

1.072 OG (supposed to be more like 1.086 but should be ok)
1.018 target FG
Target Alcohol by Volume: 7.25%

This is less ABV than the recipe intends (9%) but should still be good. I blame the new mash tun and using a bit too much water. I should know for next time. Cheers.

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