Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Tasting Notes: Endicott Red (International Amber Lager)

I brewed Endicott Red for two purposes: I wanted to brew an Irish Red for St. Patrick's Day while feeling nostalgic about drinking mass-marketed lager at a chain restaurant. Drinking the beer as it conditioned in the bottle was in interesting demonstration as to the effects of carbonation on a beer.

The beer was designed to be light to medium-light in body. To work around my yeast's modest attenuation I added extra priming sugar so the higher carbonation would give the beer the body I was looking for.

The beer I made was okay. It was clean and fairly easy to drink. I entered the beer at the National Homebrew Competition where it scored a respectable 32. That feels about right to me. At nationals to cope with the volume of entries, judges use a modified scoresheet that doesn't provide as much feedback as one would normally expect.

The beer has a nice grainy malt aroma. I made Jennie taste the beer with me and she got a hint of citrus. The beer pours dark copper with a moderate foamy white head that persists decently enough. Medium bodied with medium-high carbonation, the beer has a nice clean finish.

The flavor is mostly grainy and doughy base malt, with a touch of raisin. There is a slight acidity which I attribute the citrus aroma Jennie was getting to. I may have added a little too much lactic acid to my mash, or it could just be the carbonation.

To me the beer doesn't know what it wants to be. When it was young and the carbonation was only at a medium level, the beer did drink like an Irish Red. As the beer aged and carbed up to a medium high level, it did lighten the body as I had hoped. It also dried out the beer a little more than I would have liked.

I want to brew this beer again next year, but with an ale yeast as a true Irish red. I may even reduce the color and/or amount of caramel malt. The next time I brew an amber lager I will certainly use a lighter base malt to lighten the malt flavor.

The beer is perfectly enjoyable. My best friend who isn't a craft beer drinker absolutely loved the beer. He dislikes hop bitterness and hop flavor, and this had little to none of both. When he stopped by to visit, I sent him home with a six pack. That's enough for me to call this batch a success.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Fake Beer - the scourge of crappy internet recipes

In the wake of the 2016 election, the moral panic that is fake news sprung to public consciousness. I would argue that even more of a threat to society than fake stories about the pope endorsing Donald Trump or the Russians allegedly making up stuff about Hillary Clinton, is what I call "fake beer".

Image result for fake news

Just as the internet and social media has made it easier for people to share news, videos, and opinions it has made it easier for brewers to share recipes. That applies to commercial brewers and beer experts as well brewers who may or may not know what they are doing. There are websites like BrewToad and Brewers Friend that have tools to help brewers design and share recipes. These websites are great resources, but unfortunately they are also breeding grounds for "fake beer".

Anyone can create and share recipes on these sites. Unfortunately there is no extreme vetting going on to make sure these recipes are any good or if they conform to style. Untold numbers of these fake beer recipes are sitting in the ether, waiting to deceive a new or inexperienced brewer to find them and think they are proven recipes that are accurate representations of the style they purport to be. I shudder to think that someone might find one of my early recipes online and attempt to brew it.

One fake beer recipe I saw was supposed to be a Scottish Ale, but it called for eight pounds of dark malt extract and a late hop addition. It may actually have been a decent Brown Ale recipe, but a Scottish Ale it was not. Luckily I was able to look at the recipe and explain to the brewer what was wrong with it and suggest changes. Sadly too many brewers cling to their fake beer recipes like that one Facebook friend that still believes Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

If you are a new and/or inexperienced brewer here are some quality sources of beer recipes that will steer you clear of fake beer:

  • The American Homebrewer's Association (AHA): Every brewer should join the AHA just for Zymurgy magazine which features around a dozen great recipes in each issue. AHA members also have access to award winning recipes from the National Homebrew Competition. The AHA also publishes recipes and articles from noted craft brewers for free on its website.
  • Craft Beer and Brewing: The Craft Beer and Brewing magazine is perfect for a brewer that is also a huge craft beer fan; as the name suggests the magazine and website focus equally on craft beer and brewing. Any organization that can publish a clone recipe for Double Sunshine can be trusted.
  • Brew Your Own: BYO publishes lots of great clone recipes and articles on different beer styles. Many are available for free on their website including several of Jamil Zanichieff's recipes from Brewing Classic Styles. 
  • Brulosophy
  • Michael Tonsmeire: The Mad Fermentationist
  • Any book published by Brewers Publications: Brewing Classic Styles is the book I always reference when brewing a style for the first time or starting a new recipe. The insight into each style is at least as useful as the actual recipes. I also highly recommend Gordon Strong's Modern Homebrew Recipes. Two other titles suggested my members of the Home Brew Network Facebook group: Clone Brews and Radical Brewing
  • Experimental Brewing: Authors Denny Conn and Drew Beechum have also published books for Brewers Publications. 
  • Shut Up About Barclay Perkins: These recipes are from actual brewing logs thanks to Ron Pattinson's extensive research. A go-to resource for historic British styles. 
  • Actual breweries: Stone, Sierra Nevada, Ballast Point, and Brew Dog are just a few commercial brewers who have released actual recipes to the public. 
  • Recipe kits: The only difference between buying a kit and putting together your own recipe is that the former is pre-packaged in a box, while the latter likely leaves the shop in a bag. I think there is merit for brewers of all experience levels to brew a kit from time to time. There are lots of ingredients that I would never have tried if they weren't included in a kit. Some shops sell kits based on recipes directly from commercial brewers. 
  • Homebrew Academy: I am not too familiar with this site, but it came recommended on The Homebrew Network Facebook group. Homebrew Academy features recipes, gear reviews, and articles on brewing techniques. 
  • Beer and Wine Journal: Another suggested site I am not overly familiar with, but a quick scan of a couple of articles makes me comfortable adding it to the list. Generally if a recipe is accompanied by an article there is a better chance it is not a fake beer recipe. 
  • HomeBrewTalk*: HBT has a trove of recipes. These recipes aren't necessarily directly from commercial brewers or homebrewing luminaries, but as a message board many of the recipes have long discussion threads. In the threads other users provide feedback, and users will describe how they have tweaked the recipe over time. HBT has massive threads where users have collaborated to clone beers like Heady Topper and Westvleteren 12.
This is not to say that recipes published online by obscure or anonymous users are all worthless or all bad. With any recipe you find never hesitate to look at it with a critical eye. Do the ingredients in the recipe make sense? Will they provide the flavors that you're looking for? If it is a commercial clone recipe, do the ingredients match any information provided by the brewery itself? If the recipe includes brewer's notes that is always a plus.  

If you see something that you are sure isn't quite right or doesn't make sense, don't hesitate to change it. Even the sources I listed aren't always bulletproof. I brewed a clone of Sierra Nevada Celebration based on a BYO recipe, but I made a couple tweaks after double checking Sierra Nevada's website and my own intuition.

If you aren't sure if the recipe you are looking at makes sense or is fake beer never hesitate to ask another brewer for feedback. This is where building relationships with the staff at your local homebrew shop, making friends with people at your local craft brewery, or joining a  homebrew club can be an invaluable resource. This advice is coming from a person who abhors small talk and forced social interaction.

As I describe the threat that fake beer poses with tongue firmly in-cheek, the real threat fake beer poses is that if  new or inexperienced brewers brews one of these poorly constructed recipes and the beer doesn't come out the way they had hoped. Putting the time and effort in to brew a batch and not having it come out the way you had hoped can be discouraging to any brewer. As a community we need to do what we can to guard against other brewers making a crappy beer because they were using a crappy recipe and then losing interest in the hobby because their beer was crappy.

Beer recipes are like anything else you see on the internet, The more reputable the source, the more confidence you can have that all the ingredients in that recipe are there for the right reasons. Always approach everything you see with a degree of skepticism and evaluate it before accepting it as gospel truth.

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*Disclosure: I am a contributor at HBT

Monday, May 15, 2017

Don't carboy unprotected

At the beginning of the brewery tour at the Samuel Adams brewery in Boston, guests walk through in improvised tunnel into the brewhouse. The tunnel is actually an old fermention tank cut open on either side. The outside is white fiberglass, but the inside is actual glass. In a lot of ways glass is the best material to store or ferment beer in.

While some homebrewers invest in expensive stainless steel fermenters, the vast majority of us use glass or plastic fermenters. I prefer glass because it isn't as prone to scratching as plastic, it doesn't stain, and it doesn't absorb odor. Glass does carry a few obvious negatives. The most obvious is its susceptibility to shattering.

