Saturday, July 23, 2011

SR7: Still tinkering; hops are growing

That was a long stretch between batches of beer. After a four month hiatus, I've brewed another batch of Lil' Savannah. I've continued to tinker with the recipe, this time easing up on the sweetness by using a lighter crystal malt (40 instead of 60) and using less of it (1/2 lb. instead of a whole pound).
One of the comments I got from the judges was about how malty the beer was, even on the nose. Considering all the hops I used, that really surprised me. But the guy was right. Although I like a malty IPA, the amount I used in my last batch was too much.
I also changed the hops some. The homebrew store (myLHBS) was out of Warrior, which I use for bittering, so I went with Galena instead. The alpha acid level is about the same (13% instead of 15%), so it shouldn't effect the beer too much. I also finished reading Brewing Classic Styles recently and decided to take Jamil Zainasheff's advice and use two viles of yeast instead of one. Man, what a difference that made. Within 24 hours, the beer was bubbling and fermenting vigorously. It was also a good idea because of the O.G. I ended up at. Although I used roughly the same amount of malt in this batch as I did in the last batch, the gravity was a lot higher (1.092 vs. 1.080). So the extra yeast should help the beer attenuate and avoid coming out too sweet.
For Father's Day, the missus bought me a wort chiller, which cut the amount of time it usually took me to cool my wort from 6 hours to about an hour. Once I'm used to the wort chiller and have cooler ground water temperatures, my cooling time should be even shorter.

Depending on how this batch turns out, I'm entering it into the Meridian Pint/D.C. State Fair homebrew competition. If I make the top 25, I can pour the beer at Meridian Pint, which is my primary goal. Well, my primary goal is to show off my kick ass Lil' Savannah labels. I just need to make sure the beer is good enough to do that.


I've picked my first couple batches of hops. After two years and a lot of fussing, I've harvested ... 3/4 of a pound. Not quite enough to make one batch of wet hop beer, but close. The Centennial and Columbus hops did well, and are looking like they're going to give me another batch, but the Cascade hops are taking their sweet-ass time. In just the past week or so, I've started to see some Cascade hops finally start to blossom. So between the second batch of Columbus and Centennial hops, and the first growth of the Cascade hops, I should have more than enough for a batch of wet hop IPA.