17: America v Britain Superpower IPA (pm)

Saturday night I arrange to meet Jonno and Chuwy for a Yokohama pub crawl with the gf. We had grand plans to hit Full Monty, Craft Beer Bar, Pivovar + Yokohama Brewery, Pivo, Thrash Zone, and Cheers – but with a detour to the dock to drink the homebrew I brought and some excellent beer brought by Chuwy and with Thrash being unexpectedly closed (will I ever get to go there?), we only hit three bars. But drinking beer outside in the beautiful Yokohama dock was fantastic – reminded me of living in HK and going to TST harbour.

First bar of the night for was Full Monty, to enjoy British food while waiting for J&C to turn up.

The Full Monty, Yokohama

The Full Monty, Yokohama

Inside the place is more like an outback Aussie pub than a British pub. Not just the wooden decor, but the way half the people there seemed to be regulars, chatting like in some remote Aussie village.

Inside The Full Monty

Inside The Full Monty

Clive, the owner, seemed to go out his way to make little friendly comments to everyone whenever he could, eg. serving beer, taking away the food plates.

Full Monty Beer Menu

Full Monty beer menu

Beer menu was a bit lacking to be honest – quite a lot was unavailable, and the guest beer was a rather standard Pedigree. A very British selection but not my ideal choices – could do with having a British IPA there or a few craft bottles. I hear Clive has plans for 2 extra taps with craft beer, let’s hope that happens.

That said, the London Pride and The Pedigree were the best examples I’ve had of those beers in a long time. Perfect temperature, perfect carbonation, bursting with flavour, and proper British pours. Clive took care pouring the beer – letting beer settle, overfilling when there was too much head etc. Other places serve beers with huge heads – it was refreshing to see real British pouring skill. Made me feel homesick.

For food we ordered the chicken tortilla and pie of the day (Cornish Pastie). Portions were huge, and while the meat in the pastie was a little fatty for my liking, I have to say that the chicken tortilla was fantastic. It’s been a long time since I’ve had chicken so perfectly cooked in a pub – juicy, tasty, I would go back for the chicken alone.

Chuwy having a series of disasters, the gf and I moved on to the hard to find Craft Beer Bar to wait for him and Jonno there.

Craft Beer Bar, Yokohama

Craft Beer Bar, Yokohama

Bloody difficult to find this Craft Beer Bar. It’s hidden on down this back street:

A little off the beaten track

A little off the beaten track

The Google Map linked from Boozelist has the CBB in the wrong place. Here’s a map with directions:

Map: Full Monty & Craft Beer Bar

Map: Full Monty & Craft Beer Bar

Apologies for the wacky numbering – added 8, 9, 10 as a bit of an afterthought.

To get to Full Monty from the station, come out the south exit and walk to the main road on your right. Follow the road to the YMCA. Just past there is a a convenience store – turn left there and Full Monty is on your right.

To get to Craft Beer Bar from Full Monty, turn right and walk until the crossing with Royal Host. Then turn right again and walk a few blocks. After Bar Bar Bar on your right hand side, at the next crossing you’ll see Green Bowl on your right and a big car park on your left. Go left, walking down the side of the car park (as shown in the photo above). CBB is on the right.

To get to Craft Beer Bar from the station, come out the south exit and walk to the main road on your right. Follow the road to the YMCE and keep walking until you get to Hotto Motto on your left. Take the left there between Hotto Motto and the car park, then keep walking. You’ll pass Green Bowl on your right as you come to a small road. Cross that road and keep going – CBB is on the right.

Now you know how to get there, is it worth going? Here’s the beer menu:

Craft Beer Bar beer menu

Craft Beer Bar beer menu

Yeah, I can barely read it also – but there’s some good beer there, and the gf is Japanese.

