Finally Brewed English IPA, Congrats @tonbrewhouse, and Picking Wet Hops with @lostabbey

Hi dearest beer friends! I have a number of things to report to you on this lovely morning. First up is that I finally brewed a batch of English IPA! If you’ve followed along, that’s been about a month and a half in the making now.

I brewed Jamil’s recipe from Brewing Classic Styles but my version has a few tweaks as per usual. I bumped the OG up to 1.073 & upped the bittering hops a little. I also added some Admiral & Citra at flameout. Hop Union’s description on the package of Admiral is pretty dead on: “Pleasant. Hoppy”.

Actually, I changed the hop bill pretty much completely now that I think about it. I just couldn’t resist some Citra at flameout even though my East Kent Goldings hops seemed fairly legit. Quality of EKG apparently can be problematic. My pound from Hops Direct is pretty earthy, sweet sickly floral. It all melds together to give off a little danky licorice.

I also went with WLP023 Burton Ale yeast because its flavor descriptors looked fun & because its optimum fermentation temp range is 68-73. No pesky swamp coolering for this batch! Good thing I decided to link to it. Reviews indicate it might blow the lid off the bucket. I better put it in the bathtub.

My new Thermapen & wort chiller were nice additions to my brewday. The Thermapen is awesome. Quick readings. Good times. It’s only slightly unsettling that I got to mash out before finding out my Thermapen was consistently reading 6-8 degrees lower than my probe thermometer. I’ll make sure my Thermapen is properly calibrated today. I suspect it is, which means I’ve been mashing REALLY LOW for as long as my thermometer has been off. Wort chiller experience was a little off the heezie too because I didn’t find the right fitting to hook it up to the sink at Home Depot. I’m supposed to go back today to find the guy that ‘knows about these things’.

Speaking of iffy brewing, I got good and bad news this morning from the Beehive Brewoff in Utah. 595 entries & no awards for this humble brewer right here. I entered I Am Nelson Pale & the last 3 bottles of Lazy But Belgian. It’ll be interesting to see the score sheets. The good news is that my brewer from another mother Weston “Lil Spoon” Barkley won 1st (in Category 7 Amber Hybrids) for Mongrel, his highly decorated California Common! So congrats to the unstoppable Ton Brewhouse & best of luck in the Best of Show judging.

In other news, on Monday my beer buddy Mike & I drove down to the San Diego area to help Port Brewing/Lost Abbey pick wet hops harvested from a local field. Thankfully they brought them from the field, so we got to pick them in the warehouse. The hops were Nugget & Chinook and they smelled delicious. My nose couldn’t be trusted for days after.

Those guys were amazing hosts and rewarded us big time for our 5-6 hours of free labor. We got unlimited beer while we were hop picking & got to do some special sampling once we finished up. On top of that they sent us on our way with a couple extra bottles of our choosing! If anybody’s going to be in that area or an opportunity that like pops up again, I highly recommend it (and will likely see you there).

Finally, I feel obligated to report that there’s a chance my pursuit of total BJCP dominance could be slightly derailed. I interviewed for the position of head brewer on a 17bbl system in an area brewpub on Wednesday, so until I hear back I’ll likely be tinkering with Hef & IPA recipes AKA the recipes I’d need to develop first for that gig. Here’s a pic of my potential work station:

If I do get the gig, I will do everything I can to either merge this blogging effort into that enterprise OR link everybody to the new brewmaster blog that I’ll start. Rest assured that it is still my goal to master many styles & be an open book about all of my brewing efforts.

Off to the gym. Proost y’all.


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