Monday, February 21, 2011

Screwy's Recipe #48 - India Pale Ale

I've been drinking some pretty hoppy beers lately even though I never really considered myself to be a hop head. This can happen to you too if you have friends that like really hop forward beers and bring some over for you to try. So with this in mind I set out to brew my very first all grain India Pale Ale and after some intense research on the Internet and recommendations by Joe Bair owner of Princeton Homebrew I came up with the following recipe.

10.5 Pounds Of Freshly Ground Grains

The calculated IBUs are off the chart with this recipe and I can hardly wait to see what 4 ounces of hops will do to a Mr. Beer sized batch. The BJCP style guidelines for an English IPA put the IBUs between 40-60 and my recipe cranks the IBUs up to 134!

1 Ounce Each Of Cascade, Chinook, Northern Brewer (UK) and Saaz Hops

I used qBrew's default 'English IPA' style guidelines as the basis for crunching this recipe's numbers and the recipe download contains my complete ingredient list and brewing notes. You can download the latest qBrew database below and use it to upgrade your current ingredient database. This latest ingredient database includes more yeast, fruits, extracts and other helpful entries then ever before.

  Click to download Screwy's latest qBrew database   

Click to download this recipe file for qBrew 
Size 2.13 gallons: Estimated IBU=134, SRM=11, OG=1.070, FG=1.017, ABV=6.8%

5 pounds Marris Otter Malt (UK)
1/8 pound Crystal Malt (40 °L)
1/8 pound Biscuit Malt (Belgium)

1 ounce Saaz hops (first wort hops)
1 ounce Chinook hops (90 mins)
1 ounces Northern Brewer (UK) hops (5 mins)
1 ounce Cascade hops (added when pitching yeast)
1 ounce Cascade hops (dry hop in secondary for 7 days)

1 Pack Wyeast 1968 (London ESB), smacked the night before to activate

Aerate, pitch at 70°F and ferment at 66°F for 19 days
Raise to 70°F over days 20 to 21 then rack to secondary fermenter
Cold condition secondary fermenter for 1 week at 34°F
Keg at 30psi for 5-7 days and serve at 34°F

** Infusion mash at 150°F for 60 minutes **
Heat 16 quarts of filtered water to 170°F
Soak mash tun in 8 quarts of 180F water for 20 minutes to preheat it
Pour 8 quarts of 170°F water into mash tun
Mix in 5.25 pounds of crushed grain mix at 60°F
Pour the 170°F water to fill mash tun to 2.50 gallon mark
Stir water and grain mixture and adjust to 150°F and mash for 60 minutes
Sparge with 170°F strike water to set mash bed to 168°F
Add 1 ounce of Saaz hops to boil pot as first wort hop addition
Lauter for 30 minutes adding 11.5 quarts of sweet wort to the boil pot

Full Wort Boil:
Add 1 ounce Chinook hops with 60 minutes remaining to boil
Add 1/8 tablet WhirlFloc with 9 minutes remaining to boil
Add 1 ounce Northern Brewer (UK) hops with 5 minutes minutes remaining to boil
Use Screwy's Cooler wort chiller to cool wort to 70°F

Primary Fermentation:
Pour wort through strainer to remove excess hop and grain debris
Fill the Mr. Beer fermenter with wort to the 8.5 quart mark
Aerate wort and pitch 1 package of Wyeast 1968 (London ESB) at 62°F
Add sanitized hop sack with 1 ounce of Cascade hops and marbles to fermenter
Ferment at 66°F for 19 days, raise to 70°F over days 20 to 21 for rest

Secondary Fermentation:
Rack to secondary fermenter and add 1 ounce of Cascade hops in sanitized muslin sack
Cold condition secondary fermenter for 1 week at 34°F

Keg and force carbonate at 30psi for 5-7 days at 34°F
Bottle prime and carbonate at 70° for 7-14 days

I decided to double up on the recipe and mash 10.5 pounds of grains at the same time, this theoretically saved me an hour and a half since I only had to mash and lauter a single batch. I used a mash calculator to figure out my mash volumes and temperatures.

I Mashed All 10.5 Pounds Of Grain At The Same Time

I like to hit my mash temperatures dead on the first try but this time after some last minute research I decided to lower my original 155°F mash temperature to 150°F. Using my Screwy's 5 Gallon Mash Tun I still had enough room to add a bit of cold filtered water and stir the mash to hit my new target in about 2-3 minutes.