Prices are a respectable 1000yen for 500ml, with minimal head. Very good. While waiting for Jonny and Chuwy, we had Shiga Kogen IPA, Minoh Sansho Pale Ale, and Hakusekikan Mikage Black Summer Stout. The IPA was excellent as always; Sansho “Japanese herb” Pale Ale was an “aquired taste” (ie. pretty awful); Mikage Black was a respectable enough porter, but with a bit brown sugar or oaty taste. Not too bad.

Inside Craft Beer Bar

Inside Craft Beer Bar

Good choice of beers, excellent pours, condition, and prices, no cover charge, and a friendly owner – the only thing that lets CBB down is the slightly stifled atmosphere. With jazz playing in the background, and people talking in whispers, at first the atmosphere can be a bit intimidating, like people are scared to make a sound and let go.

Whether we’d had a suitable amount of beer by then or whether it was just the influence of their wacky presence, that feeling mostly disappeared when the comedy duo that is Chuwy and Jonno arrived. From then on, the atmosphere was mostly forgotten about as the gf and I watched both of them interrupt each other’s sentences and start (but not finish) more stories than the Mr Men collection. Jonno: I never did find out what happened at that wedding you went to – do tell! Watching Chuwy and Jonno talk is like watching a tennis match – the ball of conversation jumping left right left right as it gets spanked back and forth. Top guys though – a lot of fun.

Beer consumed, we headed to Yamashita park to enjoy the view and drink my homebrew and some excellent beers Chuwy brought along.

Yokohama dock at night...

Yokohama dock at night...

It was awesome sitting outside next to the arbour drinking beer – it was really relaxing.  I was even getting used to the tennis style conversation by now.

First beer outside was a bottle of Ballast Point Calico kindly brought along by Chuwy. You might recall I found this beer so bad at Cataratas last time that I sent it back – the bottle was much much better, with none of the funky taste of the Cataratas draft. I’m convinced now that I must have got the first pour after cleaning at Cataratas, which would explain why, when they tried the beer after I complained about it, they thought it was normal. Bad show, Cataratas. Still, at least they replaced it free.

...we were not the only ones sitting outside drinking

...we were not the only ones sitting outside drinking

Next we went through my selection of homebrew:

  • Don’t Mention The War Pilsner
  • America v Britain Superpower IPA
  • Coconut Wheat Porter
  • Let’s drinking White Ale
  • Let’s Drinking with enjoy Our IPA

Neither Jonno or Chuwy threw up or sprayed their beers in disgust, so they must have been drinkable. Favourite of the night was the Coconut Wheat Porter I think – I’m going to have to make some more of this because I think the current 3G keg is going to run out pretty soon.

A big thanks to Jonno and Chuwy for their comments throughout the tasting. It’s really interesting to get comments from “into it” beer drinkers – they pick up different things from homebrewers and friends. Very informative.

HaandBryggeriet dark force

HaandBryggeriet dark force

Final beer outside was this lovely HaandBryggeriet dark force, another one of those “Best beer in the world” contenders, and brought along by Chuwy. I’ve got into the habit recently of moving to Imperial strength beers at the end of the night, so this was the perfect ending. Lots of great flavour in there – I would definitely drink this again.

Leaving the park we headed to Thrash Zone, which was unexpectedly closed. Every time I go to Thrash Zone it is suspiciously closed – just like Holic in Kichijoji. But unlike Holic, outside Thrash there are no signs at all. No clue that the bar is even there. I’m beginning to think this bar doesn’t exist and Chuwy has added it to Boozelist to draw punters into the girlie bar next door for comedy value.

From Thrash we headed to Cheers, which happened to have St Bernardus 12 on tap, and where the bar staff did know Chuwy’s name:

St Bernardus Abt 12 on tap at Cheers

St Bernardus Abt 12 on tap at Cheers

This is supposedly a very similar recipe to “The best beer in the world” Westvleteren 12 that I had a few weeks ago.

And in the glass

And in the glass

Jonno and Chuwy seemed to want to snort theirs like beer cocaine. Much laughing ensured, followed by posh beer aficionado type talk of the differences between the B12 and W12… so much talk that we lost track of time and had to down the beer and leg it for the last train. Great beer aficionados we are.