Related image
Every homebrewer's nightmare. Imagine cleaning that up!

A glass carboy in and of itself is awkward to pick up or carry. Carboys are even more cumbersome when filled with five gallons of beer, or are wet after being cleaned. I can't imagine dropping a carboy full of beer. Firstly, if that happened I would be very fortunate to escape injury. If I were lucky enough not to gash myself, I would then have to clean up five gallons of beer and huge shards of glass.

A long time ago I made the decision to purchase handles for every carboy I own. I won't buy a new carboy without buying a handle of some kind to go with it. For my five gallon carboys I use a coated metal handle that attaches to the neck. These work very well when trying to tilt or drag a carboy, as well as carrying empty carboys. The only issue with these types of handles is that they are not recommended for carrying the weight full carboys. The weight of a full carboy could make the nipple along the neck of the carboy snap. When my five gallon carboys are full, I will use the handle to tilt them up, reach under with my other hand and use that hand along the bottom to bear most of the weight.

All of my 5 gallon carboys have one of these handles.

When I bought my first six gallon carboy, I bought a Brew Hauler harness. The Brew Hauler loops around the bottom of the carboy and can be used to carry a full carboy. The Brew Hauler is more expensive than the orange handle. That's really the only reason I haven't bought Brew Haulers for all of my carboys. 

The Brew Hauler can carry the weight of a full carboy

Both types of handles make me feel comfortable that I won't drop a carboy. One thing that is a concern is sometimes when I move carboys they will clink against each other. Denny Conn had two glass carboys shatter this way and swore off glass forever. Glass carboys are also clear and depending on where they are stored can cause your beer to skunk by exposing them to light.  

To protect my carboys from light, I will cover them with an old t-shirt. My cellar is a who's who of old Red Sox shirseys. Going forward I am going to keep the t-shirts on all of the time to prevent glass-on-glass contact. The only time I'll take them off will be for cleaning.
Mike Lowell could walk into the 2017 Red Sox
That is how I carboy safely, but that certainly isn't the only way to protect your carboys. One method I have seen used is to carry carboys in milk crates. This would seem to guard against glass-on-glass contact and would enable the brewer to carry the full weight of the carboy by grabbing the handles on the crate.

Image result for carboy milk crate
This handsome greyhound approves of his owner's safe carboy practices.

There are specialized carboy bags or carriers online and on places like Etsy that are designed to block light and to be able to carry the weight of a full carboy. Some brewers will make their own, or have a family member make their own carrier for their carboys

This homemade cover/carrier looks cozy enough to sleep in.
If imagining cleaning up five gallons of beer and shards of glass isn't enough to make you want to protect your carboy I don't know what to tell you. It reminds me of some of the insurance customers I talk to who think carrying the bare minimum coverage limits is sufficient because they "have never had an accident". Not protecting your carboy is irresponsible and unsafe. That is to say noting about potentially losing a batch to a shattered carboy. It is a stupid risk to take.

When handled safely, glass is vastly superior to plastic as a fermentation. I have been planning to phase out my plastic buckets and replace them with glass carboy. This winter I did buy two new plastic buckets for the sole purpose of saving a few dollars. When I had to recently dump a batch, that was my final straw. 

I recently purchased two six gallon carboys from another brewer who upgraded to stainless steel colonials. I sold one to a friend who recently dropped a carboy and lost a batch. That gives me two six gallon glass carboys that I can use as primary fermenters for five gallon batches. Even if I have a double brew day I can ferment in glass. In addition to that I have five, five gallon carboys I can use for secondary fermentation and/or long term aging. I can also use one of those as a primary fermenter for my three-gallon BIAB batches

I am now a 100% glass man! The only plastic that will be touching my beer will be tubing, siphons, and bottling equipment. My hope is going all-glass in the cellar, replacing my plastic racking and bottling equipment more regularly, and doubling down on my cleaning and sanitation (in particular my bottles), that I will have clean beer every time. That means avoiding batches that I know are bad right away, as well as the slower-acting infections that have seemed to plague my brewhouse over the years. 