Continuous Sparge Into Boil Pot With First Wort Hops

I combined the first runnings into 2 boil pots so that I could do both full wort boils on my stovetop. I  staggered the boil start times by 20 minutes, the amount of time it takes to chill the wort down to pitching temperature. This made it a easier when filling the Mr. Beer fermenters since each fermenter holds the contents of the boil pot.

1 Ounce Of Saaz Hops Added To Each Boil Pot At Start Of Sparge

I've never done first wort hopping before so after reading how it produces complex bitterness and aromas that are smooth and pleasing to the pallet I just had to give it a try. This recently rediscovered method dates back to the turn of the century when brewers used it to lower the ph of their mash and increase overall hop utilization during the boil. The boost in hop utilization can increase the wort IBUs by 10%, according to some sources, so it'll be interesting to taste this beer and find out just how hoppy it comes out.

First Runnings Cooled To 62°F For Pitching Yeast

I cooled the wort down to pitching temperature and used a strainer when racking it to keep the excess hop debris from getting into the primary fermenter. I didn't use muslin hop sacks this time as I would normally do, I wanted to see what difference it would make. The shear amount of all the hops in this beer caused the strainer to become clogged and require cleaning several times near the end of the pour.

I had smacked the liquid yeast packs the night before and left them to activate overnight at 72°F. The next afternoon I took them down to the brewhaus and left them adjust to 62°F so they would match the temperature of the wort when I pitched them. The packages were fully swollen which was a good sign since I had been too lazy to make a starter.

Second Runnings Boil Produces A Free Batch Of Beer

I also made a Mr. Beer sized batch using the second runnings from my original recipe. This is the first time I've ever tried this and I think it will make a pretty nice light beer. The best part of using the second runnings for a batch is that it's like getting free beer, if only I knew what to do with all those spent grains....

After 48 hours of fermentation the krausen is already starting to subside in the first running fermenters. The fermentation really took off fast in both fermenters both reaching high krausen within the first 24-26 hours after pitching. I left the fermenters in the basement overnight where it was a cool 60F to help offset and heat buildup created during the initial fermentation.

Screwy's India Pale Ale After 60 Hours Of Fermentation

The second runnings fermentation didn't start off that good, I had pitched some old yeast I had found in the back of the beerfrigerator and as expected it turned out to be a dud. To the rescue (I hope) came 2 left over packets of Mr. Beer dry yeast which I added to the second runnings fermenter.

Mr. Beer Dry Yeast Pitched After 60 Hours Of Fermentation

I didn't aerate the wort as I would do for an initial pitch, I gently stirred and swirled the wort until the dry yeast was mixed into the wort.

Gentle Swirling Of Mr. Beer Yeast Into Wort

This is a lesson to myself about unplanned brewing ideas and not being totally prepared to do it properly. I should have picked up another yeast to use for the second runnings while I was at the LHBS but didn't. I'll chalk this one up for experience for now and hope for the best, although I plan on repeating this again using better yeast the next time.

I racked the IPAs to clean secondaries last night to get the beer off of the yeast and hops they've been sitting on for the past 2 weeks. I do this routinely now to make sure I don't have a lot of trub to deal with when bottling or kegging as the transfer to the secondary really helps clear up the beer.

My original plan was to dry hop with another ounce of Cascade hops in the secondary for 7 days but after tasting the beer I decided instead to mix in some of the second runnings to add more malt flavor. The second runnings had a nice biscuit and malt flavor and didn't have any hop additions. The first runnings were already heavily hopped to my liking and I did want the complexity of the biscuit malt too.

After removing the dry hop sack and leaving the trub in the primary behind about 2 gallons of beer was racked to the secondary. I then racked about 1/4 gallon of the second runnings beer to this to bring the total volume up to 2 1/4 gallons, just right for my 2 1/2 gallon kegs.

Kegging The IPA

After soaking the kegs in One-Step cleanser for 10 minutes and then shaking them really good I pushed about a quart of the cleaning mixture out of the keg with Co2. I removed the lids and emptied the kegs then let them drain for5 minutes to get all the cleanser out before racking them with beer.

Racking Beer Into Clean Keg While Co2 Enters Via Pickup Tube
It takes only a few minutes to fill the keg with beer so I keep the valve cracked a tiny bit to allow Co2 to gently enter the bottom of the keg during the filling process. Doing this pushes oxygen out of the keg as it fills reducing the chances of oxidation impacting the kegged beer.

