The last of the three wedding beers is one I’ve brewed a couple times before. I love big hoppy IPAs, and I knew everyone at the wedding would be expecting an amazing IPA on tap. After brewing an Enjoy By Clone a few months ago, it was an easy decision to brew that recipe for the wedding.
I took another stab at the recipe last month. For that batch I decided to see how the recipe fared with an American yeast, and it turned out fantastic. So with plenty of confidence in the recipe, I finally got around to brewing this beer about 4 weeks before the wedding. Kiernan is again splitting this batch with me, so it’s a 10 gallon batch. Once I started adding up the numbers, it was clear this is the biggest recipe I’ve ever brewed. The most grain, and without-a-doubt the most hops. On the bright side, I learned my mash tun can fit 33lbs of grain with a fair amount of room to spare =)
As for actually brewing this beer, it was pretty straight forward. I did a 75min mash at 147* before running out and sparging. The mash hops make this beer lauter a little slower than usual, but it’s not too bad. After I had all the wort in the kettle, we boiled it for 90 minutes, then whirlpooled for 20 minutes before chilling to 62F. Chilling took some time, but we ended up with two full fermenters at 1.082 (The hydrometer photo had been in the fridge for awhile before I took the photo).
Dry Hopped: 09-11-13
16.5lbs English Pale Malt (3.5L)
Mash at 147* for 75min
4oz Belma (Calypso) – Mash Hopped
2.4oz Apollo @ 90
2oz ea. Simcoe, Belma (Delta), Northern Brewer(Target), Amarillo @ 15
2.5oz ea. Citra, Cascade, Centennial (Motueka) @ Flameout
Whirlpool for 20min
WLP090 – Super San Diego Yeast
Dry Hop 1: 3oz ea Nelson Sauvin & Galaxy
Dry Hop 2: 3oz ea Nelson Sauvin & Galaxy
Both fermenters got a healthy dose of O2 before pitching the yeast. For one fermenter, I re-pitched WLP090 from the Cali Common, and the other I pitched a 3L starer of 090 to see if there was any difference. They both fermented nearly identically, and hit the same terminal gravity in about 5 days. Due to a mixture of being busy and lazy, it was a good 9 days before I racked this beer to thoroughly CO2-purged kegs for dry hopping. Six days later, with just enough time to carb before the wedding, I racked the beer to keg, and stuck it on gas.
I never really had a chance to try this beer before the wedding, other than a hydrometer sample that tasted amazing. So when we pulled the first pint on Saturday night after the nuptials, I was smiling ear-to-ear. It turned out incredible — probably the best single batch of beer I’ve brewed. I’m not sure if it was the copious gassing of the kegs before racking, or just the overall attention to detail, but this beer rocked.
This is the biggest and boldest hop aroma I’ve ever achieved in an IPA. It was fruity, citrusy, and sweet in the nose. Nelson gives off a bit of a dank aroma, but it’s not nearly as strong as the tropical fruit character. The flavor started off with big complex hops, followed by smooth bitterness, and a hint of alcohol. The alcohol note was present, but not too strong. Almost no one guessed the beer was 9.4-9.5% ABV.
This beer was unquestionably the superstar at the wedding. Everyone had nothing but praise for it, and the keg kicked about 2 hours into the reception. Our friends and family that don’t normally drink IPAs liked it a lot. Our friends and family that do like IPAs, absolutely loved this beer. It was probably a little to blame for everyone being a bit tipsy by the end of the night, but hey, that’s just collateral damage. =)