Centennial Hops

Centennial Hops

Beer three is my first “non-kit” beer, made with dry malt extract, grain, and hops. I based the recipe on TheJadedDog’s well reviewed All Amarillo IPA. I wanted a beer which has good citrus flavour and aroma without being too bitter or sweet, and All Amarillo IPA seemed to match that well.

I have to give a big thanks to TheJadedDog for answering all the PM’s I sent to him on homebrewtalk.com – he really was a big help, answering all my newbie questions on technique and helping to choose a substitute for amarillo.

This being Japan, I couldn’t get amarillo hops. Or cascade (TheJadedDog’s recommendation was a mix of ventennial and cascade). Or the same DME. And Sakeland didn’t have Crystal 40 (I could get Crystal 40 from Advance Brewing, but that would mean buying just one thing from them). And I used Safale 04 yeast rather than Safale 05 (British vs American). So although All Centennial IPA is a based on All Amarillo IPA, I feel it sufficiently is “mine”.

One amazing thing about using real hops and grains for the first time is that now I can start to smell the individual ingredients in other beers. Drinking a Yona Yona Real Ale, I could smell the hops, taste the caramel. I don’t think beer drinking is going to be the same for me now – I’m going to be dissecting every flavour!

This morning I woke up to the joyful sound of the bubbling from the airlock. The smell is amazing.

Now, without further ado, here’s the recipe and how I prepared it.

Beer three: All Centennial IPA

Ingredients

Measuring up

Measuring up

3.25kg Muntons Extra Light Spraymalt (6 1/2 x 500g bags; 6 1/2 x 650yen)
200g Caramel Malt ECC55-85 (already crushed) – Using the formula EBC = (L x 2.65) – 1.2, this should be equivalent to Crystal 21-31L (2 x 68yen)
100g  Centennial Leaf Hops AA9.2% (3 1/3 x 600yen)
Safale S-04 Fermentis Yeast (310 yen)

Hops schedule

60 minutes: 38g
15 minutes: 26g
5 minutes: 26g
0 minutes: 13g

I prepared each hop addition in advance, putting the correct quantity into thin kitchen bags. The weight includes the weight of the small bag they are in (approx 1g).

Why 6 1/2 bags of spraymalt instead of 6 or 7? Why 3 1/3 bags of hops instead or 3 or 4? For the spraymalt, I wanted to match the quantity of malt in the All Amarillo IPA – and I can use the extra half bag when I make Beer four (another IPA). For the hops, I changed the quantity based on AAU calculations. Amarilla was 8%, centennial 9.2%, which meant approx multiplying the All Amarillo IPA scheduled weights by 8/9.2. The remaining 2/3’s I’ll either keep for a future beer or use with Beer four.

Method

Weighing no-rinse sanitiser

Weighing no-rinse sanitiser

1. Clean and sanitise everything – bucket, airlock, etc. Very important.

2. Prepare the ingredients so that everything is at hand (see photo above). 

3. In a large pot (mine is 16L), bring 7L of water to 70-75 degrees celsius.

4. When the water is at the right temperature, put the caramel malt grains into a grain bag, and put that grain bag into the water.

Like a giant tea bag

Like a giant tea bag

5. Keep the temperature around 70 degrees for 20 minutes, adding heat where necessary. I checked the temperate every 3-4 minutes and at the same time gave the grain bag a good swirl round the pot to help extract more goodness.

6. After 20 minutes, remove the grain bag from the water and hold it above the pot for a minute or so until there’s almost no water dripping. This is what you’ll be left with:

Grain tea

Grain tea

7. Then turn up the heat, and while waiting for the boil, discard the grain from the grain bag and put in the first set of hops. Don’t add them to the pot yet.

Discard the grain

Discard the grain

Hops in the grain bag

Hops in the grain bag

8. While waiting for the boil, now’s a good time to pour a beer. This is Beer one – made with a can of mix and sugar, a world apart from today’s beer. It’s not actually finished conditioning in the bottle yet (he he).

Occupying the time

Occupying the time

9. When the pot is boiling, turn off the heat and start to stir in the malt.

Add the malt

Add the malt

10. The first bag of malt should melt straight away, but after a few it will start to go hard and congealed when it hits the water. When that happens, turn on the heat again. Keep adding the malt and stirring until all is melted, then bring back to the boil.

Stirring the malt in

Stirring the malt in

All the malt added

All the malt added

Coming to the boil

Coming to the boil

Bubbling away

Bubbling away

11. When the top starts to clear, add the grain bag with hops, pushing it down with your stirrer to ensure all the hops are soaked. There’s not really a “hot break” when using extract – not in the same way you get with all grain – but after a while the top will start to clear. Start your timer now: 60 minutes. When there’s 15 minutes left you add the second batch of hops.

Adding the first hops

Adding the first hops

Clearing

Clearing

12. The bag will fill with air occasionally when in the pot – gently prod it with your stirrer to keep the hops under water. In the photo above you can see I have two frozen bottles of water out. These will come in handy when it’s time to cool the wort – the ice cold water I’ll add to the wort directly; I’ll then add the bottles with ice to my cooling sink (more on this later). The bottles were unopened bottles of mineral water, frozen overnight.

