Things have slowed down in the realm of brewing for me lately. The Wife and I purchased a house, which while awesome, hasn’t left much time for beer. Between the house-buying process, packing, moving, and unpacking, it’s been a busy couple months.
On the bright side, I get to setup my brewery in a permanent fashion, which is something I haven’t had the luxury of in the past. Since we’ve always rented, my entire home-brew setup was built with portability in mind. It will be a nice change of pace to set things up exactly how I want. Plus, it’s always fun to get to play with new toys. There was also a pretty sweet little nook to put the kegerator in, so that worked out pretty well.
I do still have a few prior things to write about. There are still a few beers (dating back to last year), that I have on tap, so let’s get to talking about them. I’ve been brewing a lot of 10 gallon batches lately. This is partially due to having less time to dedicate towards brewing, and the fact that I have an additional 7.0 cf freezer dedicated towards cold storage. It’s been really nice to have additional kegs that are carbed and conditioned ready to go on tap when a keg kicks.
I’ve had a chance to use Equinox hops a couple times now, and I really like them. I’m actually more impressed with Equinox than I am with Mosaic, and that’s saying something. So it’s no surprise that I decided to take my de-facto house beer (American Amber Ale), and I find a way to integrate some Equinox hops into the recipe. This was a perfect excuse for a 10 gallon batch so that I could taste the beers side by side, and see what the Equinox added.
In terms of the recipe for this beer, it’s pretty much the same Amber Ale I brew all the time. The brew day went really smooth. I mashed for 60 minutes, boiled for 60 minutes, and whirlpooled the wort for 15 minutes before chilling this down nice and cool. I pitched half of a 4L starter into each fermenter, and hit them both with 90 seconds of oxygen before setting the fermenting fridge at 17.2C. This fermented out strong, and I added the dry hops directly to the primary once fermentation was dying down. The first five gallons was dry hopped with Citra and CTZ. The second five was dry hopped with 2oz of Equinox.
Dry Hopped: 11-26-14
1.75lbs English Medium Crystal
5oz Chocolate Malt
Mash at 154*
1.6oz Apollo @ 60
2oz Simcoe @ 15
2oz ea Centennial & Amarillo @ 0
Whirlpool for 15min
WLP090 – Super San Diego Yeast
Dry Hop Fermenter 1: 1oz Citra + 1oz CTZ
Dry Hop Fermenter 2: 2oz Equinox
I dropped the temp on both the fermenters after 8 days, and then kegged them a few hours later. I was greeted with a bit of a surprise when I took a gravity reading though, FG was 1.017. I was expecting 1.014. With that said, the hydrometer sample tasted pretty good, so I shrugged my shoulders, and carried on. By early December the beer was ready to drink, and here still in early April it’s held up very well.
The beer is a very nice deep crimson red, with a nice off-white head. The aroma is strongly reminiscent of the hops with some caramel malt that follows. The Citra/CTZ beer smelled more resiny, and the Equinox beer was much more Tropical. I didn’t expect quite the difference. Both beers had a strong citrus note. The flavors are pretty similar with the addition of a nice bready, toasted note in the finish. Carbonation is medium to medium high, and the finish is medium as well.
This beer provided a couple good reminders for me. First, sometimes in home brewing, despite careful planning and execution, beers don’t always turn out 100% as you expect. Even professional breweries have variations in their gravities, and as regimented as I would like to think I am, I’m not as disciplined as they are. Secondly, even if a beer didn’t turn out as planned, it can often be quite good, sometimes just as much so as the beer you planned for.
In other news, I’ll be documenting my new brewery build here in the next few months. I’m not planning to go nuts like some of the all-out electric builds you see, but I am planning on running some 240 to the back yard and building a brewing stand. Stay tuned for the details.
And finally, thanks to Northern Brewer for the shoutout on Twitter. Cheers guys!