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Old 08-29-2011, 09:41 PM   #1
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Default First modified kit; AHS Hop Bomb tweaks

I'm trying to gently step into all original beers, and I figured a good way to get a feel for that is to modify a kit. That being said, a friend and myself have been dying to brew AHS Hop Bomb after trying Terrapin Hopsecutioner. The thing is, the ABV seems a bit low (7.5%? Really guys?) for such a hoppy beer, and we'd also like to bring up the malt just a bit, for some more balance. For reference, the OG is 1.073, and FG is 1.016. This will obviously be changed.

I have no idea what the grain bill (planning on a mini mash; haven't gotten into all grain yet) is like for this beer, but judging from past experience and the type of beer, I'd assume it's mostly 2 or 6 row, with some others thrown in - the AHS website claims for AG, 13 lb base, 1.5 lb specialty. Mini-mash is 8 lb LME, 1.75 lb base, 1.5 lb specialty.

The hop bill is, per a previous thread on HBT; Palisade, Cluster, Magnum, Willamette and Green Bullet. My only experience with hop varieties and how they affect a beer is via Sam Adams Latitude 48 IPA Deconstructed, which had Hallertau mf, East Kent Goldings, Ahtanum, Simcoe and Zeus. My favorite by far was Simcoe, with Zeus a close second. Lo and behold, they're both high in AA.

What I intend on doing is to add enough... something to bring ABV up to >= 10%, and balance the flavor. The two options I'm toying with right now is a corn sugar/amber DME combo, or candi sugar/amber DME. Alternately, of course, I could just up the grain bill. I'd like to bring up the malt content enough that it's present, and with a pleasant aftertaste. Something vaguely akin to Flying Dog Raging Bitch, albeit without the Belgian tones. Perhaps maltodextrin for the body?

I do intend on splitting the kit into two separate 2.5 gallon batches, with different malt contents. The hops will be identical, and I'll make two identical yeast starters. I'll probably just dry hop in the primary for simplicity's sake (waiting, of course, for fermentation to be mostly done - I intend on about 3 weeks in the primary).

Finally, I'm considering adding some Gypsum, to better eke out the last bit of hoppiness. Haven't done anything with water chemistry, although I am a nuclear operator in the Navy, and have a decent idea of how water is affected - I measured my [filtered] tap water at work, got a pH of ~7.20. Didn't bother with TDS, as I didn't think it would help much.

Any comments, constructive or otherwise, are appreciated.

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Old 08-29-2011, 10:35 PM   #2
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If you are doing a >= 10% ipa using extract I doubt you need anything for added body.

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Old 08-30-2011, 02:36 AM   #3
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Keep in mind, 7.5% ABV does not "count against" hops... a 7.5% IPA is healthy. You seem to be wanting an Imperial IPA?

I have brewed this beer (AG version), and I would really recommend brewing it first as-is, and then tweaking it to the imperial area. This beer ages into a pretty amazing hoppy barleywine. The alcohol is fine with this beer... in fact, I wouldn't want it any hotter.

IMO, of course.

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Old 08-30-2011, 05:52 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephonovich View Post
The thing is, the ABV seems a bit low (7.5%? Really guys?) for such a hoppy beer, and we'd also like to bring up the malt just a bit, for some more balance.
Wait, you're expecting "balance" from a recipe called "Hop Bomb?"
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Old 08-30-2011, 06:07 AM   #5
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I've found BeerSmith really helpful for getting comfortable with modifying recipes/making my own etc. If you get your hands on the recipe or decide to modify something similar you can play around with adding things or changing amounts and see how that affects abv, srm, ibu, etc.

If I were you I'd brew the Hop Bomb as suggested and one with your modifications to see how your changes affected it. Or...why not find a clone recipe for this other beer you like and play around with that? You can even post it and get pretty solid advice for tweaking it.

Just my thoughts...

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Old 09-11-2011, 03:15 AM   #6
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So, I got the kit today - pitched the two yeasties (Wyeast Greenbelt smackpacks; manufactured in June [yeesh]) this evening into two 1L DME starters.

My plan is to make two 2.25 gallon batches; one original, one with some added tweaks - 8 oz Panela sugar, 1 lb. Amber DME, and 0.5 tsp Gypsum.

Beersmith is claiming the original will come in at 225 IBUs, 8.5% ABV. The modified, 163 IBUs, 12.3% ABV. Both are obviously outrageous in their own right; all I can do is wait and see.

Sadly, I did manage to strip out a copper adapter while installing my DIY hopstopper, so it looks like an emergent Home Depot trip is in my future, prior to brewing.

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Old 09-26-2011, 01:12 AM   #7
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Finally brewed both. What a nightmare. The day started off with a Home Depot trip which ended up not being necessary - great start. Then, I couldn't get the weldless bulkhead to seal correctly. Once it finally was sealed, it let loose on the stove, with ~160F water (not wort yet, thankfully) behind it. There I was, holding the ball valve in my hand, jamming it tightly against the kettle, trying to figure out how to get it back on without blowing water all over the stove... screwed it on, kept leaking; eventually, leaking wort which baked on sealed it Christmas... a decent kettle.

Did two full batch boils; 3 gallons each. Final volume was ~2.5 gallons, which was .25 gallons higher than I had expected. Guess I was a bit conservative on the boil-off.

The first batch was a straight AHS Hop Bomb, nothing fancy. Pitched yeast at about 72 F, and it took off right away.

The second batch had a few things added: 3/4 tsp gypsum, 1 lb. Amber DME, and 8 oz. Panela.

Initial tasting notes: First batch wasn't as hoppy as I figured it would be, I was thinking Ruination levels. Perhaps the dry hopping will help it out. Second batch is spot on how I wanted - decently malty, great body, and a good balance of hops. Dry hopping should finish it nicely.

Both will be primary only; I intend on dry hopping in the primary.

OGs were 1.058/1.083. The recipe claimed OG should come in at 1.075, so I assume the difference is due to the 2.5 gal vs. assumed 2.25 gal final volume.

I estimate the FG to be around 1.010, which should give ABVs of 6.3%/9.6%. I was hoping for over 10% on the second, but it's good enough.

I used the olive oil starter method vice aeration - 1 drop of EVOO in the starter, none in the wort. Seemed to work alright. Yeast energizer was used for each batch.

Here's hoping!

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Old 11-06-2011, 10:48 PM   #8
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So, I tried 'em both yesterday/today. Tasting notes:

The original is ungodly good. My first thought upon opening it was, "I've wandered into a pine forest." Tasting is like eating hop resin. The next morning, I still tasted hops.

The modified one, while more, um, balanced, isn't nearly hoppy enough. Turns out you need to up the hop bill to keep the same IBUs with more malt. Live and learn. It's still good in it's own right, and hovering around the 10% ABV mark is always fun.

The bad news: They're both way over-carbed. Too much priming sugar, the result of "5 gallons, 3 gallons, eh whatever...". So you have to pour really slowly, and wait for the foam to die off.

Still, delicious! I will make another hop bomb-esque recipe in the future. I quite enjoyed it.

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