Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Chapman Fermenter - Closed Transfer Modification

The plastic fermenters in my brew room are nearly ten years old and ready for replacement. They still produce a good quality beer but they're not likely to support closed transfer keg filling. Using Co2 to push beer into a keg under pressure without having to rely on gravity solves two problems. Not having to deadlift fermenters out of a fermentation chamber will eliminate back strain. And pushing beer into a keg using Co2 will keep the beer fresher by preventing oxygen absorption.

Low Pressure Co2 Closed Transfer To Keg 
The ported Chapman seven gallon UniVessel Tank with ball valve best fit my budget and needs for a stainless steel fermenter. They are well made and sturdy enough for use in low-pressure transfers. However, a few modifications will need to be made to their lids. The center hole needs to be blocked to seal the tank. Holes for a gas ballock and thermowell weldless bulkhead fittings need to be drilled.

Co2 Ballock and Thermowell Weldless Bulkhead Fittings
Tool List:

  • A spray can of no-stick cooking oil 
  • 3/16 inch drill bit 
  • 1/4 to 7/8 inch step bit
  • 3/8 inch electric drill
  • Ruler, center punch and hammer
  • Channel-lock pliers or adjustable wrenches

Mark Center Of Hole Location And Dimple With Center Punch and Hammer
Cooking oil is a food-safe lubricant and perfect for drilling holes in stainless steel. It is easy to wipe off with a paper towel and remove with OxiClean.

Before drilling the 3/16 inch pilot hole spray cooking oil on the lid at the location of the hole. Apply downward pressure on the drill while quickly turning the motor on and off. This will prevent the drill bit from overheating and dulling it.

Slowly Drill Pilot Hole In Lid
Next, coat the step bit with cooking oil. And slowly use it to enlarge the pilot hole to a 1/2 inch diameter. Wipe off any excess oil and drill shavings from the lid.

Increase Hole Size From 3/16 To 1/2 Inch Diameter
Then turn the lid over and carefully remove any sharp edges using the step bit. Using a slow drill speed and minimal downward pressure of the drill motor. Care should be taken to remove any sharp burrs without making the hole larger than 1/2 inch in diameter.

Fermenter Lid With Gas Post And Thermowell Installed
With the holes deburred and all cooking oil removed the weldless bulkhead fittings can be installed. By hand start the threaded fittings into the holes in the top of the lid. Use a wrench if needed to thread the fittings all the way into each hole. Screw the lock nuts with washers on from the lid bottom. Snug the lock nuts up to the fittings hand tight. Then use a pair of wrenches to firmly tighten the lock nuts and fittings. Avoid over-tightening the fittings at this point. Squeezing the washers too tight may cause the fittings to leak or damage the washers.

#10 Rubber Stopper With 5/16 Inch Bolt, Nut And Washers
Stainless Steel Hardware List:

  • 2 - 5/16 x 2 inch hex bolts
  • 2 - 5/16 inch fender washers
  • 2 - 5/15 inch flat washers
  • 2 - 5/16 inch hex head nuts

To seal the 1 3/4 inch hole in the center of the lid with a #10 rubber stopper. Drill a 1/4 inch hole down through the center of the stopper. Then thread a 5/16 x 2 inch bolt with a fender, flat and lock washer into the narrow end of the stopper. Push the stopper into the center hole from the top of the lid. Add a fender, flat, lock washer and nut to the bolt end and firmly tighten them together. This will compress and expand the stopper in the hole creating an airtight seal.

Modified 7 Gallon Fermenters In A G&E 7 Cubic Foot Chest Freezer
When fermenting a Kolsch style beer using 1/4 inch inside diameter blowoff tubes connected to the gas posts. The 5.25 gallons of wort inside the 7-gallon fermenters left plenty of headroom for fermentation without fear of clogging the blowoff tubes. When fermenting a heavily hopped beer using a larger diameter blowoff tube is a good idea. Just unscrew the gas posts and clamp 1/2 inch inside diameter silicone tubing to the threaded end of the bulkhead fittings. The larger diameter tubing will further reduce the chance of clogging. But as far as this batch of beer goes primary fermentation is nearly done and everything is working out perfectly.

The maximum pressure rating of the Chapman fermenters is 3 psi. Use care not to exceed 2-3 psi when leak testing or using the fermenter under pressure. Failure to do so can cause the fermenter lid to become disfigured. Other than that as per Steve Chapman "The fermenters hold up just fine for pressure transfers, and many other uses."

Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Ultimate Hazy NE IPA Brewday

It's definitely about the haze! Case in point, Sloop Brewing Company's Juice Bomb NE IPA. Hazy, golden and unfiltered. This Northeastern style IPA continues to be one of my favorite beers to both drink and brew. Over a two year period, I managed to brew a hundred gallons of what has become my favorite NE IPA recipe. Having this much beer on hand allowed me to share it with a very wide range of beer drinkers. Having sampled from several of my batches many commented on how much they like this beer. Including some who avoid IPAs because they find them to be undrinkable. While a small percentage did not care for this style the majority of beer drinkers liked it.

Sloop Juice Bomb Northeastern IPA Clone

Without a doubt, the 'Haze Craze' is a popular topic of conversation for craft beer enthusiasts. The style has generated a lot of questions and its fair share of controversy too. Tales about the rapid oxidation of NE IPAs soon after packaging are not uncommon. And the pains some brewers are taking to avoid it are astounding. But by following a few simple guidelines I have managed to avoid oxidation issues in any of my batches. The following information is a proven approach you can use to brew the ultimate Juice Bomb NE IPA clone.

Hazy Versus Cloudy 

Any discussion of the NE IPA style eventually leads to the question of "what causes the haze to form?". While some brewers say they add raw flour to their beer to make it cloudy. In reality, the secret to brewing a juicy tasting beer with a long lasting haze comes down to two things. Biotransformations and permanent chill haze. The former describes the process of converting non-aromatic hop compounds into aromatic compounds. Aromas that include citrus pine and floral that would otherwise not be present. The later is a product of malt protein and hop polyphenols that cause a beer to form a haze at cold temperatures. It is worth noting that permanent chill haze is flavorless having no impact on beer taste.

There are very good reasons not to add flour to a beer. Flour will make a beer cloudy, murky and opaque. But flour will not make a hazy beer. To me adding flour to a beer in an attempt to make it hazy is pretty much nothing more than a ruse. Adding flour to beer will make the beer murky and also introduce flavor and stability issues. Another thing to avoid is using a low flocculating strain of yeast. The cells of those strains will make your beer cloudy by staying in suspension longer. But they will also add a yeasty flavor profile that is uncharacteristic for a true NE IPA beer style.

Add Plenty Of Whirlpool And Dry Hops

On To The Recipe

I first learned about Sloop Brewing Company and their Juice Bomb NE IPA at my daughter's wedding. It was the only IPA that Foxfire Mountain House had on tap at the time. Little did I know then but Zymurgy Magazine had published a Juice Bomb clone recipe in their May/June 2017 issue. In that same issue, Martin Brungard also had an article for creating the perfect NE IPA water profile! Coincidence? Or had the stars had aligned at the right moment in time? After rejecting the idea of brewing a hazy beer for months I finally relented.

Hops are a major contributor to the appearance and taste of an NE IPA. Having the ability to whirlpool hops after flameout for an extended period of time is a must. Especially when it comes to juicing up aroma to NE IPA levels. Late boil, whirlpool, and dry hop additions each contribute a different aroma character. This recipe relies on whirlpool hops and dry hops for its aroma. At flameout whirlpool the hop addition until the wort temperature drops to [170 ° F/76 ° C]. When brewing a [10-gallon/38 L] batch this process takes approximately 45 minutes on my system.

I like the citrus character that Cascade hops add. And I've modified the original recipe to include them in the whirlpool. About ~75% of the total IBUs come from the whirlpool and dry hop additions. The remaining ~25% of the total IBUs come from a small 30 minute Citra hop addition. The following ingredient amounts listed are for a [10-gallon/38 L] batch of Juice Bomb. When brewing a [5-gallon/19 L] batch divide the ingredient amounts in half where applicable

Juice Bomb Original Gravity 1.059

I realize not everyone brews 10-gallon batches on a 15-gallon BIAB system like I do. For convenience follow the link to ezRecipe "The easy way to awesome beer!" Use it as needed to adjust this recipe to work with your brewing system. ezRecipe is a 100% free full-featured recipe designer that is easy to learn and easy to use. And it's available now in both US and Metric versions.

Remove the complexities of mash pH prediction once and for all. ezRecipe uses 100% pure reverse osmosis or distilled source water. No more struggling to interpret outdated or incomplete water reports.

10-gallon/38 L Batch Size:

Adjust Mash Strike Water Volume Efficiency And Thickness Where Needed

When preparing the wort mash the grains at 148 ° F [64 ° C] for 60 minutes. Using ezBIAB makes it easy to adjust the brewhouse settings to your own brewing system. My brewing system needs a 13.5-gallon [51-liter] pre-boil wort volume. A 11.75-gallon [44.5-liter] post boil wort volume. And a 12-gallon [45.5-liter] treated mash strike water volume. Remember to adjust the mash efficiency to match that of your brewing system. Targeting a 75% mash efficiency is a safe bet for most BIAB systems. Although after brewing several batches my results are a few percentage points higher.


