Category Archives: Breweries

Getting Punk’d. Brewing up a Brew Dog Punk I.P.A….

Punk IPAA few of my beer drinking buddies have shed a few tears because we can’t get Brew Dog’s Punk IPA here in Ontario anymore. It showed up briefly at local LCBO’s and then vanished just as quickly, never to be seen again.

I remember trying it, and at the time, I thought it fairly easy drinking, but really neither here nor there. I must be clear though, that is in no way a comment on Brew Dog’s brewing, it’s because I’m not the biggest fan of Nelsen Sauvin hops, which they use a lot of. I know, some of you out there are cursing me as I say that, but it’s just my personal taste, nothing more.

I must repeat, my personal taste is in no way a reflection of my opinion of Brew Dog itself. Brew Dogs’ story is extremely inspiring. The way they were able to grow as a result of thinking outside the box in both marketing approach, and financing, have most start-ups drooling. Not to mention their videos are a blast to watch! Check out their take on Punk IPA:

They seem like a bunch of very fun dudes.  I seriously wish them nothing but a continuation of their already very successful trajectory.

So, back to our dilemma, since we have no Punk IPA in these parts, what to do? David Thompson, who was over a ways back to collaborate on a brew to clone Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout, brought with him a clone he made of Punk IPA. If I remember correctly, it tasted pretty spot on to what I remember the original tasting like. The signature obviously being the hop profile. I asked him to send me the recipe he had for future reference, which he kindly did. I’ve had it tucked it away all this time, and thought now would be a good time to give it a go as I hate to see tears on my friends faces when hey can’t get a beer they want. (haha, just teasing you Brewtal Honesty!)

photo 1

Looking to Brew Dog’s site for some verification, I tweaked the recipe slightly to match the information I was able to glean from it:

  • ABV: 5.6%
  • OG: 1053
  • IBU’s: 45
  • 100% Marris Otter Extra Pale Malt
  • Chinook, Simcoe, Ahtanum, Nelson Sauvin

David’s recipe had no 60 min addition in it, which I found interesting, so I opted to toss a tiny bit of Chinook in at 60mins just for fun. Maybe omitting the 60 min addition is part of the magic? I guess we’ll have to wait and see…

One other thing I don’t know is what kind of yeast they use. I usually start off with my old standby of US-05 first to see if everything else is in line, and then play with the yeast after I’ve established the general idea.

photo 2

A NOTE ON THE RECIPE: Having the last hop addition calculated at 1 minute puts the IBU’s high at 57, but having them at flameout drops them to 36, even though you’d still get some IBU’s while whirlpooling/standing to chill. I’m going by what David did originally, which was delicious, but to match the original, I may need to tweak this. Either way, the combo is going to provide that special Punk IPA profile.

Hoptomology’s Punk IPA clone

Recipe Specifications:
————————–
TYPE: All Grain
Boil Size: 6.31 gal
Post Boil Volume: 5.46 gal
Batch Size: 5.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.054 SG
Estimated Color: 4.8 SRM
Estimated IBU: 57.5 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes
————
Ingredients:
————————–
MALT:
9 lbs 8.0 oz       Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)
HOPS:
0.070 oz            Chinook [13 %] – Boil 60.0 min
0.700 oz            Chinook [11 %] – Boil 30.0 min
0.300 oz            Chinook [11 %] – Boil 15.0 min
0.300 oz            Nelson Sauvin [12 %] – Boil 15.0 min
0.300 oz            Simcoe [13 %] – Boil 15.0 min
0.650 oz            Ahtanum [6 %] – Boil 1.0 min
0.650 oz            Chinook [11 %] – Boil 1.0 min
0.650 oz            Nelson Sauvin [12 %] – Boil 1.0 min
0.650 oz            Simcoe [13 %] – Boil 1.0 min
1 oz  each           Chinook/Nelson Sauvin/Simcoe – Dry Hop 5.0 Days
YEAST:
1.0 pkg               Safale American  Ale  (US-05)
—————————-
Single Infusion Mash       152.0 F     60 min Batch sparge with 168.0 F water
Ferment at 68F for 10 days followed by 5 days for dry hopping
I’ll post results when ready.
Cheers!

Bringing Union Jack IPA to Canada; comparing my version to the original…

Uinion Jack IPA

Kicking back over a recent weekend, I found a good time to sit down and compare my Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA with the original.

I had tasted my version before this and really liked it, but had no idea how it would stack up to the real thing. Turns out, they were both excellent IPA’s, but there were some definite differences…

Appearance

  • colour was slightly darker in my version
  • foam stability was about the same

Malt & Body

  • malt character was more complex and richer in the original
  • body was slightly more full in the original

Hops

  • This is where I noticed the biggest difference. The h0p aroma was more present in mine due to freshness, but it had an entirely different character than the original. Mine had a very dominant ‘rose’ character to it, something I had never experienced in a beer before.  I did read an article in Zymurgy recently that discussed how the finished aroma of dry hopping can be incredibly different depending on how much yeast is present in the beer. There are numerous bio-reactions that happen that convert and change the myriad molecules involved in hop aroma. I was in a bit of a rush to get this one kegged to see whether or not it was worthy of a NHC submission, so I did something I had never done before. Continue reading

The 2013 Ontario Brewing Awards…

OBA

After recently receiving my certification as a “Recognized” BJCP Beer Judge, I had the chance to judge at my first competition, the Ontario Brewing Awards. It proved to be a great experience as I got to sit with more seasoned judges at the Beer Academy and go through some of the amazing beers that are coming out of this province. On the first of two nights we judged the Honey/ Maple category and the Amber Ales. On the second night we judged the Cream Ale category and the final round of the American IPA’s.

