Thursday, December 1, 2011

Screwy's Recipe 64 - Burstin' Out Pale Ale

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to have the house to myself long enough to brew two all grain IPA recipes back to back. I picked up the ingredients Friday afternoon at Princeton Homebrew and started preheating my mash tun by 11:00am on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. Having this much uninterrupted brewing time allowed me to focus on some of the finer details of my brewing process and to try out a few new ideas. I was even lucky enough to take home two 125ml bottles of East Coast Yeast's ECY-12 which really made my day.

2-Row /Crystal 10L Malt With Cascades, Centennial And Columbus Hops
My goal was to brew an American IPA style beer using mostly 2-Row as the base malt with just a bit of Crystal 10L to add some sweetness. The idea was to let the hops come through loud and clear so I used a hop schedule that added more than half of the IBUs in the form of flavor and aroma hopping. While I was at it why not include first wort hopping in the process too, and so I did. The ECY-12 would be the perfect yeast choice to ferment this beer too because it's such a clean fermenter at 58F, it's a lager like yeast but not really a true lager yeast.

The bittering levels for an American IPA are between 60-70 IBUs and this recipe calculated out to be 71 IBUs with an original gravity of 1.061. I started my hop schedule by lautering 5 gallons of wort onto an ounce of Columbus hops and then adding another ounce of Centennial at 20 minutes and the other 2 ounces of Cascades at 10 and 7 minutes before flameout. I also held a couple of ounces of Cascades in reserve to be used for dry hopping once the primary fermentation is done. With 15 minutes remaining to the boil I added a tablet of WhirlFloc to help coagulate some of the proteins and make them easier to keep out of the fermentor.

1.080 Start Of Lauter 1.030 End Of Lauter And 1.060 Original Gravity
I used a single infusion mash for 60 minutes at 155F to prepare the wort for lautering. after the wort was running clear I took my sweet time fly sparging and filled the 5 gallon boilpot in a little over 30 minutes. Since the ECY-12 yeast is a medium attenuator and this beer comes in at just under 6% ABV I chose a mash temperature of 155F, your mileage may vary if you use a lower or higher attenuating yeast or a higher ABV brew. For a lower attenuating yeast you may want to mash a few degrees lower and just the opposite for a higher attenuating yeast. Whichever yeast you use be sure it ferments cleanly without producing excessive ester, phenol or other overpowering flavors that will interfere with the up front hop character so important in an American IPA style beer. 

1 Ounce Of Columbus Hops Added As First Wort Hop Addition
The trick to getting this high IBU beer right is in getting all that great IPA hopping without turning the beer bitter. I've used First Wort Hopping several times in my IPAs and I'm a believer in any process that claims increased bittering without introducing any harsh resin or vegetable off flavors. So into the boilpot the Columbus hops went submerged in hot wort for the entire 30 minute lauter, another 30 minutes while the wort reached the boiling point followed by a good 60 minute boil. The other big challenge to making a good American IPA is loading up the wort with enough hop aroma and flavor so that it will remain hop forward after spending a month or two in the bottle or keg. I've heard from other brewers and experienced it myself where a nice hoppy beer at bottling kind of losses it's aroma after sitting in the bottle for a few months, this is what I'm trying to avoid by using the hop bursting technique.

Vorlauf Wort Until The Grain Bed Sets And The Wort Runs Clear
If you've done all grain brewing before and used a mash tun you know the first few quarts of wort to drain out during the lauter are pretty cloudy and loaded with bits of grains as shown in the picture on the left. After recirculating, or performing the vorlauf process, until the grain bed has been set the wort runs clear as shown in the picture on the right. I took the extra time to recirculate the wort before lautering so that only the clearest wort went into the boilpot. The lauter itself took a little over 30 minutes, I always set a timer at the start of the lauter and adjust the flow so I fill a quarter of the pot every 7-10 minutes until it's filled with 19 quarts of wort. I keep the lid on top of the boilpot the entire time to keep the heat in and any flying bugs out and it takes my stove 30 minutes to bring the wort up to a boil. As the water in the wort evaporates I replace it about halfway through the boil with boiling water I keep in a separate pot just for that purpose. At the end of the boil I remove the hops sacks and add enough of the boiling water so that the wort level is a half inch down from the top of the boilpot. That's just enough room so the wort doesn't spill out when I carry it over to the sink and put my wort cooler in it to cool the wort down quickly.