Comparing the B12 and W12 – the B12 definitely lacks the sparkle of the sugary tingly aftertaste of the W12, though I’m not sure whether that’s due to it being on draft or not. I’ll refrain from making final comments on this beer until I can taste it in bottles.

Jonno, Chuwy: It was awesome meeting your guys – thanks for an entertaining night. We must try to do a proper Hama pub crawl one time soon.

Read Chuwy’s account of the night here. Jonno’s to come.


Just poured some of the America v Britain Superpower IPA which I force carbed on Sunday… and it has “that IPA taste”! (I don’t need to link to it again, right? You know what I mean surely by now.)

There were only three hops in that: Chinook, Cascade, and Fuggles. Just before drinking it I downed two of my Cascade only Anchor Liberty Ale Educational Clone – one with and one without dry hopping – and never noticed “that IPA taste”… I made a bitter with only Fuggles and never noticed “that IPA taste”… could it be the Chinook?

Or… Superpower was the first beer I made at the right temperature, so should I discard all the others tastings as invalid? I do have a feeling it is Cascade related. Maybe because Cascade in a combination with certain bittering hops.

Funnily, before force carbing and chilling Superpower, I never got the same taste. Is it a chilling thing? A carb thing?

Well maybe by the end of this keg I’ll have come to like the damn taste and it will be a mute point!!!

Are you sure you're using that much, sir?

Are you sure you're using that much, sir?

I don’t check my postbox at home very often – it’s usually filled with junk, and save for one or two bills, all my important mails come to work. So I was a little late finding this “Hey, do you realise your water consumption has shot up? Is there something wrong?” mail from the water board.

Looks like moving to smaller batches for partial mash and all grain has actually increased my water consumption! When I was going 14L boils and topping up to 21L, I was adding ice and a lot of water so – but when I moved to 14L boils for 12L batches, I then had to run gallons of water through the sink or (when I borrowed it) the IC.

I wonder what my water bill was before march, when I wasn’t homebrewing at all?

Unrelated to water costs, I’m thinking that I’m going to switch back from all grain/partial mash to DME+steeping for a while, and from 12L batches to 21L batches. All grain and PM are all well and good, but it just pushes me over the limit for making beer comfortably in the evenings. I need a few “easy” brews which don’t take 4-5 hours and leave me going to bed at 2am.

Saturday I went out and bought coconut to add to my Wheat Porter. Unsweetened from Tokyu Hands, this is what 5 x 45g packs looks like toasted on Sunday:

Lightly toasted coconut

Lightly toasted coconut

And with the beer racked on top:

Coconut in the secondary

Coconut in the secondary

This was after about 5 minutes in the secondary and I can already see the coconut going mushy. Smells delicious. In the hope of being able to keg this without the coconut following though, I’ve put a little plastic mesh thing into the tap hole. Hope it works.

I also partially bottled and kegged America v Britain Superpower IPA. The mix of British and American hops plays well together, but it’s still a bit sweeter than I’d like and I’d prefer the alcohol kick to be smoother. This is quite an unusual IPA with three different crystals, flaked rye, and wheat in addition to munich, 2-row, and extra light DME – and it will be very interesting to see how this conditions over the next few weeks. It attenuated better than the other IPAs I’ve made, going down from 1.072 to 1.016.

I was very tempted to keg Don’t Mention The War Pilsner also – it tastes amazing at the moment. I mean, really amazing – I’m not a huge pislner fan, but I could down this in one. I used all my willpower to resist though – it has only been fermenting for 2 weeks and is still at around 1.018 (if I remember correctly). It’s currently still quite cloudy, so hopefully a week or two more will clear it.

