Back on the Horse

For no reason other than the fact that there are not enough hours in any given day, it’s been a long time since my last brew session. I rectified that situation this weekend by firing up the burner to make an IPA. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before or not, but I use the “brew in a bag” method for my brewing, since it gives me the control of all-grain batches without having to purchase a whole lot of new equipment. It’s a great method, the only limit I’ve found with it is with large grain bill batches, but it’s easy to substitute a few pounds of dried extract in the place of base malt (which is what I did). So, to begin, I got the kettle up to 165 degrees, knowing that I’d lose about 12 degrees when I added the grain, and I wanted to mash between 152-154. After adding the grain, the wife and I headed off to JC Penney, Target, and Coney Island for dinner. That left me with a 2.5 hour mash when all was said and done. A little lot longer than I’d usually want, but I have read about people mashing for far longer, so I’m not concerned.

Upon return, it was fairly smooth sailing. Brought the mash up to boil, added my dry extract to boost the ABV a bit, and started hopping. This is a fairly standard take on an American IPA, so the hops aren’t anything too surprising (Cascade and Centennial). The surprising part of it comes from the addition of lemon and orange zest toward the end of the boil. I was inspired by Shorts’ The Liberator DIPA, which is one of my favorite DIPAs out there, and as you can see in the label picture to the right, they use those same fruit zests in the beer. I was going to go all in and try to make this a DIPA as well, but I decided to keep it simple and focus on flavor first. Bad things happen when I try too many new things at once, and I have two cases full of a Neapolitan Milk Stout that nobody will ever drink because of it. I did get to use my new, homemade wort chiller though! It was a bitch to make, because soft copper pipe is easy as shit to kink. It’s not pretty, nor is it properly vertical, but it chilled the wort in about 10 minutes, so I don’t have a whole lot of room to complain about it. You can see it in one of the pictures.

There’s a few more pictures below, and here is a link to the recipe over on Hopville if you’re interested. I’m going to be turning this one around quickly, so it should be bottled in a week and a half and ready to go shortly thereafter. I’m going to try reusing the yeast cake by brewing again this weekend and dumping a fresh batch of a cheap blonde ale on top of the yeast after I transfer this guy into secondary. A summer of homebrew shall be upon us!

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