I spent a rare Wednesday night bottling our first ever IPA. Rare as in bottling, rare as in Wednesday. and rare as in IPA (India Pale Ale). Usually, we relegate brewing activities to weekends, but the weekend was booked and we really wanted to get the beer into bottles (and kegs).
For those of you following along, I am a malt fan, and not big on really hoppy beers. For those of you following along and paying attention, however, my tolerance and taste for hops has increased as of late.
September is hop harvesting month, and I picked a bucket's worth (about 4 pounds) and dried them down to about a pound and a half. I only picked perhaps half of my crop, electing to let the smaller cones grow. I am only growing Cascade, and only 2 plants. I am sure I need no more.
My brother's friend came to try out the hobby, and his beer style of choice happens to be IPA....all of this makes it a natural fit. We brewed an American Style IPA with over a pound of hops for our 12 gallon batch. We also brewed a Belgian Wit.
Again, it was a non-eventful brewday, except that my drill (which I use as the motor for my grain mill) died on batch number 2. We have gotten to the point where our new equipment and associated processes have become predictable. This makes for very boring reporting....but our beer is better.
We bottled the IPA today (the Wit will take more time), electing to bottle 5 gallons for my brother's friend, and split the rest into two kegs. I didn't even do the bottling, and I can unequivocally say that I don't miss doing that one bit. I will stay with kegs, thankyouverymuch!
My observations on my first AIPA is that the hop flavor right out of the fermenter is amazing. I elected to not dry hop it, so the emphasis on this beer is mostly hop flavor. A half a pound of my Cascade hops went in half way through the boil and another half pound at flameout. The beer tastes like grapefruit juice! I am really looking forward to getting to sample how the hop character changes over time. So, Skeptical Brewing has IPA on tap....stop on by for a pint.
Oh, and because brewing is predictable, I elected (on a whim) to make another major change to the brewery....oh, joy, I do love trouble. More later.