Finally, I decided to taste some of the fermented beer from the harvested yeast samples. I did the harvest in May. After fermenting out, I put it into the fridge for the yeast to settle, then when making the Wheat Porter I discarded the beer from the first fermentation and added new wort. With the second fermentation finished, it was time to taste. While the samples I took from the Baird tasted good and I could probably use them for starters – the sample from the German tasted very fruity and sour. Either this is because I forgot to sanitise the rim of the German bottle or because that yeast is old and funky or… who knows, but I just threw it away! Not sure whether I’ll use the Baird samples or not. What I wish I had done is cultivate from some Leffe, because I’d like to make a Belgian now.

More things thrown away to make space for beer yesterday. The casualty list continues!

Clothes or beer. The beer won.

Clothes or beer. The beer won.

I’m forever blowing bubbles
Pretty bubbles in the air

I wish that’s the tune my Wheat Porter was playing, but since Sunday I’ve not seen a single bubble come out the airlock, or the lid bulge.

I'm not forever blowing bubbles

I'm not forever blowing bubbles

There has clearly been activity there – you can see the krausen (the foamy head of yeast that forms at the peak of fermentation and falls, leaving gunk at the side) has fallen, and there are little CO2 bubbles coming out of the beer.

There is activity - Krausen and CO2

There is activity - Krausen and CO2

Compared to the krausen from American v Britain Superpower IPA (dry-hopped Sunday with 4.1g each of Fuggles and Cascade), the Porter krausen is quite insubstantial.

For comparison, the Krausen on the America v Britain Superpower IPA

For comparison, the Krausen (and dry hops) on the America v Britain Superpower IPA

Why I’ve not seen any airlock activity – that puzzles me. It could be that I missed it because the bucket was hidden in the fermentation chamber, but that’s unlikely because the lid didn’t bulge.

It could be because there’s a leak in the lid.

It could be that because I rehydrated the yeast using 250ml of wort and that the starter was very vibrant, that all activity took place in the first day. Maybe the lid did bulge then and I forgot?

Or maybe, horror of horror, my screw-ups on Sunday mean that there’s lots of unfermentable sugars.

Or maybe I didn’t aerate enough?

Or… dammit. Here was me thinking I’d gotten past the stage of worrying about my homebrew!

There’s only one way to find out whether things are going smoothly or not, and that’s to take a hydrometer sample. Maybe I’ll try that tonight – after 4 days I’d expect the gravity to be around the 1.020 mark.

Last night I live-twittered – with photos – my way through a visit to Popeye in Ryogoku.

If there is one bar in Japan I’ll miss when I leave here, it’s Popeye. Just look at the menu – it’s two pages, changes daily, and lists between 40 and 70 beers ON TAP. Click on the images to see the detail of what they had last night – apologise for the quality but unless I reduced down the colours, the shadow of my hand taking the pics just looked creepy:

Popeye's daily beer menu - side A

Popeye's daily beer menu - side A

And side B:

...and side B

...and side B

The menu is constantly changing – which means there’s always something new to try, but also create a headache (or should that be toothache) for Chuwy at Boozelist. Chuwy – hope you find the  menus above useful for updating the site!

One of the unique features of Popeye is “Hop Heart”, shown at the top left of side B of the menu.

Here they run one of the hand pumped beers through hops while pouring it. In the picture below you can see the two small tanks at the bottom containing the hops:

The heart of Hops Heart

The heart of Hops Heart

Last night’s hops were Amarillo and Cascade. I’ve no idea how often they change the hops – I hope it’s daily; I should probably ask next time I go.

Last night’s Hops Heart beer was Ozenoyukidoke IPA which they had on hand pump and CO2 draft. That means one single beer was available in four different ways in the same bar – hand pump, hand pump through cascade, hand pump through Amarillo, CO2 draft – mind boggling!

Where else can you get 4 versions of the same beer?!

Where else can you get 4 versions of the same beer?!

This was quite an interesting tasting, but very confusing! Ozenoyukidoke has a little bit of “that IPA taste” that I don’t like on hand pump. Through cascade, “that IPA taste” was much stronger – but through amarillo and on CO2, it was far weaker. The natural deduction is that cascade could be in some way responsible for the taste that I don’t like, which would be logical because I usually taste “that IPA taste” in American beers, but is completely illogical because I don’t taste it in Anchor Liberty (which is cascade only) or in the beers I’ve made with cascade!