Nothing At All Complicated About The Grain Bill

Ever since moving to a BIAB system I like to double crush my grain to increase mash efficiency. Crushing the grain no more than a day or two in advance will assure the most freshness. Giving the mash a good stir every 15 to 20 minutes will also help increase mash efficiency too.

 21 lbs. [9.5 kg] Pale 2 Row-US Malt
  2 lbs. [0.9 kg] Torrified Wheat-US


** Optional  Can Be Added To Increase ABV If Desired **

As far as adding an adjunct to increase the recipe's alcohol content I leave that up to the brewer to decide. If omitted the ABV of this recipe will be 5.8% instead of 6.5%. To me the increased alcohol content is a nice to have. It dries the beer a bit and adds what I perceive to be a subtle sweetness that works well with this beer style. Add the sugar to the wort while stirring with 10 minutes remaining to the boil and you're done.

  1.5 lbs. [.68 kg] Pure Cane Sugar

Brewing Water:

Classic Brewing Water Profile For A NE IPA

Filtering your reverse osmosis water the day before will save time on brewday. I store the water in a covered 15-gallon food grade tank overnight. The next morning I stir in the gypsum, calcium chloride, Epsom Salt and lactic acid additions. An hour or so later allowing time for the brewing water pH to stabilize I transfer the brewing water to the mash tun. My BIAB vessel is too small to hold the grains and brewing water at the same time. So I filter an extra 4-gallons [15.1-liters] of water to use for sparging the grains to hit the required pre-boil volume. The sparge water for this recipe doesn't need brewing salts or acid additions.

Hop Additions (Pellets):

Add Whirlpool Addition At Flameout And Circulate Until Wort Drops To 170 ° F [76 ° C]

One of the goals when brewing a NE IPA is to cut out all harsh bitterness that's associated with an IPA style beer. The hop schedule and brewing water set this recipe apart from the typical IPA. Unlike the IPA style the majority of IBUs in a NE IPA come from late kettle hop additions and from dry hopping. While the NE IPA brewing water profile delivers a maltier character one not as harsh or bitter as an IPA.

A single bitterness hop addition goes in at 30 minutes remaining to the boil and is removed at flameout. The whirlpool hops are then added and the wort circulated until the temperature falls to 170 ° F [76.5 ° C]. This takes about 45 minutes on my BIAB electric system. Remove all whirlpool hops once the wort cools down to [170 ° F/76 ° C]. Using a counter-flow chiller to cool the wort when filling the fermenters takes about 20 to 30 minutes.

Once the airlock slows to 3 or 4 bubbles per minute its time to add the dry hops to the fermenters. Put the dry hop additions in a weighted hop bag to keep them completely submerged in the fermenting beer. I use sanitized stainless steel bolts as weights with great results. When dry hopping the most recent batches I left the hops soaking in the fermenting beer for 7 days. The end result was an pleasant easy to drink beer loaded with juicy citrus flavor and aromas.

2 ozs. [57 g] Citra - first wort hop addition
2 ozs. [57 g] Amarillo Gold - whirlpool
2 ozs. [57 g] Cascade - whirlpool
2 ozs. [57 g] Citra - whirlpool
2 ozs. [57 g] Simcoe - whirlpool
2 ozs. [57 g] Amarillo Gold - dry hop
8 ozs. [227 g] Citra - dry hop
2 ozs. [56.7 g] Simcoe - dry hop

Yeast And Fermentation:

The recommended yeast for fermenting this recipe is White Labs - English Ale Yeast WLP002. A very high flocculation strain with medium  attenuation. For best results make a yeast starter and pitch at a rate of 200 billion yeast cells per [5-gallons/19-liters] of beer. For a [10-gallon/38-liter] batch make a starter using [1-cup/180-grams] extra light dry malt extract in 2000-ml water. Into the room temperature wort pitch 2 - White Labs English Ale Yeast WLP002 pure pitch packets. Use a stirplate to keep the cells oxygenated until the starter reaches high krausen.

Yeast Starter To Increase Cell Count And Vitality

After oxygenating the wort pitch the starter and ferment at [65 ° F/18.3 ° C] to reduce ester production. Starting on day 8 increase the fermentation temperature until it reaches [68 ° F/20 ° C] on day 12. Allow 2 days to cold crash the beer. Transfer to kegs and carbonate at 12-psi for one week before serving.

Pitch Yeast And Ferment At [65 ° F/18.3 ° C]

Nothing brings people together better than enjoying a few delicious beers. Juice Bomb NE IPA is best enjoyed with friends and family alike. One thing is for sure. Once they've tried this beer they will always come back for more. So keep this recipe handy and be ready for the next time you're asked to brew a batch.

You'll Love Juice Bomb Either On Tap Or In Bottles