Monday, April 14, 2008

The SIPA (Spring IPA)

The SIPA is my first big time IPA. It contains over a ½ pound of hops for 5 gallons and came in at about 6.5% ABV. I was worried during bottling because it had a slight sulfur smell and I thought it was ruined. It smelt great in the carboy, but as I was bottling I smelled the off-aroma. I decided to cross my fingers and let it bottle condition out. I was extremely happy with the result. The SIPA has a wonderful aroma of big citrusy hops and a dry smooth bitterness. It’s only been bottled conditioning for a little over a week and I can’t wait to taste it a month down the road. The alcohol needs a little time to smooth and the bitterness and malt need to get some time to mingle in the bottle. The recipe is below.


Simpsons Caramalt              8 oz  In Mash/Steeped
Dingemans Caramel Pils 8 oz In Mash/Steeped
Pilsen Light Liquid Extract 6lb 15min
Belgian Candi Sugar Amber 1lb 15min


Columbus   11.0%     1.00 oz   60 Min
Simcoe 13.2% 1.00 oz 30 Min
Glacier 5.0% 1.00 oz 15 Min
Cascade 4.5% 1.00 oz 10 Min
Cascade 4.5% 1.00 oz 1 Min
Mount Hood 4.5% 1.00 oz 1 Min
Chinook 13.5% 1.00 oz Dry-Hopped
Amarillo 10.0% 1.00 oz Dry-Hopped
Columbus 12.6% 1.00 oz Dry-Hopped


Wyeast 1332-Northwest Ale
Fermented at 67 degrees


The Spring IPA took second place a recent competition. I renamed it for the event. The judges stated that it needs a little more malt and suggested adding some crystal malt. This would add a better mouth feel and should round it out a little more. It did great in aroma and appearance. So I think with a little more mouth feel and malt, this is a first place IPA.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fermentation Temperature Control System

Over the winter, I picked up a temperature control box off Northern Brewer. The temperature kit came with the control unit, the Thermowell stopper, and a Fermawrap. This worked great in the winter months, but now that spring is here, I need to keep the temperature down, not up. This requires refrigeration. Though I do have an extra fridge, this is used to hold my bottled beers (and soon to be kegs). I can’t keep the fridge temperature at 66-68 and keep my bottles cold, so I needed another solution.

About 5 years ago, I happen to get a promotional Red Bull fridge that can hold soda’s, beer, and what ever needs to be cold. The fridge is tall and slender and I keep it tucked away in the garage. I break it out in the summer months, when I have a party. The fridge is very energy efficient and is insulated to keep the inside temperature steady for a long time. I tested it out and was amazed that the 6-gallon Better Bottle I use fit right in.

For the blow off tube cup, I dug out the Christmas wreath holder my wife uses on the front door, taped a Double Big Gulp cup to it, and hung it on the side of the fridge. This keeps the system as one unit. The fridge is on wheels, so I can wheel it out of the way, if I need to.

The fridge can get down to almost freezing, so it can be used for lagering and also brightening up ales.

Below are some pictures of the system. I’ll post back once my Pale Ale is finished.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Hop Trellis Design V.2

This is the final design of my hop trellis. I ended up using my chimney instead of placing a permanent pole into the ground. I figured the Chimney was sturdier. I also can remove the trellis during the winter months. Since the sunniest spot in my yard is very visible to the neighborhood, this was a request from the wife.
So the hops are planted, the trellis is set up, and the weather is good. Everything is ready for a great first year of hop growing.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The ALEiens Have Landed

The crew here at the Basement Brewing blog are looking to take these discussions offline and into the streets. I’d like to introduce the newest home brew club in the Northeast Philadelphia and Suburbs area, the ALEiens Homebrew Club. We still are trying to figure out all the details, but as of right now, it is just a couple guys looking to improve the quality of their home brew. We would love to have anyone in the area join us once a month to share tips, knowledge, and of course homebrew. Check out the website and join our newly formed Google Group. We are still deciding on the first meeting date, but we will let everyone in the group know.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Wanted: A BJCP National Judge in the Philadelphia Area

Last night I was sipping on my recently brewed Scotch Kissed Vanilla Bean Robust Porter and began thinking to myself, I wish I knew a BJCP National Judge. I personally would like to go through the training myself to educate my palette on the various off flavors there are in beer, so I can adjust my brew process to fix them. I have read numerous books, listened to podcasts, and have entered competitions. The competitions have given me the best feedback since I don’t know what those off flavors taste like.

So now, I am looking for someone to apprentice under and to help educate my palette so I can eventually move into the judge status one day. But mostly to help me taste my beers properly and improve on their quality. If you are interested in sharing your knowledge, my information is on my profile.