Screwy's Burstin Out Pale Ale
Size 5.00 gallons: Estimated IBU=74, SRM=5, OG=1.061, FG=1.015, ABV= 5.9%

Click to download this recipe file for qBrew

10.5 pounds US 2 Row
0.5 pound Crystal 20L

1 ounce Columbus (pellets)
1 ounce Centennial (pellets)
3 ounces Cascade (pellets)

East Coast Yeast ECY12 - Old Newark Beer™
White Labs WLP001 - American Ale Yeast™

Mash at 155° F for 60 minutes.
Boil for 60 minutes.
Ferment at WLP001 at 68° F (18.8 °C), ECY12 at 58° F (14.0 °C) until final gravity is reached.

  Click to download Screwy's latest qBrew database   
Infusion Mash: (Soak mash tun in 8 quarts of 170° F water for 20 minutes, preheat and dump it)
Heat 21 quarts of filtered water to 165° F
Pour 14 quarts of 165° F water into mash tun
Mix in 11.0 pounds of crushed grain mix at 68° F
Pour the remaining 165° F water to fill mash tun to 4.50 gallon mark
Stir water and grain mixture and adjust to 155° F and mash for 60 minutes
Fly sparge with 168° F strike water to set mash bed to 168° F
Lauter for 30 minutes adding 19 quarts of sweet wort to 20 quart pot

Full Wort Boil:
Add 1.0 ounce Columbus hops as the FWH added to boil pot during lauter
Add 1.0 ounce Centennial hops with 20 minutes remaining to boil
Add 1/2 tablet WhirlFloc with 15 minutes remaining to boil
Add 1.0 ounce Cascade hops with 10 minutes remaining to boil
Add 1.0 ounce Cascade hops with 7 minutes remaining to boil
(Dry hop 1.0 ounce Cascade hops after primary fermentation for 5 days)

Primary Fermentation:
Use autosiphon to prevent excess hop and grain debris from getting into fermenter
Fill two Mr. Beer fermenters equally with wort and top off with filtered water to just above the 8.5 quart mark
Aerate wort and pitch WLP001 at 70° F or ECY12 at 60° F
Ferment to final gravity, raise to 3-5° F over 2 days, dry hop and hold for 5 days

Secondary Fermentation:
Keg and force carbonate at 30 psi for 2-3 days at 34°F
Keg with priming sugar, purge with Co2 and naturally carbonate for 7-14 days at 68°F
Bottle prime and carbonate at 68° for 14 to 21 days

Adding Mr. Beer Yeast As Nutrient
Once the wort got up to a good hard boil I started my countdown timer. The wort boiled pretty much unattended for the next 40 minutes before I had anything more to do to so I started getting my next hop additions, wort cooler and racking cane ready. During this time I gently rolled the ECY12 yeast every once in while to mix the cells up into solution in the bottle so they all poured out easily into the fermentor when pitched. The East Coast Yeast bottles contain a huge amount of yeast cells packed into a large 125ml jar. I have no problem splitting a single jar into two separate jars for pitching into each of my two 2.4 gallon fermentors since each 125ml jar of yeast is capable of fermenting 5 gallons of beer.

Each ECY Bottle Contains Massive Cell Counts
The ECY12 is priced the same as Wyeast or White Labs liquid yeast and each ECY jar contains at least twice the amount of yeast in a typical smack pack or tube, making using this exceptional yeast a no brainer. Not to mention that the yeast is grown locally by Al Buck, hand delivered in a cooler to Princeton Homebrew my LHBS and is awesome for fermenting just about any type and style of beer. Princeton Homebrew is the exclusive distributor of East Coast Yeast and currently ships up to 7 vials anywhere in the United States for $16.00 including ice pack and bubble wrap. Orders are now available to be placed online using PayPal and you can subscribe to the ECY Google Group by visiting the Princeton Homebrew website and getting the latest East Coast Yeast inventory information. You should act fast though the last shipment was sold out in just 21 minutes.

