Monday, February 21, 2011

Beer Beginnings, Issue 2 - IPA

by Alan

I have been drinking more than my fair share of IPAs in the recent months, and I thought I'd try out brewing one on my own. This was my first outside of any Mr. Beer type brews, but I am still using the fun little keg fermenter for housing the brew. I did make one addition, getting a better spigot and a bottling wand so I could bottom fill my bottles. The new spigot locks, which really cut down on thumb fatigue for the bottling process.

So here we go...


  • 1 lb. Milled Crystal 60L grain
  • 1 Lb. 11 oz Gold Malt Extract
  • 1 Lb. 5  oz Amber Malt Extract
Hop Schedule
21 g Chinook      60 Min
 7 g Simcoe         30 Min
 4 g Cascade       30 Min
 7 g Simcoe         15 Min
 7 g Cascade       15 Min
 5 g Chinook         0 Min
 5 g Simcoe          0 Min
 5 g Cascade        0 Min
 7 g Simcoe          Dry Hop 7 days before bottling
 7 g Cascade        Dry Hop 7 days before bottling

  • 1 Packet Safale US-05 Ale yeast
Having no clue what I was doing with steeping grains, I read as much as I could on beer blogs, forums, and in my Joy of home brewing book I got for Christmas from my Mother-in Law. The more I read the more options I seemed to run across for the proper way to steep grains. The best I could figure, I needed to keep the grain below about 170 degrees and keep that consistent for about 20 minutes. I put my crystal grains in a grain sack, and heated up about a liter and a half of water with the sack of grains in it. The water quickly turned a nice red color. After about twenty minutes I removed the grains and removed the pot from heat.

Meanwhile in another pot I boiled up about 1 liter of water for the Hop tea. I tossed in the 21g of Chinook hops and the whole thing quickly started to foam up. Luckily I didn’t boil anything over, but it got pretty close. I got that down to a rolling boil and popped open a beer. With the grains and hop tea going, I felt it was well deserved. What better beer for a IPA brewing day, Russian River Pliny the Elder. Easily one of my favorite brews. Right, back to work. I kept adding the hops to the boil at the schedule I had written out. While that was going I added the Amber Malt extract to the water with the steeped grain when I had about 20 minutes left of the hop tea boil. With about 10 minutes left on the hop tea, I added the Amber Extract to the extract boil. At the end of the hop boil, I removed it from heat and strained the hop tea into the extract boil to remove all the spent hops. I also added the 5g Chinook, 5g Simcoe, and 5g Cascade (this time in a hop sack so I didn’t gunk up my beer too much). Everything was way too hot so I put the lid on my wort in the pot and plunked the put into my sink that I had filled with cold water and ice to try and chill it down.

While that was cooling I filled the Mr. Beer keg to about 4 Liters with cold water, then poured in my slightly cooled wort (with hop sack). I poured more cold water to bring it up to its 8.5 liters and checked the temp. I was right around 75 degrees at the point and ready to pitch the yeast. I sprinkled in my Safale US-05 yeast, let it sit for about 5 minutes then stirred the hell out of it to aerate. Closed up the keg, put it in warm place, then I turned around the see the aftermath of the mess I had created. I was doing dishes and cleaning up the kitchen for about an hour after.

7 days later, 7 days before bottling. I cracked open the keg to just drop in another hop sack of 7g Simcoe and 7g Cascade for some aroma. It already smelled like a bucket of grapefruits.

At the time of writing this, it has already been bottled, and I am about a week away from giving it a try. Who knows what it will actually be like, but I can’t wait to try it anyway. So far, aside from all the dishes, this is getting to be a fun hobby.

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