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Wicked Weed sells out to the High End

Two years ago Jennie and I went on an epic road trip full of beer and baseball. In addition to passing through Atlanta, North Carolina, and Delaware we spent a night in Asheville. Out of all the places we hit in the area, Wicked Weed was my favorite. I brought back a couple of bottles to save for a special occasion. About a year later Wicked Weed started distributing to Massachusetts.
Image result for wicked weed logo

Last Tuesday night we were sorting entries for our club's upcoming competition. As we sorted all of the entries we received we shared several bottles of Wicked Weed. Wednesday morning Wicked Weed announced that they had been acquired by The High End, AB InBev's craft division.

I have been more ambivalent than most in regards to these type of acquisitions. However I have found when it comes time to buy a beer I have a hard time pulling the trigger on purchasing beer from brands that have "sold out". Last September I was at Fenway Park I was all set to buy a Goose IPA until I saw cans of Harpoon IPA in a case.

Likewise I haven't purchased anything from Northern Brewer since their acquisition.  I've received numerous discount emails offering 10%, 15%, and even 20% off of my purchase, but I haven't been able to bring myself to spend my money there.

Working at Modern Homebrew Emporium every week mitigates the convenience of buying supplies online. When I do spend money on ingredients and supplies there is something to be said for spending it at a place that finds it in their heart to pay me! If there is something I couldn't get at the shop I think I would still prefer to support another vendor that isn't associated with AB InBev.

I can't blame anyone who creates something and then decides to sell it when offered an inordinate amount of money. I still unapologetically enjoy Leinenkugel's, and will probably buy Bourbon County on Black Friday. Still, I find that when I dig into my wallet more often than not I choose to support independent businesses, especially local ones.

There is some gray area as far as "selling out" goes. Brands like Redhook, Widmer, and Kona do not meet the Brewers Association's criteria for craft beer because their parent company, the somewhat ironically-named Craft Brew Alliance, is 31% owned by AB. Brooklyn Brewery sold 24% of their company to Japanese macro-brewer Kirin. The Brewers Association has to draw the line somewhere, but should that 7% difference make a huge difference to a consumer?

One of my favorite breweries Founders sold 30% ownership to Spanish macro Mahou San Miguel. As far as I know Mahou San Miguel doesn't partake in some of AB's more questionable business practices.

I have no particular animus toward any of these brands that have been acquired by AB or another macro-brewer. When I buy beer or buy brewing supplies I go with my gut. I don't buy a lot of sour beer. Maybe I'll pick up a bottle every couple of months. Next time I see Wicked Weed on the shelf I certainly won't feel the same way I felt that night we walked into the Funkatorium.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Tasting Notes: Queue Juice (New England IPA)

I held off on a brew day post for this brew as I brewed it specifically for Homebrew Talk. It was a post specifically about New England IPA. I shared my insights, tips, and brewed a sample batch. The recipe was loosely based on my previous Haze for Daze.. As there are several commercial beers named Haze for Daze. I came up with a new name for this brew. Oh, and somehow I ended up adding 43% more hops.

When a beer is dry hopped for too long, or too much dry hops are added the beer can take on a grassy flavor. There is a line where too much is too much. This beer was right on the edge. It was on the edge of the cliff. It's tippy toes were just over the edge. It was looking down as tiny pebbles crumbled off the edge and fell into the abyss below.

The snow on the ground indicates it was bottled awhile ago. 
The beer poured a hazy deep gold color. There was a thick, frothy white head with excellent retention and left a beautiful lacing on the glass.

One thing I am comfortable saying is that this is my most aromatic IPA I have brewed to date. Lots of papaya, mango, and tropical fruits.

Carbonation was medium to medium-high. The carbonation does cut through the creaminess to an extent. It also amplifies the astringency that the hops leave in the finish.

When the beer was young the flavor was a wall of hops. After two weeks in the bottle I did get an unpleasant grassy flavor. A week later that grassy and vegetal taste lessened and the beer hit its peak. It was around this time I shared bottles with several friends and coworkers who all really seemed to enjoy it. Jennie even gave it 4.5 stars on Untappd.  

Eamon, my manager at Modern Homebrew Emporium examines my Queue Juice.

When I saw the Boston Worts added a special New England IPA category to their competition I decided to enter the beer. Their judging was on May 6, the same day as the judging for our competition. Queue Juice was bottled on March 12, seven weeks before judging. I threw a couple bottles in the back of the fridge and hoped for the best. Queue Juice recorded a respectable, if unspectacular 26. As of press time I still haven't received my score sheets.

