East Coast Style IPA – take I
For our second Bunker Brewing experiment in The Bernard Shaw, we decided to have a go at trying to recreate an East Coast Style IPA. This method of brewing IPA’s has it’s origins in New England, with a number of world-renowned breweries in Vermont including Hillfarmstead, Lawson’s Finest Liquids and The Alchemist (Any true beer geek will be somewhat familiar with their fabled “Heady Topper”) really pushing the style forward. What separates an East Coast Style IPA from more conventional style IPA’s is the balance that is trying to be struck in the beer. Although some of these beers can carry as much bitterness as their traditional counterparts, generally it is much lower, with the focus being on aroma and perceived bitterness, heavily dry hopped and paired with a low colour malt bill, usually wheat and oats (think cloudy wheat beer meets tropicana with a lick of booze and bitterness thrown in at the end)
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Before starting our brew, we knew it was going to be a difficult one to pull off, especially on a 30L homebrew kit. The first challenge was to decide the amount of grain we needed to use. To give you an idea, our recipe called for 3 different forms of wheat, flaked oats, cara gold and a bog standard pale malt. The second challenge was to decipher the amount of hops needed to be added and when should they be added, both prior to and after the boil, not to mention 3 separate dry hop additions, oh and a 24 hour cold crash at the end of fermentation, which I will cover a bit more later on. After a bit of discussion as to whether or not a single mash would work with all that grain, we decided to jump in feet first and just go for it.
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We were mashing at a standard 68°C, so once we got our water up to temperature we added our grains. Almost straight away we knew we were in trouble. Trying to stir our mash to prevent and dough-balls was next to impossible. The mash was like a half dry, gloopy porridge, completely stuck with no water passing through it to recirculate. So after a bit of discussion, we decided we would transfer the mash out of The Grainfather into our bigger ‘cooler box’ mash tun. This was far from ideal as we want to aerate our wort as little as possible pre boil, but left with no other option we transferred our mash over as gently as we could and got the grains as evenly mixed the water with as little agitation as was possible and let in sit for an hour.
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Once the mash complete, we got ready to sparge. We opened the tap on the mash tun to pull off our first runnings and got about half a litre when the tap went dry. All the wheat in our grain bill totally blocked up the filter, not allowing any liquid to pass through and with it, knocking on the head any possibility of sparging. Time for everything to go in the bin and start from scratch next week.
To be continued…