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Old 02-02-2013, 05:23 PM   #1
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Default My crazy IPA? Looking for wisdom, opinions.

Hello everyone.

I batched together this last night. This isn't based off of any recipe. It's a franken-brew based on guesses of what I think may be pretty good. I could be completely off the mark, I don't know. I'm just excited to be brewing again. Here is what I did.

5lbs. Mutons Amber DME
3lbs. Mutons Light DME
8 ounces of smoked crystal malt
1oz. Chinook hops
1oz. US Fuggle hops
1oz. Glacier hops
5 gallons of pure osmosis water
11.5g Safale s-04 Ale yeast

I started the boil with only one gallon of water and the crushed crystal malt in a bag. I allowed this to boil for 15 minutes steeping it like a giant tea bag. I removed the bag and let it drip until it stopped, but did not squeeze it. I added another gallon of water and waited for it to boil. I added 3lbs of the Mutons Light DME and the 1oz of Chinook hops. I allowed this to boil for 15 minutes and then added another gallon of water. I then added the 5lbs of Mutons amber DME. I allowed this to boil for 15 minutes, using a spray bottle to control foaming overflow. I added the 1oz of US Fuggle hops and another 1/2 gallon of water and continued to boil until it stopped trying to overflow with foam from the boil and stabilized (about 20 minutes). I added the 1oz of Glacier hops and turned the heat off and put the lid on. I set the pot outside in the snow for about 30 minutes to cool. After it was mostly cooled I brought in inside and poured it into my fermentation bucket and added pure water to bring the level to 5 gallons. I mixed it and sloshed it around real good and pitched the yeast. Placed the lid and airlock in place and went to bed.

This morning I woke up and noticed it was starting to foam up in the airlock. I really got lucky because it just started to foam up. Thanks to advice is threads on this forum, I now have a blow-off system in place. OMG, this stuff is fermenting like crazy. The bubble line in my aquarium doesn't put out like this (125 gallon aquarium). I imagine this will calm done eventually and I'll put the regular airlock in place once it does. So far, so good. Or so I think.

I'm interested in any thoughts any of the more experienced brewers have for this concoction I've got bubbling in the corner. BTW, this is fermenting in a location that will stay between 68-72 degrees. I'm sure that will matter. As you can assume from the title of this post, I'm shooting for a IPA of sorts. I like smoked flavors and I like the malty flavor of darker beers too. So I have elements of those in here too. I might be wrong to call this an IPA just because I have a lot of hops in it. If so, please excuse me for using improper descriptions. I'm learning as I go.

-Chadwick

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Old 02-04-2013, 03:43 AM   #2
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No comments? Oh well.

An update:
12 hours after the blow off system was put in place fermentation has slowed to a normal pace. I've replaced the blow off system with the regular air lock. While switching this over I noticed a strong hop aroma and alcohol aroma. I'm pleased with this so far. At this time, it has been 24 hours since I pitched the yeast. Fermentation is slowing noticeably. I'm expecting primary fermentation will finish in less than a week. Temperature of the wort did reach 75 degrees during the peak yesterday, it is now cooled to 71 degrees. This is the upper limit of the yeast but I'm remaining hopeful that the outcome will be satisfactory. I suppose time will tell.

I haven't made my mind up yet on whether to transfer this to a secondary for some aging prior to priming or not. I'm leaning toward using a secondary for aging at least a week before priming and bottling, but I'm not committed yet. I expect to have several days to ponder this decision. And hopefully get some advice from more experienced brewers here on the matter too.

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Old 02-04-2013, 03:48 AM   #3
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I think the smoked malt would exclude it from the ipa category. Sounds different. Let us know how it turns out. Smoked and hoppy might be good or it might be bad.

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Old 02-09-2013, 02:22 PM   #4
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Update:

Fermentation has come to a complete stop. I've watched the airlock now for 15 minutes and nothing is happening.

I'm a little torn about what to do next. The brew is still in the primary at this time. Would it be recommended that I leave it in there? Should I start bottling? I've not sure about what the best move would be at this time.

I have decided not to do a dry hopping. The aroma coming from the airlock toward the end of fermentation two days ago was very hoppy and pleasant. It may not be IPA in strength, but I feel it just smells "good". Plus, the 8oz of smoked malt in it may not lend much of a compliment with additional hops.

I haven't taken a gravity measure yet. I really don't want to open the lid unless I'm set on a coarse of action. Starting gravity was 1.085. Not sure why it was so high in the beginning. Perhaps my measuring equipment isn't accurate, perhaps it is and I have a potent brew.

To bottle or not to bottle? That is the question. BTW, I do plan of using DME to prime with.

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Old 02-09-2013, 02:33 PM   #5
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Please don't rely on the airlock to tell you when fermentation is finished. You need to take a gravity reading ... Then another in a few days. If its the same, your fermentation is over and you can bottle. I see you brewed 2/2 which means its only been a week. Your fermentation can certainly be finished, but I would let it sit at least another week for the yeast to clean up any off flavors and to let it clear slightly. I've learned the hard way (read: not the best beer) to be patient.

Give it another week (2-3 more if you can wait) especially w a higher gravity beer and you will be rewarded. Then take a couple gravity readings a few days apart. Once it stays stable, bottle/keg. Then, wait another 3 weeks and enjoy. It'll be worth it.

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Old 02-09-2013, 03:59 PM   #6
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Thank you DocScott for the advice, which I'm going to take. I'm not going to open the lid on this. I would much rather wait and have a better chance of having good beer than be impatient and have a lousy beer.

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Old 02-16-2013, 01:37 PM   #7
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Update:

I woke up early today and decided to bottle my beer. I opened up the top and was surprised to see how clear it had become. A nice clear amber red color greeted me with a very nice aroma. I tasted it and the flavor didn't produce any noticable smoke flavor from the smoked crystal malt. Fortunately, I didn't taste any off flavors at all. There was just a real nice and rich ale flavor with a lovely pronounced hop note. It appears that everything has gone perfectly. I transfered to a bottling bucket with 2 cups of hot water with 3/4 cup dextrose dissolved in and bottled it. I originally planned on using DME, but changed my mind.

I can hardly wait the 3 weeks or so to start chilling this stuff and serving it. I'm 100% confident at this point that everything will be fine. It's good to be brewing again after a long long hiatus.

My next batch will be a rather loftier attempt at an imperial chocolate coffee stout.

Thank you Home Brew Talk!!!!

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Old 02-16-2013, 01:54 PM   #8
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It ought to be OK to bottle today, but if you haven't started, I would wait another week. I don't use a hydrometer for a variety of reasons so I simply allow a minimum of three weeks in the fermenter (and have never had a problem in over a decade of brewing).

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Old 02-24-2013, 11:59 PM   #9
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Update:

Ok folks. Go easy on me. I know its only been one week in the bottle but I had to try one to see what is happening.

I chilled the bottle for 4 hours before opening it. I open it up and poured carefully in a glass. The color is surprisingly copper looking rather than the amber red I was expecting. Carbonation is evident, but not much. Little to no head with just a few bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass. It smells good. It tastes good, but has a bit of a sweet ting to it, not much, just a little. If this is as good as it'll get, I'll be satisfied with it. I can drink this and be proud of it. However, I will hold out and not try it again for another week.

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Old 02-25-2013, 01:06 AM   #10
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Yeah, give it some more time in the bottles. Also, when the time comes, I'd leave it in the fridge for a few days before opening it. That should improve the carbonation.

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