On Sunday May 7 I opened one of the handful of bottles I had left. The hop aroma was nice but not nearly as intense as it was a few weeks earlier. The grassy flavor was gone and the hop flavor had similarly lessened. That slight astringency in the finish never went away. Without seeing the scoresheets, that score felt right to me as I drank Queue Juice on the couch. 

I can take several lessons from this brew:
  • The flavor of NE IPAs fall off so quickly I will never make a batch larger than three gallons unless it is for an event like Ales over ALS or jamboree.
  • There is a point of diminishing returns with dry hop additions. This beer had a really nice hop flavor and aroma, but if I dialed back and dialed in the amount of hops I add the beer would be smoother. In future batches I will work to find that sweet spot.
  • If entering an IPA in a competition the beer has no chance if it is not at the peak of freshness. I planned out The Anti-Chris perfectly at it placed at the Worts' competition. I suspected freshness would be an issue for Queue Juice and entered the beer as a bit of a lark when I saw the special NE IPA category. 
I am overwhelmed with beer at the moment that is ready to be bottled and racked. Warm weather is also coming which makes fermenting American styles difficult for me. I probably won't brew another batch of Queue Juice until the fall. I do have some fun, experimental hops I look forward to trying in future batches!

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Keeping up with trends: Brewing "New England Style" pale ales and IPAs at home

Keeping up with trends will be a monthly look at trends in the craft beer scene and how it relates back to homebrewing. Published for Homebrew Talk. See the original story here

Whether "New England Style" (NE style) pale ales and IPAs are in fact new styles is a matter of some debate. While there are breweries outside of New England and even the northeast, the style is most prevalent in New England.  What isn't debatable is the impact these beers are having on the marketplace as large national and regional craft brewers are losing market share to smaller brewers. Wachusett, a venerable regional craft brewer with roots going back to 1994 is getting into the game releaseing their own NE style IPA called Wally.

An open-fermented NE IPA I brewed with 1187. It was amazing
until the batch got infected. Perils of open fermentation...
Even more than any other IPA, freshness is key with NE IPAs. The hop aroma and flavor the style is known for can fade quickly. This gives smaller NE IPA producers have a huge advantage over larger brewers. Tree House and Trillium typically sell their beer the same day, or no more than a few days after it is canned. Customers line up, and more often than not that day's allotment of cans sells out. Producers of the style who distribute like Maine Beer Company are judicious in their allotments to retailers to ensure the beer doesn't sit for too long.

In contrast, Founders tells retailers that All Day IPA is fresh up to 120 days from packaging date. The beer is in cans, and if stored cold the beer probably is perfectly fine. However if a discerning buyer checks the date of All Day IPA or another national brand, and then checks the date of a smaller local producer, which one will the customer choose?

As homebrewers we enjoy a similar advantage when it comes to freshness. If you are the type of brewer that will brew a five gallon batch, and keep it on tap for several months as you slowly drink it, NE IPA might not be the best style for you to brew. When I brew NE pale ales and IPAs I usually brew smaller batches, or I'll brew it for a special event where I know the beer will be kicked.

If you are bottle conditioning a NE IPA, add even more dry hops to the beer to compensate for the hop character you will lose while the beer conditions. Kegging is preferable to bottling if you can keg. Some brewers will dry hop in a keg, and use CO2 to push the beer to a separate purged serving keg to avoid exposing the beer to oxygen.

Compared to West Coast IPAs where all of the character in the beer is from the hops, NE IPAs can be a bit more broad and complex. There are certainly many commercial examples of NE IPA that use regular US 2-row malt and Chico yeast, but there are also examples that use more flavorful British base malts and estery yeasts. Any malt and yeast character should still be in the background, but there is room for interpretation. If you do a side-by-side tasting of  The Alchemist's Heady Topper and Lawson's Finest Liquids' Sip of Sunshine, that will give you an idea of the breadth of the style.

As a hop forward style, crystal malts should not be used, or used in very small quantities. If you have a house IPA recipe and want to convert it to a NE IPA, replacing the crystal malt with flaked wheat, barley, or oats is a good start. The flaked grains will provide the body and head retention that crystal malt would have, but without a cloying sweetness. A small amount of Munich malt can also be used to add color and a bit of malt flavor.

