I tapped the keg of MadelIPA last night and I’m pleased to report that it f*@%ing rocks. I made a few changes, including dry hopping the keg with 2 ounces of Santiam hops. It added a nice mellow but citrusy and very complimentary throat to the beer. Given it’s significant bittering, it’s a welcome addition. The 134 IBU aren’t apparent now, unlike the painful bitterness that existed when I sampled between primary and secondary fermentation, but it’s still a bitter beer.
My last couple brew days have included a weird shuffling ritual about half-way through lautering where my sweet wort kettle is nearly full and my hot liquor tank (also my brew kettle) still have hot water that needs to go in to the lauter. What ensues is a silly, high risk game of musical pots as I pour liquids between 4-5 different kettles and stock pots trying to get all the hot water from my main brew kettle so I can collect the remaining sweet wort.
Another method I’d like to leave behind is the constant ladling and scooping from the hot liquor tank and pouring it in to the mash tun. I’m afraid I’ll mess up the grain bed. I think I’m going to have to build myself a 2 tier rack so that I can harvest gravity’s natural talent in making water go downhill. Luckily, there’s lots of examples for ideas at Brewhalla.
Now I’m just mentally building it. And watching craigslist for potential kettles and parts.
I brewed a re-modified version of MadelIPA on Saturday and had to make some on the fly changes. My last brew day had 95-100% humidity, so the amount of evaporation was nearly nothing, leaving me with a slightly more dilute beer than I’d planned. This time I wasn’t going to be caught off guard, so I lautered a larger volume than the 6 gallons called for, and since the gravity of the sweet wort was still in range, I figured no harm would be done. But after mixing the sweet wort, I took a gravity reading and found it to be near 1.040, lower than I was expecting, even with evaporation.
What to do? Turn the recipe in to a 90 minute boil, add some corn sugar and add more hops of course. Adding hops was a no brainer, but the corn sugar? Well, I had 3/4 lbs of it on hand, and a Pliny clone I found called for it, so I figured it was a safe way to up the OG without changing the body or flavor (hopefully). All said and done, the brew went well. I hit my strike tempurature just right so my mash temperature was spot on 152F.
Now the beer is sitting in primary bubbling, though krausen came on slowly. Not to get all finger-pointy, but I was using my first activator pack, and fermentation didn’t start until nearly 12 hours after pitching. That’s the price I pay for not having a starter on hand. I probably should have just dropped the dry yeast in.
Oh, and the extra hops were a good idea, at least for aroma’s sake. My basement smells delicious.