The bar (taken a few weeks ago)

The bar (taken a few weeks ago)

Last night’s beers, and what I thought of them:

  • Hakusekikan Samurai Rice Ale – Nice light bitterness, not sweet (Hakusekikan make the Brown Ale that I likes so much at Ushi Tora – a brewery for me to keep an eye on, I think)
  • Isekadoya Beer Pale Ale – Lovely and hoppy with a good bitter aftertaste
  • Isekadoya Beer Brown Ale – Bitter and caramel and a little hoppy.. good!
  • Nogne 0 IPA – I tried this at Ushi Tora and didn’t like it. Last night was better than Ushi Tora – nicely bitter – but it still has the taste I don’t like.
  • Iwatekura Oyster Stout – Fizzy black creamy stout but not heavy. Very much like my Chocolate-elss Coffee Stout Experiment without the coffee taste.
  • Nide Cream Ale – A pils but not a pils. I’m not a huge fan of Nide (made by Baird). It’s a bit non-descript – but then I think that’s the point: It’s made to be sold to Japanese. Astoundingly many people go to Popeye and order Asahi Super Dry – I mean, Jesus! That’s completely missing the point of Popeye.
  • More Isekadoya Beer Pale Ale – the last beers of happy hour. Between 5-8pm you get free food with every beer marked with a crown on the menu – all the beers above qualified.
  • Speakeasy Prohibition Ale – as expected from the Big Daddy IPA, I really didn’t like this. It has the taste I don’t like.
  • Stone Levitation Ale – again, it has the taste I don’t like. This is definitely either a hop thing or a method thing – I must track this down. It was really hard to finish Levitation and Prohibition.
  • Onidensetsu Red Ale – a free pint for becoming a Popeye member. Rather non-descript red ale, very little hops. What’s funny is that in Korea, I used to hunt out a beer called Red Rock – which is like a weaker version of this red ale – because it has some taste, unlike Cass or OB or Hite. This isn’t a bad beer – like Nide isn’t a bad beer – it just doesn’t cut the mustard when stacked up against the other competition here.
  • Ozenoyukidoke IPA on hand pump, on hand pump with cascade, on hand pump with amarillo, and CO2
Just some of the taps at Popeye

Just some of the taps at Popeye

On the menu at the bottom of the Hops Heart section, it seems to imply that you can add extra cascade or amarillo to any beer – but I don’t know whether that’s true or whether the Japanese is misleading. After drinking all that, it wasn’t advisable for me to do any further exploration. I left Popeye 10,000 yen poorer but feeling priceless happiness.

Darn it! Just noticed that on side B they have a whole range of dark Hakusekikan beers, including the brown ale. I have to go back to Popeye soon!

Don’t make beer with a hangover, kids. It’s not big, and it’s not clever. You just end up making mistakes.


  1. Mixed up the grain bill for the recipe with my inventory of grain and only realised when I found the recipe supposedly called for 1kg of chocolate – way too much for a half batch. I’d already mixed Crystal by this stage and had to try to scoop some of it out!
  2. Added a full bag of DME before remembering that I’d upped the grain bill so I wouldn’t need to use DME.
  3. Started the mash at 68 degrees when I was supposed to be doing a stepped mask at 40.
  4. Added water to bring the temperature down, which is pointless because the grain had already been mashing at 68 – and you can’t go back. Advice from a homebrewing friend:

    When you really overshoot a temperature, there is really no return. The reason is that the different temperatures correspond to the peak activity of a particular enzyme or enzymes. Once you go above that temperature they tend to denature quite rapidly. So by the time you add your water and go back, you might have already lost the enzymes that you wanted.  So your best bet in those situations is to just take the temp you have and live with it.