If brewing a NE IPA with extract, I wouldn't suggest using flaked grains unless you are going to do a partial-mash. A grist of 95% Golden Light extract and 5% corn sugar will approximate the body and mouthfeel of the style. Subbing out a can of light extract with wheat liquid extract wouldn't be a bad idea either. If employing a partial boil, make sure to utilize a late extract addition  to ensure proper hop utilization and guard against kettle carmelization.

More than anything else the style is known for it's hazy appearance. When John Kimmich designed Heady Topper he didn't try to make a hazy beer. He wanted to make the best IPA he could, and it just happened to be hazy. Backlash brewed their Ricochet IPA with and without biofine, and brewer Helder Pimintel found he greatly perfected the hazier batch. When brewing a NE IPA at home hold off on the whirlfloc. Irish moss, biofine, gelatin, or isinglass.

For hop selection, the newer hops with more of a stone fruit-type flavor and aroma are excellent choices. In particular the new hop varieties coming out of the US and Australia like Mosaic, Equinox, Azacca, Nelson, and Vic Secret. That doesn't mean a homebrewer you should be married to the latest and greatest hard to find hops. Last summer I brewed a wonderful NE IPA using only free hops I brought home from HomebrewCon: Pekko, Idaho 007, and Triple Perle.

Many of the prominent NE IPA producers started as exceedingly small operations. As such, they didn't have the ability to contract for every hop they wanted. Noah Bissell designed Bissell Brothers' flagship IPA The Substance specifically to use less sought-after hop varieties that he knew they could get. Noah emailed me the recipe in 2014, and I posted the recipe on the HBT recipe database.  Hop availabiliy is why commercial brewers use complex blends of hops. If one of seven hops used in a recipe isn't available and needs to be substituted, the change in flavor should be far less noticeable. It is also  why brewers have rotating IPA series like Night Shift's Morph.

More critical than hop selection is the timing of the hop additions. A very small bittering charge at 60 minutes or a first wort hop addition is all you need before flameout. The idea is to have just enough hop bitterness to supply balance without producing a bitter beer.. Commercial brewers will then add hops after flameout during the whirlpool stage. A homebrewer can use pumps to recirculate the wort to create a whirlpool. A stir with a spoon can also work. You will extract some bitterness from the whirlpool hops. BeerSmith gives you as good of an estimate as you can get of exactly how much bitterness you are getting from the whirlpool additions.

Dry hopping is everything in this style. In particular what Michael Tonsmeire describes as biotransformation. Contrary to previous orthodoxy, dry hopping during active fermentation is critical. The way the dry hops interact with the fermenting yeast gives the beer its "juicy" hop flavor. I advise everyone I talk to who is brewing the style to add 1/3 to 1/2 of their dry hops during active fermentation to obtain the haze and juicy hop flavor the beer is supposed to have. The rest of the dry hops can be added 5-10 days before packaging to punch up the hop aroma.

A NE Pale Ale brewed with 1084.
One of the mythical aspects of the style was the Alchemist's "Conan" yeast strain. Before several small yeast labs propagated Conan, home brewers who made the trek up to northern Vermont would culture Conan from cans of Heady. Conan with it's high attenuation leaves plenty of yeast in suspension. It also has a wonderful peach ester profile which compliments the hop flavor perfectly.

The other popular yeast used in NE IPAs is Wyeast 1318 London Ale III. My first experiences with 1318 I brewed bitters, milds, and old ale and a milk stout. Used in traditional English styles 1318 leaves a beautifully clear beer. There is something about how the yeast interacts with dry hops that it stays in suspension and leaves a hazy NE IPA. Always known for it's fruity esters, 1318 with it's moderate attenuation leaves a nice soft mouthfeel that is another hallmark of the style. I work one day a week at a LHBS in Cambridge, Mass, and every week it is a struggle to keep 1318 in stock.

As with the hops, there isn't a need to be married to these sought-after yeasts. Plenty of commercial brewers still use Chico to make NE IPAs. I have personally used Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale and 1187 Ringwood Ale and found that both worked really well.

