True Brew IPA "Maestro" kit

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

nostalgia

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Messages
2,397
Reaction score
112
Location
Port Murray, NJ
This was definitely not what I expected from an IPA. The kit came with oak chips, which I'd never had in an IPA before, but I've been told by some that an oaked IPA is a thing of beauty, so I was pretty excited about the project.

It came with a 1# big bag of "crystal grain". I got 3gal of water up to 165F, killed the heat and dropped the grain in. I wrapped the pot up with some wool blankets and set the timer for 40 minutes.

When I came back the water was dark, dark brown. Again, not what I was expecting from an IPA.

The rest was uneventful. Added 1 can of Amber LME off the heat after coming back to a boil, then 1oz Pilgrim pellets after boiling again. At 35 minutes I added the other can of Amber LME. At 45 minutes I added 1oz of First Gold hop pellets.

Cooled it down in a water bath, added it to 2gal cold water, shook it well, added the previously steamed oak chips, rehydrated and pitched yeast.

OG came in 1 point high at 1.053.

So while not what I expected, I'm really looking forward to this one :)



-Joe
 

WBC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Messages
2,164
Reaction score
10
Location
La Puente, CA
It looks yummy. :) How much (what kind) hops did they put in the kit? From what you listed it would be weak hops for an IPA?
 
OP
nostalgia

nostalgia

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Messages
2,397
Reaction score
112
Location
Port Murray, NJ
Yeah the ones in my post are all that was in the kit - 1oz of each type of pellets.

-Joe
 
OP
nostalgia

nostalgia

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Messages
2,397
Reaction score
112
Location
Port Murray, NJ
Do you think fermentation has started?



12 hours later I was greeted to the steady bloop-bloop-bloop of bubbles in the blowoff bottle and a bunch of oak chips stuck to the inside top of the carboy!

I was able to get most of them back into the beer by tapping on the top of the carboy. Thanks, Better Bottle :D

-Joe
 
OP
nostalgia

nostalgia

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Messages
2,397
Reaction score
112
Location
Port Murray, NJ
I was amusing myself today by resting my ear on the lid of the fermenter freezer. Since I'm using a blowoff and fermentation is vigorous, you can hear and feel the steady beat of the bubbles right through the lid. It's like a fast heartbeat. Quite eerie :)

-Joe
 

grasseriver

Active Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
32
Reaction score
0
Location
Rochester, NY
I just started one of these IPA's on Friday night (8.8.08) after doing a lot of reading about homebrewing and waiting until I thought I had some of the basic concepts down.

Learned a lot already:

1. If the burner and burner tray on an electric stove catches fire once, it will probably catch fire again, so don't do it twice. Or three times. At three times, I switched burners, realizing that I could not get anything clean enough on said stove to stop the fire from starting.

2. Get a BIG strainer. I was under the impression that the True Brew kit came with a strainer; I should have looked closer. I used one that was maybe two inches across (I used it for a pastry job I had last year) and it worked...but it took forever to strain the wort into the carboy.

I didn't use the oak chips. As a matter of personal taste, I opted against it, just to see how it would affect (or in this case, not affect) the flavor.

Everything's going fine with the fermenting now; my kitchen smells like malt and the airlock is happily bubbling away. I had a hell of a time getting a sample out to test the gravity; I may swing by my local homebrew shop, where I understand there's a ladle of sorts to pull out enough beer to test the gravity without upending the carboy to pour out a sample? Does this sound right?

I think I'd do one more of these kits, and then would like to move on to more specialized recipes. I'm hoping this one'll be ready by the 30th for actual drinking and enjoyment, but I don't know if that's realistic or not with one of these.
 
OP
nostalgia

nostalgia

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Messages
2,397
Reaction score
112
Location
Port Murray, NJ
I had a hell of a time getting a sample out to test the gravity; I may swing by my local homebrew shop, where I understand there's a ladle of sorts to pull out enough beer to test the gravity without upending the carboy to pour out a sample? Does this sound right?
I use something called a Wine Thief. It's got a one-way valve at the bottom that allows you to push the tube down into the beer and pull out a sample.

What I did is mark on the tube how much liquid I need to float the hydrometer in my test cylinder. I then put the tube down into the beer and gently suck the beer up to the line like a big soda straw. Works really well.

You can also use a turkey baster. Don't forget to sanitize everything before taking a sample.

-Joe
 

grasseriver

Active Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
32
Reaction score
0
Location
Rochester, NY
I use something called a Wine Thief. It's got a one-way valve at the bottom that allows you to push the tube down into the beer and pull out a sample.

What I did is mark on the tube how much liquid I need to float the hydrometer in my test cylinder. I then put the tube down into the beer and gently suck the beer up to the line like a big soda straw. Works really well.

