Monday, 20 May 2013

Homebrewing - Trans-Pacific IPA Part 1

Homebrewing - Trans-Pacific IPA Part 1

Decided I'd do a write-up on the first day of brewing our IPA, that we started just last Thursday and it's looking like it's going to be a winner!

The recipe was an original designed by Melo and I one afternoon over a couple of beers. It went through a couple of stages, the first draft ending up as the "Gokarna Special IPA" which hit the front page of Brewtoad in a day and has been there for weeks. The final version, which is currently bubbling away something fierce, was the "Trans-Pacific IPA", a recipe we came to after deciding the GS wasn't hoppy enough, and a name that represents the Hops we used (Aussie galaxy and American Citra), and the Brewers (Jared being American, Melo and Me being Aussie).

We started off with a trip down to our local homebrew shop, Dave's Homebrew in North Sydney. There we picked up our Specialty Malts, our Malt Extracts, our Hops and our Yeast, then headed off to Melo's Nan's place to start brewing

Malt, More Malt, Hops and Yeast

The first step was dividing up the hops into the various additions we'd do, while waiting for our brewing kettle full of water to get up to 70 degrees. We then put all the grains into our steeping bag, and started the mash. Not forgetting to crack a couple cold beers to help with the process, of course.

Our 1.5kg of Specialty Malts in the steeping bag
Aaaaand going into the water
We had to keep the water at a constant 68 degrees C to ensure optimal flavour extraction, without extracting the tannins or burning the flavours through overheating... The generally meant we were turning the burner on and off every 5ish minutes for the half hour that we did the extraction over.
Magic Thermometer for Temperature Control
Once the grains were spent, and all the flavoury goodness was extracted, we whipped the grain bag our and topped the kettle up to about 18 litres. Burner up to full, and back up to a rolling boil. Now started the hour-long boil, where hops get added at various times to add bitterness, flavour and aroma. We added Galaxy hops for Bittering early in the boil, Citra for flavouring at 35 and 25 minutes in, then a mix of Galaxy and Citra with 5 minutes to go for the aroma. Between hop additions, we added our malt extracts, going from the lightest (extra pale) to the heaviest (caramalt) over time.

Once the boil was over, we let the wort cool a bit before tipping it all into the fermenter, and adding a whole lot of ice in an effort to cool it down. Turned out we'd bought far too little ice, and the wort was hovering around 45 degrees, far too hot for the yeast, so we popped it in the fridge overnight to cool down.

Come Friday we pulled the fermenter out and popped in the yeast, giving it a good stir to make sure it got going on the fermentation quickly

Top notch live yeast culture from White Labs

Melo putting the final touches on our fermenter
The beer's now been sitting at around 19 degrees for about five days. We estimate it'll take about two weeks for full fermentation and yeast settling, and we'll likely dry hop with around 10g of Citra 3 or 4 days before we bottle.

Here's hoping it turns out as good as it smells, because right now it's got an awesome citrusy hop aroma with a backbone of dark malt... Smells amazing!

Next update will likely be around the 30th, when we're bottling and tasting for the first time!

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