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Brewing Homebrewing

Brew Day: Clone Wars – Lt Topper

IMG_20151101_131515386 So a buddy of mine, Chris, used to REALLY like stouts.  He preferred to keep it dark, and was not a “hoppy” guy.  Enter in the use of Untappd.  Since he started (which was AFTER me), and blew past 1,000 unique check-ins (BEFORE me), Chris has taken a real liking to DIPA beers.  For those out there, a DIPA is a double IPA.  This is usually a REALLY hoppy beer!  Now, in all fairness, I was basically the same way.  A few months ago, we had a poker night, which was really more of an epic beer tasting with a card game on the side.  That night, we had some Heady Topper, considered by some to be the Holy Grail of DIPAs.  Rated extraordinarily well, and not available for purchase outside of the state of Vermont, it is usually a highlight beer for true drinkers.

Fast forward a few months….Chris asks me if I can brew some DIPA beers for him.  So, of course I say YES!  I start looking into different recipes.  After some thought, I decided to go with Northern Brewer’s “Off the Topper” and “Plinian Legacy” kits.  I figure that having a clone of each coast’s premier DIPA is not a bad thing.  I decided to brew on a Sunday, during the 1 PM NFL games.  My team was on a bye week, I had already watched most a of game since it was in London, and I had access to a few cans of Heady Topper to compare it to when I was done.IMG_20151101_130801547

Time to break out the brand new brewing pot.  The kit calls for a 3 or 3.5 gallon boil, but it is always better to do a full boil if possible.  So my new 11 gallon pot should do the trick.   I steeped the grains in this extract kit with a partial mash.  To be sure the grains didn’t rest on the bottom of the pot and possibly scorch, I used to the basket that sits in the pot to keep it up.  Pulling out the grains is from the mash in is important to squeeze out those extra drops with all the malty goodness into your wort.  I ramped up the flame, and learned a valuable less – big pots with lots of water take lots of time to get to the rolling boil stage.

Once up to a boil, the dried malt was added, and I used a new little brewing ingredient…. hop shots!  A few things to think about with hop shots.  It is extraIMG_20151101_145804638cted and very potent hop oils.   I used 10 mL of the hop oil extract.  DO NOT try a little to see what it is like….it is is super strong, and almost seems like it is burning when swallowing, not that I tried it or anything.  It is a dark black sticky substance, and my son described it in the boil as me adding pepper to the beer….because it looked like small black dots on the top of the boil.  In reality, it really is like an oil slick in a few spots.  The pictures just don’t do it justice.

The rest of the brew went off pretty much without hitch.  At 15 minutes before flameout, the liquid malt was added.  I have been reading lots of things about not putting the liquid malt in until then so it utilizes it best AND it doesn’t over boil it making a darker beer.  A larger pot means more time for it to cool, less room for the ice bath in the sink, but these are all first world problems.  I decided with a big pot that perhaps a siphon of the wort was a smart idea, much better than attempting to pour it into my big mouth bubbler.  Things were going fine until I pumped the siphon a little more after some air got in the tube…..the hose popped out of the bubbler, and sent some of my precious wort all over the floor.  Hint, not fun to clean up, and very sticky.  I got that fixed, and eventually pitched the yeast.  My OG was 1.080, which was above the target that the instructions stated, but right on based on Beersmith software.

This is question of yeast viability now.  I got the Omega Labs DIPA yeast.  It was packaged on October 6th, so it was fresh.  It is in a smack pack like container, but says to shake it for 30 seconds.  I did so.  There was no huge swelling like I am used to with smack packs.  It was out of the fridge for about 5 hours before pitching.  I had it shipped to me with an ice pack, so I figured I was all set.  60 hours in, there was no krausen layer or real activity in the airlock.  I ended up pitching some S-05 dry yeast this morning, and now I have a nice level of activity, and krausen going on.  Lets see how it does.  I don’t think it will have an adverse effect on the beer.

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Wort transfer to primaryThings I learned this brew:

  • I like a bigger pot.  I will do a full review on it soon.
  • Bigger pots mean longer times for brewing.
  • Always have somebody hold the tube for you.  Cleaning up some wort on your floor sucks.
  • There is a BOATLOAD of hops in this recipe.
  • Hop shots are cool.  I have started to look into making my own and using them in IPAs.
  • Beersmith is cool to help you track things (review coming).
  • I need a bigger spoon.

Questions I have:

  • What effect on taste does pitching a second, but alternatively recommended yeast, have on a beer?
  • How will the new pot do for a BIAB?
  • How would the pot do on an outdoor burner?
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  1. Pingback: Brewing Day - The Clone Wars: Commandant Pliny - AdventuresInHomebrewing.Beer

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