Sunday, January 13, 2008

Vinnie’s Blind Pig IPA

It’s been over two months since I brewed last and was itching to brew an IPA. Due to the world wide hop shortage, it’s difficult to find the correct hops for most hoppy recipes. I ended up buying one of the only IPA kits left at It is a recipe by Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing Company and is the original double IPA version he created while working at Blind Pig Brewing. The beer is considered the first American Double IPA ever brewed commercially.

I haven’t moved to all grain brewing yet, so the recipe was a malt extract kit. Steve Hawk came over to help out with the brew, take in all the aromas that 5 ounces of hops give off, and share some of his personal home brews.

The recipe was pretty simple and went as such:

Malt Extracts
9.0lb - Ultralight Malt
1.0lb - Bavarian Wheat

Grains (steeped 30min)
0.5lb - Carapils
0.5lb - Crystal 40L

2.0oz - Centennial (60min)
0.5oz - Cascade (30min)
1.0oz - Cascade (15min)

Water Treatment
1 - Whirfloc (15min)
1tsp - Gypsum (15min)
1 - White Labs Servomyces Capsule (15min)

Secondary Fermentation
0.5oz - Cascade
1.0oz - Centennial
1.0oz - American Oak Chips

4.0oz - Corn Sugar

Since this is only my second brew ever, I am learning and trying new things. I ended up doing a couple steps different this time, hopefully for the better.

The first thing I did different was creating a yeast starter. This was a fun experience and I am hoping it pays off at the end by really dropping the specific gravity way down, helping dry the beer out.

The boil went smoothly. I tried another new method with the boil. I only added half the Malt extract at first to the boil and the second half with only 15 minutes left. This was to keep the specific gravity down of the wort in the kettle. I did this to allow the centennial hops to isomerize. Since I am only boiling 3 gallons in the kettle, the SG is really high during the boil. Then I add the extra 2 gallons in the fermentor to get me up to 5 gallons. The acid in the hops will not bitter as well in high gravity wort. By only adding half the Malt, the hops have a better chance to isomerize cleanly and really add some good bitterness. By adding this to the last 15 minutes, the malt will still pasteurize. Be careful, the added malt may cause another hot break and boil-over.

I treated my water for the first time in this brew. I added Gypsum to help protect against a soapy taste some IPA’s sometimes get. It does so by lowering the PH a little and making the beer a more acidic. The next new addition to the boil was a Whirlfloc tablet. This is a water clarifier like irish moss. My first beer was a wheat beer and wheat is supposed to be a little cloudy. I wanted the IPA to be as clear a possible, without having to use a filter. I was going to go with the Irish Moss, but have read better things about the Whirlfloc tablets.

With this brew, I bought an oxygen system. The system is basically a Bernzomatic Oxygen tank with some tubing and a stainless steel air stone. I aerated the hell out of the wort with pure oxygen before pitching and I aerated again 5 hours after pitching the yeast. This should help the already increased yeast supply grow more vigorously.

The yeast has been pitched in and I am waiting for it to start fermenting. I think with these new techniques I used will make the IPA come out awesome. There is still so much to learn and I hope to add new methods to my techniques for the next brew. I will update the blog with the IPA’s progressions.


shertz said...

Nice blog! Saw your link on the homebrew forum on google. Just made my first starter last night and have a nice thick sludge on the bottom. Keep us up-to-date on that IPA. Brewing a Belgian IPA on Saturday.

Jeff Louella said...

Well I placed the IPA in secondary about 11 days ago. 4 days into it, I dry hopped with 1oz of Centennial and .5oz of Cascade. Last night I bottled this beauty. The aroma was amazing and it tasted great. I can wait until it carbonates and matures a little.

Jeff Louella said...

I entered the IPA into a local competition and didn't do so hot. There were some off flavors for not having a steady fermentation. I received a 25 / 50. But a month after it has been refrigerated, I think those off flavors have subsided. It's still not the best of all beers, but it is improving a little. I think it may now be a 28-29 now. I hope to improve my process a little and get this beer up in the mid 30's.

tjr9175 said...

The off flavors you speak of may be due to the fermentation temp I fermented my last batch which was a scottish wee heavy in an ice bath/swamp method and kept it between 64 and 67 and it came out awesome and seemed to not need as much conditioning time as my other brews. big bucket 2 liter bottles and alotta temp checking is all I needed good luck