Sunday, April 4, 2010

SR3: It's gonna be a bigger beer

SR3 is in the fermentor. There are a lot of firsts with this batch: first time I'm using live yeast (California Ale Yeast, which are good for hoppy beers), first time I did multi-stage hopping, first time I'm dry hopping, first time I'm clarifying, and the first time I'm using my own recipe.

I don't know how it's going to turn out, but I know that it will have a higher alcohol content.
As I've gone on before about Charlie Papazian's apparent penchant for lower alcohol beers (which have tasted quite good, I should add), one of the things I wanted to try was pushing the gravity of my own batch higher. Oh, it's higher.
The original gravity for Papazian's Palilalia IPA (SR2: Cabin Fever IPA) was 1.032. The O.G. for my IPA was 1.070. To put it simply, that is a huge difference.
I used the framework of Palilalia IPA for SR3, which is to say I followed the same boil time as Papazian's recipe, and added the same amount of gypsum and toasted crystal malt to the wort. Otherwise, I ventured out on my own, using an additional two pounds of dried malt extract and a few more ounces of hops I hope will play well together.
For bittering, I picked up an ounce of Warrior, a particularly bitter hop. Given the additional malt, I figured I would need to bump up the bitter to balance out the flavors. I also picked up a couple ounces of Simcoe hops, half an ounce of which were used for bittering. The rest went in at the end of the boil for flavor and aroma.

Because I couldn't just leave things at that, I added an ounce of whole Cascade hops to the fermentor. They'll dry hop in there for a week before I transfer the beer from the bucket fermentor to the carboy. The transfer should also clarify the beer a bit, which will be nice for the aesthetics.

I had an issue with the wort temperature again.
As with SR1, the wort was too hot. Even after adding three gallons of cold water, the temperature was hovering around 1oo degrees. Now that the weather is warmer, there was no way I was going to get the temperature to drop 30 degrees simply by setting it outside. Fortunately, my mother in law of all people had a great idea: setting the fermentor in the wash sink in my laundry room. I then filled the sink halfway with ice water. It took all night to bring the temperature down, but the fermentor was sealed, so the length of time didn't matter.
Now it's a waiting game. I plan to give the beer two weeks to ferment and four weeks to finish in the bottle. That works out to May 16 before it's ready to drink. Here's hoping the waiting will be worth it.

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