2.5 Gallon Keg About Halfway Filled With Co2 Bubbling From Bottom


  1. Well, not that this matters at all, but I'm not sure I would call this an English IPA. There are just too many American hops in there. Perhaps you should add a new Style to QBrew "Screwy IPA".

    My mouth is watering thinking about this beer. I am betting it will come out awesome.

    I sort of suspect that the 1oz saaz hops in the first wort hopping will be lost with everything else you put in there. It might contribute some bitterness, but there is a saturation point for IBU's, and I think you are probably over that anyway.

    I am interested in the 2nd runnings beer. Are you going to post details on it? Did you end up with a full Mr. Beer sized batch? What was the OG? How did you hop it? Did you use the same yeast to ferment it?

  2. Eric I think you're on to something here, a new entry 'Screwy IPA' for qBrew and I'm going to add it to my March qBrew update, thank you for the idea.

    I like the Oktoberfest/Marzen lager so much, I'm drinking a nice cold draft of it right now, that I can only hope the Screwy IPA ale comes close and turns me into a complete hop head.

    As for the second runnings I was able to fill another Mr. Beer fermenter and pitch some Mr. Beer yeast into it as well. My future posts will include how this one progresses and tastes.

  3. Screwy, I've used the yeast strain in the past a few times and really, really like it. It is a very active fermenter that jumps in, ferments, and drops out quickly. Wyeast even states... "Bright beers are easily achieved within days without any filtration."

    With that being said, I wouldn't leave the beer on that yeast too long. The fact that the yeast is done and dropped out early might also lead to a higher chance of autolysis. Do a hydro check and give it 2-3 days after reaching FG to clean up and you might want to a rack it off that yeast.

  4. I'm gonna go for the full 21 days in the primary as planned, I just see way to much activity in the fermenters to think this one will be done any sooner.

    As for autolysis I wouldn't start to be concerned about that issue unless I fermented in the primary for several months.....more to follow.

  5. Hey screwey, Ive been looking into expanding beyond products and am looking into different brands of malt extracts, dry and syrup. I cant seem to find out how much alcohol will be in the beer after x amount of pounds of extract has been added. Is there a known amount per pound the abv will go up using extracts? also i cant tell if the extract syrups already have hops added or not. any pointers?

  6. I use qBrew to calculate the ABV for each type of liquid or dry extract since it's ingredients library contains entries for almost every type, you can download it under here under "Brewing Tools & Formulas".

    But a general rule of thumb for a pound of extract in a gallon of water is 1.36 for liquid and 1.45 for dry malt extracts.

    Using an mash efficiency of 75% a pound of DME would give an ABV of 2% while a pound of LME would give an ABV of 1.6%.

    HME is short for 'Hopped Malt Extract'
    UME is short for 'Unhopped Malt Extract'
    LME is short for 'Liquid Malt Extract'
    DME is short for 'Dry Malt Extract'

    If any of the extracts contain hops the packaging should clearly say so, although you won't really know which types of hops are in it.

  7. You need to pick up a hydrometer first chance you get. Your fermentation is done in a matter of days. After that, it is conditioning/aging. Those extra days after you've reached FG could just as easily be spent in bottles.

    I hope your brew turns out great :)

  8. I racked it off to a secondary after 14 days and I still see signs of activity even after 7 days in the secondary. I'll be kegging it today and putting the kegs in the refrigerator and force carbonating with 30 psi for 5-7 days at 34F.

    You're right I should post my hydrometer readings, fact is I have owned one for months but I'm too lazy to use it. I've been having such consistently good results, and great tasting beer, without using it I really don't miss using it.

  9. I agree it's easy to brew without one. Sometimes residual carbonation in the keg after fermentation can appear as yeast activity. The only accurate way to know when the yeast are finished is through gravity readings. The results can be surprising. I've had beer brewed one weekend that was force carbed and in a glass the next. That is definitely the exception and not the rule though.

    All in all it is better to wait a little too long rather than bottle/keg early.

  10. Hey Screwster,
    Have you calculated/guestimated the final IBUs?
    I brewed and IPA on the 11th o March w/ N.B. And Cascade that when racked on the 15th was to bitter, almost to bitter to drink and no aroma. Initial SG 1.056 & 50 IBUs. So I added another ½ oz Cascade...
    Is your brew drinkable? What do you figure the IBUs are?

  11. The guesstimated IBUs came in around 134 and the beer was highly drinkable with a nice biscuit malt finish. Definitely a hop lovers brew but even a non-hophead could drink this beer.

    I didn't add the last dry hop since after racking it to the secondary I felt it didn't need it.