Beer Academy

Last night was the Award ceremony at the beautiful Gladstone Hotel on Queen St. West. I was very eager to see which beers stood out as being the best of the bunch. Some of them were surprising, others were not. It was also great to see some new up and coming brewers/breweries make their mark.

If you haven’t tried some of these beers, maybe you should!

Congratulations to all of this years winners! Continue reading

Brewing a west coast classic: Firestone Walker’s Union Jack I.P.A….

Union Jack IPA Firestone Walker is not a name you hear too often up here in Toronto. We kind of live behind an iron curtain of sorts when it comes to the amazing selection of craft beers in the United States.

As my interest in the American craft beer scene deepens, I’ve been hearing more and more about them. It seems like they have something very special going on out there in Paso Robles, California. For starters, they are the only brewery in North America that uses a “Burton Union” style fermentation system, aptly titled the “Firestone Union“.

Of their many award winning beers, one has become a classic example of the west coast style IPA, Union Jack IPA. I’ve been reading Mitch Steele’s IPA book and For The Love of Hops by Stan Hieronymus recently, which has got me very inspired to brew some heavily hopped beers. Lucky for us, in both books, the brewers at Firestone Walker have been kind enough to let us in on how they make it.

First, let’s hear what Firestone Walker’s Brewmaster, Matt Brynildson, has to say about Union Jack IPA:

What I found most interesting about this recipe was Continue reading

So how did our Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout Clone turn out?

Samuel Smith'sWell, the temperature has definitely dropped here in Toronto, and winter has  arrived after much delay. At this time of year, a look in my beer cellar has me seeking out the darker side of the spectrum. In particular, a nice dark stout. That would do the trick nicely to warm up my cold bones. Just so happens I have the Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout clone myself and fellow homebrewers David Thompson and Peter Caira brewed back in November.

Question is, is it any good?

As you will recall from the original post, we tried out WhiteLabs’ Platinum Series Yorkshire Square yeast which we had hoped would bring out a complex yeast character reminiscent of Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout. We also attempted to mimic the water from North Yorkshire (or at least our best estimate of it’s make up) with generous amount of chalk and gypsum.

Tasting Results

This time around you won’t have to just rely on my opinion, Peter & David, both avid, award winning homebrewers in their own right, have given us their opinion on our collaboration brew.

Hoptomology:

Straight out of the gate it was evident that there was a massive yeast/chalky character. To me it was pretty overwhelming. My guess it’s from the water additions that we added to the boil and the unique character of the Yorkshire Square yeast. The original has a very subdued yeast presence compared to ours. There are so many factors affecting fermentation, that it would be incredibly difficult to get it exactly as Samuel Smith’s does; open fermentation in slate tubs, pitching rate, oxygenation rate, temperatures, etc. The reason I’m citing this is because yeast performance and the resulting flavour characteristics are dependent on these factors. Perhaps we aerated the wort too much, which brought out a greater amount of esters? Over pitched? Underpitched?
Another thing I noticed is that it’s not as full tasting as the original, and it lacks the rich, chocolatey flavour. There is a touch behind the chalky/yeast character, but it pales in comparison to Samuel Smith’s. I thought for sure with all those oats and minerals in the water that it would have a much bigger mouthfeel, but it doesn’t. Then again, we did mash low at 150F. Next time I’d like to mash higher and see how much it changes things. The head didn’t last as long as I’d hoped for either.
 
David Thompson:
 
I have found that the estery quality has subdued a bit; gone is the initial slight banana notes, but has developed into a pleasant fruityness.  It’s nice drinker for sure, but misses the rich chocolately notes of the real deal.  Not sure how to quite account for that; use some brown malt or pale chocolate?  Either way it’s fine beer.

Peter Caira:

Everyone who’s tried it says something like “this is mild for a stout / I could drink that all day” and in one case, a well-informed friend of mine asked if it was a schwarzbier! When I let a pint warm up a bit I get some faint notes of raisin or fig but very subdued.  Roastiness is also in the background there but again, very subdued.  Mouthfeel is nice – I like the level of carbonation and the oatmeal certainly smooths things out.  Aroma is mostly roast/nut quality but again, subdued.

Conclusion:

All in all I’d like to try this one again. I’d omit the water additions, bump up the mash temperature, and try a more standard yeast like White Labs 002 – English Ale. Perhaps I’m being a bit too harsh on my assessment of this beer, as David & Peter enjoyed it. Although I thought we had made an honorable attempt at cloning Samuel Smith’s Original based on what we knew, I don’t think we succeeded this time around.

Cheers!