In my experience the beer should finish with an FG of 1.010 to 1.015 to have the soft mouthfeel it needs. When selecting your yeast, you may need to adjust your mash temperature and  percentage of flaked adjuncts to finish in that range. The last time I used Conan in a regular-strength IPA, 25% of my grist was flaked adjuncts and I mashed at 152F. The recipe below is using Chico, so my grist is only 16.4% flaked wheat, and I am mashing a little bit lower.

The other contributor to the soft mouthfeel is water. Conventional wisdom is that sulfates in water accentuate hop character, while chlorides accentuate malt. When brewing a traditional IPA a 3:1 ratio of sulfates to chlorides was the rule of thumb. With a NE IPA, that orthodoxy is flipped on its head. I've played around with ratios of 2:1 and even 1:1. A friend in my homebrew club brewed the closest NE IPA to Tree House that I have ever tasted. He knows far more about water chemistry than I do, and in that beer he used a ratio of 1:3 sulfates to chlorides. Also when using this many pale malts monitoring the pH of your mash is also critical.

Luckily my municipal water is high in chlorides. I am going to try that 1:3 ratio here. This is a bit of a kitchen sink brew. Based on a previous recipe, I tweaked it to use up leftover ingredients from previous batches. I also grabbed a couple of hops from my LHBS' "experimental" section. As a last minute brew day, Safale S05 from Fermentis should do the trick:

Queue Juice

American IPA (14 B)

Type: All Grain
Batch Size: 3.15 gal
Boil Size: 4.80 gal
Boil Time: 60 min
End of Boil Vol: 3.80 gal
Final Bottling Vol: 3.00 gal
Fermentation: Ale, Single Stage
Date: 20 Feb 2017
Brewer: Jason Chalifour
Equipment: 3 Gal BIAB (8g kettle)
Efficiency: 70.00 %

Mash Ingredients
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
6 lbsBrewers Malt 2-Row (Briess) (1.8 SRM)Grain671.6 %
1 lbs 6.0 ozWheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM)Grain716.4 %
1 lbsBorlander Munich Malt (Briess) (10.0 SRM)Grain811.9 %
Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
SaccharificationAdd 22.06 qt of water at 157.4 F150.0 F75 min
Mash OutHeat to 168.0 F over 7 min168.0 F10 min
First Wort Hops
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
0.25 ozBravo [15.80 %] - First Wort 60.0 minHop922.2 IBUs
0.25 ozTopaz [16.10 %] - First Wort 60.0 minHop1022.6 IBUs
Steeped Hops
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
0.25 ozBravo [15.50 %] - Steep/Whirlpool 15.0 minHop114.9 IBUs
0.25 ozEquinox (HBC 366) [13.40 %] - Steep/Whirlpool 15.0 minHop124.2 IBUs
0.25 ozMosaic (HBC 369) [11.00 %] - Steep/Whirlpool 15.0 minHop133.5 IBUs
0.25 ozTopaz [16.10 %] - Steep/Whirlpool 15.0 minHop145.1 IBUs

Dry Hop/Bottling Ingredients
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
0.75 ozEquinox (HBC 366) [15.00 %] - Dry Hop 15.0 DaysHop160.0 IBUs
0.75 ozMosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] - Dry Hop 15.0 DaysHop170.0 IBUs
0.50 ozBravo [15.50 %] - Dry Hop 15.0 DaysHop180.0 IBUs
0.50 ozTopaz [16.10 %] - Dry Hop 15.0 DaysHop190.0 IBUs
0.25 ozHBC 438 (Experimental) [16.60 %] - Dry Hop 15.0 DaysHop200.0 IBUs
2.00 ozMosaic (HBC 369) [12.25 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 DaysHop210.0 IBUs
1.00 ozBravo [15.50 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 DaysHop220.0 IBUs
1.00 ozEquinox (HBC 366) [15.00 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 DaysHop230.0 IBUs
1.00 ozTopaz [16.10 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 DaysHop240.0 IBUs
0.75 ozHBC 438 (Experimental) [16.60 %] - Dry Hop 5.0 DaysHop250.0 IBUs

L-R: First wort hops, whirlpool hops, first dry hop,
second dry hop which includes the hops still in the package
I will add the first dry hops two to three days after pitching my yeast. The second dry hops will be added five days before bottling.

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