I think this is like the 4th or 5th time I've brewed this beer, so sorry if it's getting a little repetitive. With the holidays fast approaching, and 1lb of last year's Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy in the freezer I needed to use up, this recipe was kind of a no-brainer. I also find it interesting, as Stone has started to release this beer with wider distribution, I think a little of the novelty has worn off. It's still one of the best DIPAs available these days, and one of my all-time favs. I have a theory regarding the availability of a beer and how good it's perceived as a result, but we'll save that topic for a later date.
We're not really changing much as far as the recipe goes. In fact everything I did was just because I had some hops to use up. I mash hopped the beer with Pacifica because I don't feel the mash hop really makes that much difference. I also peppered in a little El Dorado into the 15 minute addition. As for the yeast, I prepped a 3L starter of WLP090 a good 4 days prior, and crashed the starter the night before the brew.
It was a rather warm fall, which made for a really nice day to be brewing outside. I mashed this long and low for 75 minutes at 147. The mash hops made the recirculation flow a little slower than normal, but it didn't cause any problems. After a quick sparge, this was boiled for 90 minutes, then chilled down nice and low to 58F. Fermentation started very quick for this beer, as it was slowing down within 3 days, and done after 5.
I wanted to use this post as a bit of a springboard to talk about some dry hopping techniques. It tends to be one of the questions I get asked most about, so I wanted to address some of the more common questions.
First off, oxidation is definitely the boogeyman that it's made out to be. I can't stress that point enough. My IPAs improved 3-fold once I started to get really serious about purging everything with CO2.
Secondly, yeast contact is, and isn't all that bad. I'll explain. I used to shun the practice of dropping the dry hop dose into the primary. From my experience the hop notes were muted, and the dry hop character just wasn't near as strong. I also found some of the pellets got stuck in the yeast cake, and never fully broke apart.
I've found a use for this practice though with multi-stage dry hops. Lately I've been adding the first dose in the primary while there is still a fair amount of yeast activity. This ensures the pellets will mix thoroughly, and any O2 in the pellets will be scavenged by the yeast. I'll then rack to a CO2-purged keg, and dry hop the second dose there. Finally the beer is racked to a clean keg for serving. This might sound like a lot of work, but I find that it best replicates the typical commercial brewer's use of a conical.
Many commercial brewers including Sierra Nevada and Firestone Walker advocate adding dry hops while yeast are still active. Once fermentation is complete they'll drop the yeast and hops, then add more dry hops. Finally they'll chill the beer before transferring to bright tanks. For me to replicate that process it's Primary > Dry Hops > Rack to keg > Dry Hops > Rack to clean keg.
For brewers without kegging equipment or CO2 tanks, you'll have to experiment to see if your IPAs are better with all the dry hopping done in the primary or in the secondary. For me it was the later, but that was years ago, and I also sat on my primaries longer.
Lastly, you don't need to dry hop nearly as long as we've been told. I'm finding I get full dry hop flavor and aroma with just 2-4 days per addition, which is a far cry from the 7 we're used to.
So with all that said, let's talk about this beer.
I dry hopped this pretty quickly. The first dose went into the primary after just a few days, and I was racking this to a keg to dry hop after a week. I sat on those hops for a 4 more days before kegging this off. It was crystal clear and fully carbed by 12/7, which was roughly when I took pictures.
So as luck would have it, Stone announced they were releasing Enjoy By 12.26.14 just about a week after I brewed this batch. It's always nice to be able to compare a cloned beer against a fresh commercial example. Stone's was a little lighter in color, maybe 0.5SRM or so, and a bit cloudier than mine. Although haze in beer does tend to make it look lighter, so I'm curious if the SRM was actually all that off. Either way, both beers have a bright white head, even though theirs dissipates a little quicker.
As for the aroma, let me start off by saying, this Enjoy By was rather different than previous versions. It had a massive, very noticeable pineapple aroma, and that's not 'pretenious-beer-taster-talk'. I literally handed a glass to my wife and asked her: "What does this smell like?" to which she replied:"It smells like pineapple juice. What beer is that?". My version smelled like what I remember Enjoy By smelling like: tropical, yet dank, with plenty of citrusy aroma. There's just that unmistakable smell of the Nelson/Galaxy combo. The flavor of the two beers was much more similar. The pineapple flavor carried over, but it wasn't as strong as it smelled. Both beers hid their alcohol content well, and mouthfeel was very similar for both.
All in all, This beer turned out fantastic. It's just a really great DIPA recipe, there really isn't much more I can say; I could drink this 'till the cows come home. I am rather curious what Stone did differently with that 12.26 batch though. It was actually a very good beer, and the pineapple aroma was something new for an IPA. I suppose we'll figure that out another day though.
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