(Some Assembly Required)

I have decided that the start of the holidays should be celebrated by brewing a beer. So far, I have dabbled in small amounts, not usually more than about 3-4 litres. This time, I’m going for 25. Right now, the mash is on it’s first rest, so I’ve pulled out the laptop to document the procedure, especially as I’m using some of the tools for the first time.

The recipe is one I’ve cobbled together from various other IPA recipes:

  • 4.5 kg Pale malt (7 EBC)
  • 200 g Crystal malt (140 EBC) to give the beer a bit more colour and flavour
  • 11 g Polaris hops (21.8% Alpha acids), a new breed (only on the market since 2012, apparently), was described to me as “Cascade on steroids” and as having the flavor of “Glacier Ice”-boiled sweets… Interesting. And… 21.8%? Whoa!
  • 38 g Cascade hops (6.9% Alpha acids), added in halves 45 minutes into the boil and just before the end. It’s not an IPA without Cascade, is it?
  • Wyeast 1007 German Ale yeast (not a typical IPA yeast, but as I’m fermenting at about 25°C there should be slight fruitiness in an otherwise relatively clean-tasting beer)

The original plan was an infusion mash at 65°C for one hour in the “Weck” autopreserving cooker. The mash took a bit longer than expected, iodine tests at 1h indicated an incomplete conversion. Mashed out at 78°C after 1.5h and successful iodine tests.

Sparging and lautering took significantly less time than planned – all together about 30 minutes instead of an hour. The new lautering tun seems to do its job well enough, although sparging directly from the pot stirs up quite a lot of sediment. Recirculating the wort several times got rid of some cloudiness, but not all.

Boiling the wort in the Weck worked, but additional insulation might be a good idea. I tried to “support” the boil with an immersion boiler, but that turned out not to be necessary, rolling boil and hot break was achieved shortly after adding the Polaris hops. They do smell interesting.

After that, there’s not much else to report. Boiled for an hour, adding Cascade for flavour at 45 minutes and at the very end, whirlpooled and siphoned off into the fermenter. Cooling with the wort cooler was a breeze, I had the wort at 21°C in about ten minutes.

The final specific gravity measured at 1.052 (12.9° Plato), which corresponds to a potential ABV of about 7%. After the holidays, I’ll transfer the beer to the secondary fermenter and bottle it after an additional five days. First tasting will be in about a month.  


9 February 2014

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