Happy Brew Year!
It has been a long while since I last brewed some beer. There’s a couple of reasons for that. First off, I was slightly discouraged by the results of my last beer (the neapolitan milk stout), so I wanted to put a lot of thought into my next brew. Also, I wanted to see what Santa would bring me for brewing this Christmas. I was rather pleased with the results:
- Turkey fryer, which allows me to do full-boil batches, meaning I get the best utilization of the hops in my wort.
- Kitchen scale, which allows me to save money by buying hops and grains in bulk. I picked up a bunch of hops on sale from Farmhouse Brewing Supply, and with my Seal-A-Meal, I can reseal the hops that I don’t use and freeze them for later!
- Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels, which I promptly opened and read the Pale Ales chapter.
I decided that my next brew would be another IPA. My last IPA was easily the best beer I’ve made, so I decided to move up from there. Taking into consideration what I learned from the book, and what I was able to gather from the internet, I put together a recipe for an imperial/double IPA that I felt would be a great brew, and put a twist on it to make it an American Black Ale.
So, this morning, after sleeping in and somehow waking up without a hangover from the New Year’s Eve festivities, I set off to brew. I ran to 7-11 to pick up some ice (since I still don’t have a wort chiller) and some provisions. I had purchased all the grains yesterday from Cap N’ Cork, so I measured out my hops and malt extract (to supplement the grains, since I didn’t want to have to do 20+ lbs of grain for this one) while the grains were steeping at 152 degrees. My target was 154, but I doubted the online calculator since I ended up overshooting it last time, but it turns out it would have been right.
I prepped the turkey fryer, which I put together last week, and got ready to take it for a spin. You can see in the pictures below how it looked before the boil got underway, and how it looked after. I pulled the grains from the kettle, drained them, and set off to start the boil. Part of the reason the kettle looks kinda rough is that I had a boil over immediately after putting the kettle onto the burner. I, in a rookie mistake, had the heat way too high, and it foamed too much. Once I played around with it, I was able to find a setting where I could maintain a rolling boil. I was cautious while adding my malt extract and hops, just because I feared another boil over. It got vigorous after the third hop addition, but nothing severe.
When the boil was done, it turns out I severely underestimated the amount I would lose during the boil, because I ended up with just under 4 gallons in the fermenting bucket. I tossed in a little water to bring it up to 5, but that dropped my gravity from what my estimate was. Again, another rookie mistake, but ideally I will have had a chance to build a proper mash tun for my next brew. We’ll see how this one turns out in a month or so!