IPAs are the bread and butter of most American craft breweries. It’s the style I’m most likely to order when I’m at a bar or restaurant, as most breweries have a handle on the style by now. Since I have chosen to brew many different styles, I’ve only brewed a straight-forward IPA once, and never from all grain. One of the side-effects of this deficiency is that I don’t feel comfortable with my knowledge of hops. Additionally I usually don’t have any hoppy beers on hand, despite that often being just what I’m in the mood to drink.
The brown ale is one of my favorite styles, partially because it’s fairly loosely defined. They’re usually low to medium gravity, and can be toasty, sweet, nutty, or even heavily hopped or soured. I’ve found most of them to be friendly, approachable, and simply relaxing to drink. Jason has asked for his brew to be a brown, and I’m excited to take shot at formulating my own recipe this time around. It will hopefully be a step up from my first brew.
This was not an easy brew day. I started by mashing in my 3 lbs of grain with 5 quarts of water at about 152 degrees F, and did my usual routine of covering the pot with the lid and wrapping it in a towel. I let it sit for 75 minutes to make sure I got plenty of fermentables out of the grains, but I got distracted (by writing for this blog, incidentally) and at the 75 minutes mark I realized I had no water to sparge with. I heated up 7 quarts to 170 degrees F for sparging, and realized that over the course of the 75 minutes, my mash had lost a whopping 10 degrees F (usually I only lose about 4 degrees). This didn’t have me too worried because of a 90 minute mash, I should have excellent conversion even with some setbacks, but little did I know this was only the start of my troubles.
I’ve been fermenting beer in my bedroom for two reasons: 1) it’s the most reasonable place for me to waste space in our apartment and 2) the temperature is as much as 8 degrees F cooler than elsewhere in the apartment during the cold months. Spring is finally here, and while I’m grateful for the opportunity to walk around and explore new parts of the city with Colleen, my bedroom will now be too warm to ferment in. I needed a solution for keeping the beer cool in a warm room while the yeast are throwing a hotter party than a hip-hop superstar.