  5. Let the lead from my new Ikea thermometer fall into the gas. It may claim to be resistant to heat upto 230 degrees celsius, but apparently not if that heat is from flames. Result? Calibration is screwed, taking my mash temperatures with it at the same time.

Despite all this, after recalculating the recipe to take account of the extra water and DME, I hit within 0.002 of the predicted OG – given that the recipe was all malted wheat, flaked barley, flaked oats, chocolate, and crystal – ie, no 2-row – there was a danger there wouldn’t be enough diastic power to convert the starch in the flaked barley and oats. So I’m pretty happy I got close.

Screw-ups didn’t stop when the beer was finished though – guess who made a special trip from Tokyo to Yokohama to go to Thrash Zone (for some serious IPA on draft) only to find out that the place is closed on Sundays? Yip. Me.

Second choice of Yokohama Cheers was also closed. Don’t people drink in Yokohama on Sundays?!

Yokohama Brewery

Yokohama Brewery

I ended up at Yokohama Brewery and I finally got my IPA fix there, not only with their “standard” IPA, but also from their new Green Fresh IPA (nice!)

It wasn’t easy though – Yokohama Brewery has two levels: Pivovar downstairs and the restaurant upstairs.. and they sell different beers! They refused to let me order a downstairs beer upstairs and I had to talk with the manager before they would nurse my IPA fetish with Green Fresh. And by the time I got my hands on Green Fresh, it was last orders.

Finally I got them to bring me Pivovar's menu

Finally I got them to bring me Pivovar's menu

Still, in the time I was attempting to get Pivovar’s menu, I did work through one or two other beers – everything on the upstairs menu actually, except the half and half:

The upstairs beer menu

The upstairs beer menu

Favourites were: White Ale (like Hitachino Nest White Ale but less strong), Pale Ale (very nice caramel taste – best of the standard beers), Amber Ale (though the pale ale was better), IPA (could have been hoppier, but nice bitterness – second best of the standard beers)

Middling: Pilsner (was a bit flat), Weizen (pretty standard), Alt (a little heavy)

Didn’t think much of: Fruit Ale

From the Pivovar menu I tried the Pixie Orange Ale, which I personally found a bit boring – the orange taste was too subtle to be refreshing, and the Green Fresh IPA. The Green Fresh was the star of the night, though some may find it a little too bitter.

Yokohama Brewery is here - Exit 5 of Bashamichi Station, walk straight and the turn right at the Richmond Hotel

Yokohama Brewery is here - Exit 5 of Bashamichi Station, walk straight and then turn right at the Richmond Hotel

I returned home to try Dogfish 60 minute, 90 minute, and 120 minute IPA – the 60 minute was passible, but the 90 and 120 minute were awful, tasting thick and gloopy. The 120m especially tasted almost like Scottish Ale – possibly not surprising since I’ve just found out the 120m is 21% ABV (though no actual ABV was written on the bottle; I found that figure by searching on Google).

They should have made me oh-so-hoppy

They should have made me oh-so-hoppy

I was expecting bursts of hop flavour from those beers. That’s no what I got. I actually couldn’t even finish the 90m and 120m IPAs. It was heart-wrenching throwing away half a bottle of 120m – it costs the same as Westvletern 12, ie. 1900 yen / 10 quid a bottle.

Finished off with Lagunitas Maximus IPA which tasted awful at first because the 120 minutes taste was still in my mouth, but better towards the end – not the hop monster I hoped for though.

Wheat Porter

Intended to be all grain, ended up with some DME in it (see story above)

Boil volume: 16L
Batch size: 14L (actually came out about 13.5L)

Predicted OG: 1.056
Actual OG: 1.054

Predicted IBU: 26 (though I FWH’d so may be up to 10% more)

Mash schedule (see story above):
11L at 59degrees for 15m, then should have been 68degrees for 60m but varied between 58 and 70
7L at 75 degrees for 25m
Cooling – In the sink (IC has been returned!) A little ice added at the end to make up batch volume and cool.