Sanitize 2 Bottles, Split And Pitch Into 2 Fermentors
With 5 minutes remaining in the boil the brewhaus aromas coming off of the wort were by now unmistakable and pure heaven to breathe. Even with the continuous movement of fresh air being blown in one window and hot boil vapors being exhausted out another window at a fast rate it was very obvious to anyone in the room we were making beer. As the count down timer rang out signaling the end of the boil I used a pair of sanitized stainless steel tongs to begin removing all four hop sacks from the boil pot. I placed them inside a strainer placed on top of a small aluminum pot to allow any remaining wort to drip out before emptying the spent hops into the garbage. I learned the hard way that spent hops and grains need to be drained, bagged and taken outside to be disposed of as soon as possible on brewday. The first and last time I didn't do that the brewhaus got infested with fruit flies, it seems they really like breeding in spent hops for some reason.

Giving The Boiling Wort Some Final Stirs Before Flameout
To help cool the boiling hot wort down quickly I filled one side of my double sink up halfway with cold water and about a dozen frozen water bottles to get the temperature of the water even lower, basically making a huge ice bath to place the boil pot in. After removing all the hop sacks and pouring in enough boiling make up water to raise the level of the wort up to a half inch below the top of the boil pot I carried the boil pot over to the sink and placed it in the ice bath. I quickly put my wort cooler into the boil pot and connected it to the sink after routing a vinyl tubing from the discharge end of the cooler to the drain of the other double sink. As the boil pot sat in the ice bath I opened the valve on my filtered water faucet letting the water flow into the ice bath raising the level up to an inch below the top of the boil pot, to totally submerse the wort in cold water. Using the ice bath with the wort cooler to cool down the hot wort dropped the wort temperature very quickly from 212F to 90F in about 10 minutes or so. I was able to get the wort down to it's 65F pitching temperature in about another 20 minutes, stirring the wort once or twice to keep the hot wort in contact with the cold sides of the boil pot and cooler coils helped it along.

Large Double Sink Makes For A Huge Functional Ice Bath
With the wort cooled down to pitching temperature, the hop sacks removed and the fermentors and racking cane sanitized it was now time to transfer the wort to the LBKs. Stirring the wort while it was cooling off helped form a nice pile of trub in the center of the boil pot which worked perfectly with the racking cane and clip I use to transfer the wort. Since the thickest part of the trub pile is near the center of the pot and the racking cane hangs close to the wall of the boil pot the wort is easily transferred clean to the fermentors. Once again having a double sided sink comes in handy because by simply putting a temporary shelf across the top of one side, placing the boil pot on it and the fermentors in the bottom of the other side allows the wort to transfer by gravity. I found the top of an old unused cooler that fits perfectly across the top of my sink without sliding and therefore eliminating any chance of accidentally spilling hot wort. The top is made of plastic which is easy to clean and sanitize as needed, it was a very lucky find for me and I use it all the time.

Happiness Is Racking Clear Trub Free Wort Easily
As all the racking and cooling was going on I managed to keep turning and gently shaking the two bottles of East Coast Yeast I was going to pitch. I do this to get as many cells into suspension as possible by keeping them stirred up and preventing the cells from sticking to the bottles walls. I do this with all brands and types of liquid yeast because I want to end up with as many cells as possible in my fermentor and not inside the bottles to be thrown away. Another interesting fact I found out is that fruit flies are also attracted to yeast solutions whether it be rehydrated dry yeast or liquid yeast. I mention this because it took me nearly a week to eliminate the infestation of fruit flies from my brewhaus and until I did I got a first hand look at what they were attracted to. If you've ever had a similar experience you know what a nuisance they can be especially when your transferring cooled wort and pitching yeast, they seem to be everywhere and shooing them away gets to be a real pain.

