Friday, September 08, 2006

Brew II - Cincinnati Pale Ale (J.Palmer)

This recipe is early on in the book and is suggested as a first attempt at brewing with extracts & hops. A pale ale is a good place to start as it has a relatively strong flavour. OG1.045 30IBU

Bittering Hops: Nugget(12%) substituted with Goldings (5%)
Aroma Hops: Cascade(5%) substituted with Saaz (3%)
Dry Hopping: Saaz (in 2ndary fermentor)

Equipment -
The recipe is a partial boil and so you only need a 11.5L pot to boil in before diluting the brew up to 19L in the fermentor. Remember to use cotton hop bags in the boil kettle- they save a lot of time trying to seive out the hops from your wort. For a fermentor I use a 30L wine fermentor with an airlock in the top & I use a corny keg as a 2ndary fermentor. There is no need to use an airlock on the corny it's already equipt' for a blow off tube using a gas connect and a length of tubing with its end submerged in water (I find a demijohn is perfect.) The small amount of sediment left in the corny after fermentation has finished can be drawn off in the first 1/2 pint from the keg and disgarded.

Procedure -
In addition to the instructions in Palmers book I followed some great advice I've picked up from the internet. Using 2 fermentors is straightforward enough, the beer should ferment vigorously for a few days, the recipe states 10 days but this IPA fermented agressively and virtually dry in 3 days flat. Once the fermentation shows signs of slowing transfer the beer into the 2ndary fermentor essentially leaving behing the large quantity of yeast in the bottom. This yeast if the beer were to be left on it for a long period can often begin to die and cause off flavours.

It's common to dry hop IPA’s to produce nice floral smells so I added 1/2 oz saaz in to the 2ndary fermentor in a hop bag (cotton.) After the fermentation had finished completely (after another week) I added Finings, these make the yeast clump together and fall to the bottom of the fermentor. 24hrs later I sucked off the sediment and transferred the beer into another corny using a jumper of 2 black connects joined by 30cm of pipe. Here I used a gas system to pressurise the beer to 5psi for storage/ maturation which should be a minimum of 2 or 4 weeks.

Results -
Great colour, good foamy head, dry taste, stong hopp flavour but lacking the floral nose I wanted. My deduction is that the varieties of hops I used weren’t quite right. I've since found out that Goldings are essentially British aroma hops and make great British bitters. Saaz are continental lager hops and again are commonly used as aroma hops so I got the use right but they aren't really the right flavor for this IPA style. I will try this IPA again in exactly the same way but I will use Northern Brewer (11%) or Target (10%) for the bittering hops and Goldings for the aroma hops.

The Dry taste is my major criticism and is a result of the yeast using up most/all the sugars in the wort, this might be common with extract beers possibly because they contain virtually 100% fermentable sugars but I can't be sure of this. This could be in small part due to my yeast choice too as my safale ale yeast 300ml starter jar failed and so I had to pitch some saflager yeast for the first 24hrs and then some Youngs Ale yeast the next day when I got to the HB shop.

I failed to leave the beer to mature (recommended >4 weeks) after I racked it from the secondary. The only way around this I think is to start a routine of brewing every couple of weeks on a designated brew day i.e. Monday, so that I’ve got several beers on the go at once i.e. one in primary, one in secondary etc & so theoretically each batch eventually gets time to mature before drinking.

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