1.6kg Wheat malt
90g Crystal 150L (with a touch of 40L and 15L due to measuring cock-up)
300g Chocolate
100g Black patent
300g Flaked barley
300g Flaked oats
500g Extra-light DME

9g Nugget 14.6% – FWH + 60m. FWH from 87degrees, taking 10m to get to boil – so 70m total.
8g Nugget 5m

Yeast: S-04
I boiled 1L of water with 100g of DME to use for feeding the yeast I cultivated in May. I had 250ml of this left so rehydrated the S-04 in it. VERY active.
Pitched too high at 30degrees, but I had to go out and I didn’t want to leave the yeast unpitched.

I’ll ferment this in the chamber at 19degrees. I may get some coconut and rack some or all onto coconut.

Update: Almost forgot! I dry hopped Beer seventeen (America v Britain Superpower IPA) with 4.1g each of Fuggles and Cascade. FG is 1.016, which is a bit better than I achieved with S-04 and no fermentation chamber (this time I used US-05 and the fermentation chamber – I suspect the US-05 is a bit better at attenuating down than the S-04).

This was supposed to be a yeast experiment, with half being brewed using American US-05 and half with British S-04. But just like Britain is in no shape for a fight at the moment, I’m not entirely convinced my fermentation chamber can handle two beer yet – I think I need to reinforce some of the seals. There’s also an element of laziness here – I’ve made so many half batches lately that the last thing I wanted is two 10L beers to bottle or half fill kegs.

So for the first time, I’m ditching the British S-04 and using American US-05. Not that I’ll be able to draw much conclusion about the yeast from this – so much has changed in the process of this beer that I’ll not be able to put differences down to the yeast until I do a proper comparison:

  • First time to use filtered water
  • First time to mash at a single temperature (maybe a mistake since I used flaked rye)
  • First full 25L boil
  • First time to use leaf hops without a bag, using a strainer instead when pouring the wort
  • First time to use “first wort hopping” – or at least, the best equivalent I can do: adding the hops while bringing the wort to the boil, instead of waiting until the wort has boiled
  • First time to use an immersion chiller (borrowed)
  • First time to use a fermentation chamber to regulate the temperature

But I do hope that the combination of better temperature control, the American yeast, and my IBU calculations (below) will get rid of the sweetness of some of the IPAs I’ve made so far.

This beer is an IPA. I’ve gone back over the IPAs that I’ve brewed and noticed a pattern in the ones that I like – namely that the IBU OG ratio is around 1.1, or maybe even more. That is, if the OG is 1.060 then IBUs should be 66. After noticing this and glancing at “Designing Great Beers”, that’s exactly the value of most IPA competition winners. Commercial IPAs – I’ve noticed recently – generally have lower ratios of around 0.9 but still taste good, something which I can’t achieve with the same ratio. That might be my choice of bittering hop or it may be because the beers have conditioned for a longer time (I notice that my Flasher tastes better with age – ooer!).

Beersmith on First Wort Hopping:

FWH involves adding a portion of the hops to the boiler at the very beginning of the sparging process, allowing these hops to steep as the sparging completes and remaining in the kettle throughout the boil. Add the hops to the boiler as soon as you have finished recirculating the first runnings.

Sources vary, but most testing indicates that first wort hopping will increase the number of International Bitterness Units (IBUs) by as much as 10%. Given the hop shortage I wrote about earlier, increased utilization is an added bonus. However, taste perception is different. In blind taste testing across a number of articles, the overall flavor of first wort hops is perceived as smoother, less sharp, and had a more pleasing aroma. Hop bitterness was perceived as harmonic and uniformly bitter. In blind taste tests, the FWH were preferred by 11 of 12 test subjects.

The amount to hops to use varies. Most sources recommend using 30% of the overall hop schedule and moving it to FWH.

I took the simple approach of adding all my bittering hops early – 43%. They were in the pot from 85 degrees to boil, which took around 20 minutes.

