I've been away from this blog for ages, due to a move to a new "basement" breweries and a broken internet connection at the new locale, but no more excuses, I'm back. Although this blog has been quiet I have been brewing some over the past couple weeks, and I've been busy upgrading some of my brew equipment, so I'll have to play catch up with my posting.
The first piece of equipment I've been working on is a new mash-tun, as I wanted something that had the capability to do 10 gallon batches as well as something with better heat retention than my previous false-bottom, plastic bucket setup. I pondered a few different designs such as braided hose and soldered manifolds, but in the end I figured I'd stick with the false-bottom, as I've always found it easy to use and reliable. In home-brewing as in life, if it ain't broke don't fix it. Despite the hefty cost, I ordered a 10 gallon upright-style water cooler and set to work. The ball valve for lautering the mash was easy to fit together after a few visits to the local plumbing and hardware stores, but the false bottom was a bit more tricky. Fortunately, I stumbled upon a piece of perforated stainless sheeting in the scrap pile at the brewery and after making a handle out of the end of an old pipe and a bit of welding and polishing, I was in business.
For my first brew in the new house with the new equipment I figured I'd try something fairly easy, so I settled on my old favourite: the India Pale Ale. I recently got my hands on some Amarillo and Citra hops, two varieties that everyone seems to be drooling over these days, so I decided to make an IPA featuring these super-varieties. I wanted it to be a bit less bitter than some of the bombs I had made in the past, as well as lighter in colour, closer to a golden shade, and featuring less crystal malt than usual. With these goals in mind I set out on the maiden-brew in the new premises; it felt like old times using the good old Chico yeast and throwing copious amounts of hops into the pot. Considering the amount of new factors involved the brew went well, with only a few minor issues that I was sure I could resolve in subsequent brew-days. Stay tuned in the next week as I get you up to speed on my new kegging setup, my first Belgian pale ale, and my jerry-rigged, but fully operational fermentation chamber.
Amarillo Citra IPA
Locally malted British syle pale malt
Locally malted oats
Amarillo and Citra hops (first wort hopping, bittering, flavour, aroma, flameout, dry hopping)