You can also use a turkey baster. Don't forget to sanitize everything before taking a sample.

-Joe
That's awesome -- thank you for the assistance with showing me that. I'm going to see if any place around here has one; unfortunately, most brew shops are closed on Sunday. (Odd, since you'd think folks would be brewing on their weekends, but I digress.)

Question for you, since you're further along in the process than I am with this. I brewed the IPA on Friday night; last night, it was bubbling out of the airlock as expected (6.5 g carboy, so no feed-off tube).

I checked it maybe an hour ago or so, and there's no bubbling at all. There's the tiny bubbles popping on the top of the wort in the carboy, but the airlock's pretty immobile. I didn't expect it to "die down" this quickly.

I figure I didn't kill the yeast before I added it, given that if I had killed it with scalding hot water, it wouldn't have even fermented in the first place. I don't think my amount of liquid in the carboy is too high -- my estimation is that I've got around 5 g total of liquid based on measurements I took as I added to the carboy initially.

Most articles (and books) I've read figure on 2-3 days of gas release before it gets really quiet, so I'm wondering if it's something I've screwed up. On the other hand, maybe this is okay and I'll still have a good end result? I wasn't intending on bottling it for further fermentation until at LEAST next Sunday (provided the gravity has plateaued out).

Am I over-analyzing this? Or does this sound like a dud batch?
 
Joined
Jul 4, 2007
Messages
1,452
Reaction score
4
Location
San Diego, CA
Most articles (and books) I've read figure on 2-3 days of gas release before it gets really quiet, so I'm wondering if it's something I've screwed up. On the other hand, maybe this is okay and I'll still have a good end result? I wasn't intending on bottling it for further fermentation until at LEAST next Sunday (provided the gravity has plateaued out).

Am I over-analyzing this? Or does this sound like a dud batch?
You are over-analyzing. You can't use airlock activity as an indication of fermentation. There are too many factors.

Fermentation is unpredictable. Sometimes it will take 2-3 days, sometimes a month. The only way to be certain is with a hydrometer.

After your active fermentation has taken place, the yeasties like to "clean themselves up." Giving you an improved beer. So even if your ferementation is complete, you still want to give them some time.

I'd give it some time, find yourself a wine-thief (as nostalgia suggested) wait about a week and take a hydrometer reading to see where you are at. And relax. This is fun remember ;).
 

grasseriver

Active Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
32
Reaction score
0
Location
Rochester, NY
You are over-analyzing. You can't use airlock activity as an indication of fermentation. There are too many factors.

Fermentation is unpredictable. Sometimes it will take 2-3 days, sometimes a month. The only way to be certain is with a hydrometer.

After your active fermentation has taken place, the yeasties like to "clean themselves up." Giving you an improved beer. So even if your ferementation is complete, you still want to give them some time.

I'd give it some time, find yourself a wine-thief (as nostalgia suggested) wait about a week and take a hydrometer reading to see where you are at. And relax. This is fun remember ;).
Thank you, sir. :) I definitely appreciate the advice; it's good to have people around on a Sunday to bounce this stuff off of.

I'm going to go sit outside and have a beer and not scrutinize this to death.
:mug:
 
OP
nostalgia

nostalgia

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Messages
2,397
Reaction score
112
Location
Port Murray, NJ
Well, so far I'm underwhelmed by the result. There's no oak notes in it, no bitterness and no hoppiness. Just a slightly sweet malt flavor.

I'm hopeful that it will better with age and a little more carbonation.

-Joe
 
OP
nostalgia

nostalgia

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Messages
2,397
Reaction score
112
Location
Port Murray, NJ
Well that is a little disapointing. Maybe with a little age some characteristics will show through.
Yeah, that's what I'm hoping. We'll see if I can leave it alone for that long :D

Unfortunately, I neglected to take a FG reading to see how far I got after my stuck ferment rebooted. Since I'm force carbing and haven't added any extra sugar I can still take one now, right?

-Joe
 
OP
nostalgia

nostalgia

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Messages
2,397
Reaction score
112
Location
Port Murray, NJ
Here's a shot of a pulled pint:



Yes, it really is that dark. Looks and tastes surprisingly like Newcastle. Not bad, but not remotely what I had anticipated. It's carbed up a little better today, so it's more pleasing.

For an unbiased opinion, I went to my wife. She doesn't dislike beer, but doesn't really drink much, so she wouldn't have any pre-conceived notions about what an oaked IPA should taste like. She said:

*sniff sniff* "Smells like beer."
*sip* "Kinda sweet. Not bitter or hoppy at all."
I asked, "Are you getting any oak?"
"Nope."