I’m also not using a hop bag this time, for the first time – while this doesn’t add to my IBU ratings, I was using a hop bag before so in theory the IBU values I’ve listed in previous brews could be reduced by about 5-8%.

Even though I’m not splitting the batch, this IPA is still a mix of British and American. Bittering is from Chinook and flavouring from Fuggles and Cascade. I made these choices after looking at two beers – Harpoon IPA from Clonebrew which uses Cluster for bittering and Fuggles and Cascade for flavouring, and Sister Star of the Sun which uses Chinook for bittering, EK Goldings for flavour, and Fuggles for aroma.

I’m getting a bit fed up of the taste of “All American” IPAs – Centennial, Cascades, etc. On the other hand, “All British” tend to lack a “refreshing” flavour. This should be a mix of both.

Dave Brockington, creater of the award winning Sister Sun, says of Chinook:

I have stuck with Chinook through the years, although several reputable brewers have a strong disdain for the hop, because it simply offers (in my opinion) the best clean, sharp bittering profile that I had tried.

I’m looking for a bittering hop that gives me sharpness, so that statement attracted me. Other reports of Chinook say that it is quite “citrus”, so it should match well with Cascade. The only negative is that some really don’t like the hop – so I’m taking a bit of a risk.

Grain for this is quite mixed – with some wheat, rye, and munich, and about 500g of crystal. The wheat is a result of me running out of 2-row (or more accurately, wanting to keep enough 2-row for my next beer) and wheat being the only alternative. The rye makes up about 6% of the fermentables so I’m not sure whether it will affect the taste or not, but I hope it adds some character (when I bought the rye, I bought it on a whim, without much idea of how to use or how much to use).

That was my thought process when designing this beer – now time for the beer itself:

America v Britain Superpower IPA

Partial mash

Boil volume: 25L
Estimated batch size: 22L
Actual batch size: 20-20.5L (I actually suspected that too much might boil off, hence the batch size of 22L instead of less).

IBU 68 + FWH = 74.8

Predicted OG: 1.064 – giving an IBU OG ratio of 1.17
Actual OG: 1.072 – giving an IBU OG ratio of 1.04 (a tad lower than I would have liked; it would have been better if the batch size had been 21L or more)

Mash schedule: 16L at 65-66 degrees for 60 minutes, 10.5L at 70-75 degrees for 20 minutes (I think, maybe 30minutes) giving exactly 25L
Cooldown using IC – took about 20M to get to around 24 degrees.

1kg American 2-row
500g Munich
204g Crystal 15L
229g Crystal 40L
100g Crystal 150L
300g Flaked rye
770g Wheat malt
2kg Extra light DME (added at FWH stage)

FWH + 60m: 45g Chinook 13% IBU 58 + 10% FWH
15m: 15g Cascade 7.2%, 15g Fuggles 4.7% IBU 8.8, Irish Moss, Immersion cooler
1m: 15g Cascade 7.2%, 15g Fuggles 4.7% IBU 0.8
By design, I wanted the majority of the IBUs to come from the bittering addition, rather than later flavouring additions. I didn’t use a hop bag – hops were left in the brew until filtered into the fermenter through a sanitised sieve

Yeast: US-05. Try as hard as I could with the IC, I could only get the wort down to 24 degrees. Working on autopilot, I pitched anyway and then thought “Oh, maybe I should have waited” – still, 24 is better than the 30s I’ve been pitching at sometimes. I rehydrated the yeast first and added 3 tablespoons of wort to it – it was bubbling away nicely before I pitched.

I’ll ferment this around 18 degrees, probably for 10 days – depending on whether I decide to dry-hop or not (with either Fuggles only, or a mix of Fuggles/Cascade). I’m going to be kegging this beer rather than bottling.

So there we have it – another experimental IPA. I swore I wasn’t going to do full batches of experimental IPA – but lo and behold, I have. I only hope that I’ve learnt enough theory and have enough luck with the new techniques that this will come out as I expect: nice sharp bitterness, inspiring British/American hoppiness, and no sweet aftertaste.