Pitching Half A Bottle Of ECY12 Directly Into Fermentor
With the wort transferred to the fermentors, the yeast stirred up into solution and both my hands hurting form aerating the wort for several minutes it was time to unscrew the top of the bottles and pitch the ECY12 yeast. Once the yeast was pitched it was back to aerating the wort all over again for several more minutes so that I could get as much oxygen as I could back into the wort before screwing on the fermentor lids. After boiling the wort mostly all of the oxygen that was present in it before the boil was now gone. Since yeast need oxygen, during their initial lag and growth phases in order to multiply and build up energy for the upcoming fermentation, aerating the wort is the only way to put the oxygen back in it. Sore hands are the price I pay for manually aerating the wort instead of investing in an O2 tank, gauges and diffuser stone which would make aeration much easier and actually increase the levels of oxygen to higher levels than when using a spoon.

Cleaning Up The Mash Tun After The Lauter Was Done
A typical all grain brew day takes me 5-6 hours from start to finish including cleaning up all my brewing gear and storing it away until my next brew day. I brew 5 gallon batches now all the time and rack the wort that's made into two 2.4 gallon Mr. Beer fermentors. I started out doing it this way because I bought 6 of the smaller fermentors when I first got started brewing beer and since then I have found them to be pretty versatile. They are easier to carry around when full and to clean when empty. Their smaller capacity let's me fill up two of them from a single 5 gallon batch and allows my to ferment or dry hop one of them a little differently than the other and judge the results to see which one is the best. It also allows me to mix the two together to take the experimentation a bit further if needed. The LBKs work well as secondary fermentors and double as bottling buckets too and it's not too rare that I have all 6 of them in use at the same time.

Final Gravity Reading 1.012 At Bottling
The Burstin' Out Pale Ale was ready to bottle in about 10 days after pitching the ECY12 yeast into it and fermenting it at 58-60F until I got the final gravity reading of 1.012, which actually finished about 2-3 points lower than qBrew had calculated. I always naturally carbonate my kegged beer so I added to each 2.5 gallon corny keg 5 tablespoons of pure cane sugar boiled for 5 minutes in half a cup of filtered water then cooled down to 68F. This comes out to roughly a half a teaspoon full of pure cane sugar per 12 ounce bottle and adds between 2.5 - 2.75 volumes of Co2 which is just perfect for this style of beer.

First Pour From Bottle At 12 Days
 Bingo! What more can I say, at only 12 days old this beer is already perfect. I'm not sure how to describe it but I'll try. The first thing you notice when opening the bottle is that familiar 'ppfftt' immediately followed by an aroma that is undoubtedly what you'd expect from an awesome IPA. Not bitter at all but full of hop aroma and flavor with great lacing and head retention. The ECY12 cleanly fermented this beer letting all the hop aroma and flavors through with absolutely no traces of astringency or resinous off flavors. I only had two bottles to sample but they were both delicious so I just racked a corny keg in the refrigerator for drinking this weekend. I feel like I've died and gone to hop heaven.

Naturally Carbonated And Delicious
 After sharing this beer with a few of my favorite hop loving friends, and some family members that don't care for hoppy beers at, I am now convinced that this recipe is destined to be real favorite of mine. Full of American hop aroma that hits you square in the face as you lift the glass to take your very first sip. Next thing that takes you by surprise is the soft smooth mouth feel and the amount of pure hop flavor in each sip.

Perfectly Balanced, Not Bitter And Naturally Carbonated
 Nothing stands in the way of the beer when delivering the most favorable hop flavor and aromas directly to you with each and every taste. Its soft golden color reminds me of fields of grain waving in the wind on a midsummer afternoon. Burstin' Out Pale Ale's unsurpassed long lasting foam, superior lacing and 'session' beer-like qualities are deceptive of it's nearly 6.0% ABV alcohol content. I'd suggest this beer with a pepperoni pizza while sitting down watching a good movie.


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  2. I'm back for another visit.
    Great pictures and information!
    Your blog is one of my go-to reference sites before I google. :-)

  3. Hello,
    Why did you call the beer "Burstin'Out" ?

    cheers 'n' beers !

  4. This batch was my first try at hop bursting, so that and sampling good homebrew while brewing it was the inspiration for the recipe's name.