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Brew It Yourself: American IPA

Now that Jeff has given us the ins and out of getting started with homebrewing, we wanted to further delve into successes, failures, and what we’ve learned along the way. For Christmas this year I also received my first ever homebrew kit (Gold Complete) and decided to bring in 2012 with my first batch. I wanted to start with something simple, an American IPA, using a kit from Northern Brewer with a few edits to the hop additions to include Citra, which I really wanted to use.

The Goods

The recipe called for:
— 1 oz Chinook (60 min)
— 0.5 oz Chinook (10 min)
— 0.5 oz Chinook (1 min)
— 1 oz Chinook (dry hop)

Which I edited to:
— 1 oz Chinook (60 min)
— 0.5 oz Chinook (30 min)
— 0.5 oz Chinook (20 min)
— 1 oz Citra (10 min)
— 0.5 oz Citra (5 min)
— 0.5 oz Citra (1 min)
— 1 oz Citra (dry hop)
— 1 oz Chinook (dry hop)

I really like chinook hops, as I’ve had a few IPA recently that feature it (Full Pint Chinookie IPA, for example), but also wanted to use the citra hops because of the number of “West Coast” IPAs that I’ve noticed use it I thought the coolest part of all of this was smelling the hops before I added them to the batch. I seriously think that for the entire 60 minute boil I was smelling hops. They’re just a wonderful plant.

Boiling Away

Ten days after transferring the young beer from the pot to the bucket I transferred it to secondary fermentation, where I threw in a few more hops for good measure.

At some point I made a mistake, but I’m unsure of where or how. After the boil, it seems that I had to add too much water in the primary fermentation bucket to get the batch to five gallons, which resulted in a much lower ABV than I had hoped for (4-5% instead of 6%). For future batches I plan to pay much closer attention the the gravity readings from my hydrometer to nail the target ABV. Also, I really want to learn how hop additions impact the beer. I was really just guessing on this batch, but hopefully with more practice I’ll be able to understand what each ingredient does. I also used the entire sugar packet to carbonate the beer, and because my yield was less than five gallons, the beer ended up a bit over-carbonated in some bottles. Next time I will only use a proportional amount of sugar to the gallons of beer I’ll be bottling.

Overall it was a fun, easy, and rewarding process. The kit’s instructions were easy to follow, and I think I got a great result. Hopefully my future batches will be as successful!

The Final Product

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Written by Russ Beck

Russ can trace his beginnings in craft beer to sitting in Zeno’s Pub in State College drinking various craft beer options from across Pennsylvania. Since then, he has never faltered in finding new brews, whether they’re rare, delicious, or hopefully both. Russ will be writing on a large variety of subjects, including but not limited to: reviews, homebrewing, and how to take labels off of beer bottles. He’ll drink just about anything, but prefers a nice Stout, IPA, or Weizenbock. Find Russ Beck on Google Plus

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