Sunday, March 20, 2011

An Attempt At Brilliance

This is the best IPA I've made and its only a week in the bottle. Could be the best beer I have made. The hop aroma is sweet and citrusy with plenty of pine to bulk it up. The taste is a bit sweet in the nose and the middle needs more time but the rear has that mouth pocket tingle from the bitterness. Well done midwest and Surly, just about nailed the original recipe. I will definitely replicate this for years to come.

I was brought one of the newest kits on the market from Midwest after the holidays from my dad. Which is currently out of stock, Thanks Dad! Sitting on it patiently, waiting to get a shot at brewing this clone kit of what is the standard for me of American IPA, Surly Brewing Company's Furious. If you are wondering why the above picture is called Ferocious and not Furious, rights rights rights. Surly worked with Midwest to produce this recipe, but as a marketable product, they cannot lend the same name of the beer to what is sold as a kit of ingredients, enter property interests. Deciding to brew this special batch in my apartment ended up being less of a headache than expected. Primary note of importance is to make the place clean and free of dirty dishes. Cause if you have seen my kitchen, its a crawl space which cannot be cohabitated by both brewers and dish piles. I took the risk of using Winnipeg tap water, though run through the Brita filter. I figure if Half Pints can do it, why cant I? Also, after seeing two batches made by friends turn out the right way, I have no cause to fear. This kit was an extract kit with very few grains included. The bulk of the kit (which is the priciest on the shelf last time I checked) was invested in two different jugs of LME and a total of 6 bags hops! Warrior hops, 'I think I love ya'. The boil level was high due to my lack of estimate on just how much the 9.9lbs of LME would raise the water. But no boil overs to my relief. Warrior hops were employed for the full 60 minutes as bittering, and a regiment of 5 servings of a mixture of Simcoe/Amarillo hops every 5 minutes for the last 20 of the boil to add aroma. The brewhouse was smelling hot and heavy.

No major surpises with this batch thus far. The only moment worth noting was when I woke up at 5am to the sound of bubbles from the blow-off hose reverberating throughout the room as the glass it was submerged in was on the musical wood floor. Think Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart, could neither sleep through it nor blame it for what it is. Normally this is a joyous sound, but it surprisingly kept me awake, so scurrying about in the dark to both not lift the hose out of the water and also attempt to not spill the full glass was a bit stressful. 12 hours later, bubbling away and hop resins crawling to the upper walls of the carboy. In 5-7 days, will transfer to the secondary and dry hop the bejesus out of it with the remaining 3ozs of hops. American IPA, All The Way!

After bottling this sweet smelling bitter, labels of course had to be made. As much as I would have loved to just print off a surly label. it just wouldn't have been right. The bottling produced fewer bottles than I would have hoped, 34 in total. Because of the dry hopping, attempting to leave out as much of the hops in the secondary is key but often you lose about a quarter of a gallon. That's a bear, for the record.