13. While waiting for the second hop addition, rehydrate your yeast. Sanitise a bowl (I spray sanitised several times then rinsed with boiled water). Place boiling water in the bowl and loosely cover with cling film (you want steam to escape but nothing to easily get it), then put in a basin of cold water to cool until about 35 degrees celsius (temperature recommended by How to Brew, though higher than the 18-24 degrees written on my yeast sachet). I didn’t want to put a thermometer into the water I’ll be using for the yeast so beside it I have a measuring jug with boiled water that I’m taking the temperature of. I should have used an identical bowl and cover it with cling film to match conditions but this was my first time to rehydrate yeast and I was improvising slightly.

Cooling the yeast water

Cooling the yeast water

14. When the water is at the right temperature, add the yeast and stir with a sanitised spoon until all the powder is dissolved, then cover again.

Yeast powder added

Yeast powder added

15. After about 15 minutes, take a tablespoon and hold it in the boiling wort for a minute or so (to sanitise it) then take some wort and hold it in the air until it has cooled (until there is no more steam). You can see I’ve moved on to drinking Yona Yona Real Ale by this time.

Cooling

Cooling

16. Add to the yeast and then cover.

Food for the yeast babies

Food for the yeast babies

17. Don’t forget your hop schedule! If it’s time, add the second hops, then third hops. Just put them into the grain bag at the right time.

18. After 15 minutes or so, you should see the yeast start to foam – this will show you it is working.

The yeast is starting to work

The yeast is starting to work

19. When the hour of boiling is done, add the last of the hops to the grain bag, ensure they sink into the water, then turn off the heat.

The last hops are going in

The last hops are going in

20. We now have to cool the wort quickly. Start filling the sink with cold water and then move the pot there. If your sink isn’t big enough, you may need to use the bath for this! I’m lucky in that despite having a tiny kitchen, I have a huge sink (you can see my entire kitchen in this photo – sink, small worktop area, little stove!)

Cooling the wart

Cooling the wort

21. Now it’s time to use the iced water. Pour the iced water from the previously frozen bottles into the wort. When there’s only ice remaining, seal the bottles again and then put them into the sink to help keep the water cool.

22. Now take out the grain bag of hops, letting the water drain. Then add some cold tap water to the wort to as high a level as you risk carrying! (Remember you have to pour this into your bucket!) As I was adding cold tap water, I opened up the grain bag and let some of the water run through the hops, to get more out of them.

Ready for the bucket

Ready for the bucket

23. Pour the contents into your sanitised bucket. Fill the bucket up to 22 1/2 litres. You want the wort and water to splash in, to aerate. Once at the right level, stir the wort for a good 5 minutes to aerate further.

Aerate the wort

Aerate the wort

24. Check the temperature is in the right range for your yeast – by this stage mine was 22 degrees, within range. Now take a hydrometer reading and then add the yeast. (Don’t do what I did and add the yeast and then scream “S*#&, I forgot to take a hydrometer reading!) My OG is 1.055.

1.055

1.055

Add the yeast

Add the yeast

25. Give the wort a final stir to ensure the yeast is mixed through (don’t do what I did and remember 3 hours later that I’d forgotten to stir again, then have to reopen the bucket and stir!)

26. Put on the lid and pop in the airlock, and start the waiting. The temp in my livingroom is about 22 degrees celsius. I’ll probably bottle this after about 2 weeks.

Beer three and Beer two

Beer three and Beer two

27. Clean up and drink some beer to congratulate yourself!

Update – 24th April 2009

1. While the method above is sound, the recipe sucked. The beer came out with a deep, dark, intense centennial flavour, a sweet aroma, and a lack of bitterness. Dry hopping or adding a hop tea to the keg would probably have balanced it out with a nicer aroma and fresher flavour, but unfortunately I bottled it all. I’m considering unbottling some to see whether I can rescue it!

2. When I posted this method, several people said to me that it’s a good idea to keep half the DME and add it later in the boil because the more malt that is in the wort, the less effectual boiling the hops will be. So by adding half the DME later, you’ll get more bitterness from the bittering hops and so can use less of them.

Splitting the DME makes using some recipe calculators more tricky – because they assume the full DME has been added at the beginning of the boil. The way around that is to calculate the recipe twice – once with half the DME and once with the full DME and expect a value inbetween.

Update – 19th May 2009

I’ve now done this technique many times, not just for extract + steeping, but I’ve adapted it for partial mash and even all grain. From that experience, I recommend two things:

Firstly, the 24th April update mentioned splitting the DME. Don’t do it. It becomes very difficult to calculate IBUs when you do that because none of the online or program calculators can handle it. Ok, so you could potentially use slightly less hops to get the same bittering effect if you split the DME, but you risk unbalancing your carefully calculated recipe.

Secondly, before step 23 (pouring into the bucket), let the wort settle for about 10 minutes. If you have a sanitised ladle on hand, giving a quick whirlpool wont hurt before letting it settle (to whirlpool, you want all the water to be spinning in one direction) – but it’s not essential to whirlpool for an extract recipe. Then after settling, pour into your primary, but don’t pour down to the last drop. Leave behind the last 250ml or so, which will be mostly sludge.

I never did unbottle the recipe above to keg it with some dry hops. I’ve just been drinking a bottle every so often to see whether the taste changes. It hasn’t so far – but you never know.

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