In the pursuit of perfect homebrew, failure still makes beer.

Palilalia IPA – results

I put my home-brewed first attempt at an IPA in the keg last Saturday. It’s a 6.4%, 56 IBU beast. Dry hopped with Chinook in the secondary, it should have a nice floral aromatic quality when consumed. Some great pictures I took while brewing with ManofSteele are below.

The man of the hour, keeping his hops close to his heart.

 

ManofSteele's Gone Fishin' Pale Ale wort... on a protein rest.

One thing I was worried about was the attenuation of my yeast. Re-hydration of a dry yeast like I usually use (SafAle) might not be cutting it for my beers as of late. With an OG (original gravity) of 1061, my target was about 6.8% alcohol with an FG (final gravity) of 1000 – 1005.

(If this sounds like gibberish and scientific mathy nonsense to you, I’d suggest you look up the definition of original gravity on wiki or google or your homebrew book of choice.)

My real attenuation bottomed out at a “generous” 1012. This means that some of the sugars in the beer have not fermented, and there will be a tinge of sweetness in my beer. A sweet off-flavor can be attributed to a number of things, but because of my high FG, I know it was my yeast being lazy. Next time, I’m pitching a starter to see if that makes any difference. But blogging about that process is for later.

My beer, on the other hand, is for now.

 

The finished product.

On the pour from my clean, sanitized tap, I have a haze in the appearance. It laces lightly with a small, feathery head. The head disappears quickly. It smells like I died and went to hop heaven – the dry hopping really does wonders for the aroma in an IPA. The scent is very earthy with a little floral twinge.

The taste is pretty interesting. It is a little sweet, which I was afraid of, and makes me miss my style target. But after I console myself for that failiure, the beer tastes pretty goddamn good. The hop bill really went to work for me, ramping up from the middle to back palate and lingering for a bit after you swallow it down. The malt is pretty unassuming, and it attributes a good drinkability and thin mouthfeel, but let’s be honest – this beer wasn’t about the malt, it was about the hops. I freaking love hops.

All in all, I would give myself a B- for this beer. This is no gold-medal IPA by any style guide. But style aside, the drinkability agrees with my ultimate goal of relaxing with a homebrew.

 

The truly finished product.

The haze has haunted my brewing for quite some time now. I’ll want to fix this, and I think I know a potential cause of the problem: the cooling of my wort. Right now, my cooling scheme is one that happens nautrally, and quite slowly. This slow cooling allows more time for any evil bacterial to enter my beer when its not sealed off from the harsh world it will ferment in To make matters worse, When I brewed this beer in particular, I made a beer-brained decision to throw it outside in the snow to try and cool it faster. This probably allowed for more chance of infection, and I was pretty lucky I didn’t turn out with a sour beer due to wild yeast infection. Bad, bad brewer.

Therefore, I find the need for a wort chiller coil. This is a piece of copper piping you stick in your boil pot and run cold water through to quickly lower the temperature of your wort after your boil is finished. I’ll see if I can find a cheap DIY and then throw it up here. Until then, I need to get a looot of ice.

UPDATE: The haze is attributed, according to my homebrew club guys, to yeast still in suspension in the beer. If I cold crash the beer (put the primary fermenter in the fridge for a day after it’s finished brewing) the yeast will fall out. I’ll try that with my next go at the IPA.

UPDATE AGAIN: I also want to try a 90 minute boil with this beer, to add more bittering character and get rid of some of the grassy notes I’ve started to pick up after drinking this for a while. Usually, you choose bittering hops to add at long time periods (90, 45, 30 minutes) and aroma hops at short time periods (10, 5, 1 minutes).

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One response

  1. Todd

    Hi, love Palilalia!. I like to take advantage of the winter temps too so when I want to chill my wort I put cold water in the bathtub and then add a few pounds of snow to the water and set the pot in there.

    January 22, 2013 at 9:22 am

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