Tag Archives: ale

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.

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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!

The effect of pH on hop character – The Results

pH experimentThere’s been a lot of interest in the results of my experiment to find out the effect that pH has on hop character. I guess it’s something that’s been on some of your minds. Hopefully I can shed some light on what I’ve discovered.

I have to say, after kegging these two batches and carbonating them for a few days, I didn’t really notice much of a difference. But after letting them sit for another 10 days or so, the differences became obvious.

Here are the pH measurements I recorded during the process for reference:
High pH beer – Mash pH – 5.6 / Post Boil pH – 5.5 / Post Ferment pH – 3.98
Low pH beer – Mash pH – 5.3 / Post Boil pH – 5.25 / Post Ferment pH – 3.83
* All measurements were taken at room temperature.
 

Aroma

  • Low pH -
    • clearly defined Cascade character with some spicy notes from the 30 minute perle addition
    • light, balanced maltiness, very clean
    • light crystal malt aroma
  • High pH -
    • muddled hop character, no definition
    • slightly bready
    • low fusel alcohol character

Appearance

This is what surprised me the most. After leaving them for about 10 days, I pulled a pint from the low pH batch and BAM! An extremely clear pale ale. I’m not really sure of why that would happen, or the chemistry behind it, but there it was.Clarity

  • Low pH -
    • decidedly clearer
  • High pH -
    • as you can see from the picture, a haze remains

Flavour

  • Low pH -
    • crisp tasting with a defined bitterness
    • clear definition between hop flavour, malt and bitterness
  • High pH -
    • confused hop character
    • no definition between bitterness and aroma
    • malt character is flat

Conclusion

The beer with the lower pH was clearly a much more enjoyable beer. The flavours are more focused and there is a certain crispness to it. This would be an example to me of the difference between a “good” beer, and a “great” beer.

But hey, don’t just take my word for it, try it yourself!

The effect of pH on hop flavour & aroma… an experiment

pH StripsThe hop character of my beers is something I’ve tried to perfect since I started brewing. Sometimes it’s incredible, other times it’s very muted and dull. My IPA’s tend to have amazing aroma and character, but that’s easy to get when you dry hop. There are a lot of great beers out there with excellent hop character that don’t get dry hopped (think Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or Tankhouse Ale), but I can’t seem to get that definition to my hop character. Why is that?  I take it as a personal challenge to figure out, as it’s important to me. After all, this is ‘Hoptomology’ isn’t it?

I’ve recently tried ‘hop standing’, or allowing my flame out additions to steep in the pot (covered) for up to 20 minutes before whirlpooling. This technique has definitely imbibed some beautiful hop flavour, but the aroma isn’t where I’d like it to be. I’ve tried shortening that time by whirlpooling immediately after flameout, but that doesn’t seem to do it either. Don’t get me wrong, these steps do give you a certain quality, just not the one that I’m searching for here. I’ve recently built a hopback that I plan on experimenting with, using whole cone hops, but that will be a topic for another time.

There are some great podcasts on Brew Strong with Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer about water chemistry and mineral additions. Most of the info is explaining how the different ions work in relation to brewing chemistry. The focus is usually on getting the pH in the mash in the appropriate range, which is important, I get that. What I don’t hear much about is how it affects the taste of the beer. 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

Brewing up a Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout…

As the cold sets in, many of us turn to enjoying beers on the darker side of the spectrum. Somehow they make us feel warmer and more nourished in preparation for the long winter ahead. The list of them is long, but one of my personal favourites is from Samuel Smith’s Old Tadcaster Brewery in North Yorkshire, England. Of their long list of stellar beers, their Oatmeal Stout has become a leading example of the style.

The History:

Oats have been used in brewing throughout history. It’s a widely available grain, and is often regarded for it’s health benefiting qualities. In the late 1800′s, Oatmeal Stout gained in popularity for this very reason, but by the 1950′s, the style had all but died out.

Then in 1977, renowned beer writer Michael Jackson released “The World Guide to Beer“. The book would re-ignite people’s interest in many forgotten, or at least, unfamiliar styles. Charles Finkel, founder of Merchant du Vin, took notice of the now defunct Eldrige Pope “Oat Malt Stout” and commissioned Samuel Smith to brew a version of the beer. It has since become the template for most modern versions of Oatmeal Stout. Continue reading