So it's not just me. Taking a hydro sample right now...just waiting for the foam to settle out. Right smack on 1.012. So it fermented out even past where the kit said it should. I wonder why it's so sweet? Would knowing the grain bill help anyone make a diagnosis?

-Joe
 

grasseriver

Active Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
32
Reaction score
0
Location
Rochester, NY
I'm glad you posted the results.

I was intending on bottling my beer from the carboy this Sunday, but since the ferment on mine seems to have started up again slightly (not quite sure why) and the current gravity is around 1.020-1.018, I'm giving it a couple more days.

I may have missed it -- how long did you wait after bottling it before you cracked one open?
 
OP
nostalgia

nostalgia

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Messages
2,397
Reaction score
112
Location
Port Murray, NJ
I may have missed it -- how long did you wait after bottling it before you cracked one open?
I kegged it. Let me check my notes...

Pitched 7/13 @ 82F. Hey that's warm. 1.053 adjusted OG
7/21: Still at 1.020
8/2: Kraeusen showed up again, bubbling in airlock.
8/14: Kegged
8/18: Put some CO2 pressure on, dropped in fridge
8/19: Pressure and shake
8/21: Pulled first pint, realized I didn't leave the gas on it, and turned gas to 15PSI
8/22: Photo above

-Joe
 
OP
nostalgia

nostalgia

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Messages
2,397
Reaction score
112
Location
Port Murray, NJ
Maybe you have an English IPA going there.
Maybe? I'm not familiar with the style. I'm actually getting just a bit of bitterness on the finish.

Here's the bill:

Maestro Series India Pale Ale
OG: 1.050-1.052
FG: 1.012-1.014
HBU: 17.5

Unhopped amber LME: 2 cans
Crystal grain: 1#
Pilgrin pellets: 1oz
First Gold pellets: 1oz
Heavy Toast oak chips: 1/2oz

-Joe
 

grasseriver

Active Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
32
Reaction score
0
Location
Rochester, NY
I have to chime in -- I just tasted some of mine 8 days after the bottling.

Mine was good (for a 70 degree ale); good flavor so far, mildly hoppy (though I boiled the finishing hops for much longer than the directions said to). I'm going to give it a while longer (maybe a couple of weeks?) before "debuting" it to the friends and family.
 
OP
nostalgia

nostalgia

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Messages
2,397
Reaction score
112
Location
Port Murray, NJ
Cool, keep us updated.

Mine hasn't changed much. Everyone who's tasted it so far has commented that it's delicious but not what they expect in an IPA.

-Joe
 
Joined
Jul 4, 2007
Messages
1,452
Reaction score
4
Location
San Diego, CA
How I missed posts in this thread, I'll never know, but I did. I think you can check the FG. The carbonation may affect the reading a little, but maybe you can flatten it out? I dunno..

Are you guys using oak cubes, or chips?
 
OP
nostalgia

nostalgia

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Messages
2,397
Reaction score
112
Location
Port Murray, NJ
I did check it, Warped. Came in at 1.012. The kit came with "toasted oak chips".

-Joe
 
Joined
Jul 4, 2007
Messages
1,452
Reaction score
4
Location
San Diego, CA
Oh cool...It finished nicely then. It may not have been enough chips for it to come through then. I've never used oak before, so I couldn't tell you. How long were the hops boiled.
 

grasseriver

Active Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
32
Reaction score
0
Location
Rochester, NY
For mine, I boiled the first ounce of hops around 45 minutes (listed in the directions) but boiled the finishing hops for roughly 10-12 minutes (whereas it said in the directions to only boil them for...1-2?). That seemed awfully light to me.

I didn't bother with the oak chips. It seemed unnecessary to me at the time.
 

WBC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Messages
2,164
Reaction score
10
Location
La Puente, CA
Usually as a beer like this ages it gets a bit dryer and the hops and oak may start to be noticed more. Let us know what happens.
 
Joined
Jul 4, 2007
Messages
1,452
Reaction score
4
Location
San Diego, CA
Assuming the higher AA hops (Pilgrim) were the 45 minute addition, your looking at ~38 to ~45 IBU's. It's on the low end. Biermuncher is right, it's headed toward the English IPA style (except for the oak part).

As long as it tastes good right?
 
OP
nostalgia

nostalgia

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Messages
2,397
Reaction score
112
Location
Port Murray, NJ
Well, it's definitely gotten better with age. It was a big hit at a party this weekend. It's reminding me a lot of Newcastle, but better.

I did have a problem with one bottle, but I think that was my fault. A brewer friend described it as, "It smelled and tasted like overripre semi rotten fruit." I bottled that one from the keg and it sat around for a few weeks before he got to it. Could that be caused by aeration? Or a bottle infection perhaps?

Thanks!

-Joe
 
Top