Monday, April 23, 2007

Imperial IPA

First, it's definition time. What is an Imperial IPA? Also known as a Double IPA or 90minute IPA, it is simply an IPA with 2 as much hops and 50% more malt that a standard IPA. It has a much higher ABV and a different finish than an IPA. Often these can be described as finishing sweet, in large part due to the effects of the long boil. I wanted to go with this brew as it is a nice summer beer, a real great thing to drink around the grill, with the flavors opening up as the beer warms, something that will defiantly happen when grilling in the Phoenix summer.

Changes I made for this brew: I made a starter. Big beers like this demand a starter, to ensure that the high sugar content doesn't shock the yeast. Plus you need the yeast to fully attenuate to get the nice high ABV that this comes with. I used a Wyeast smack pack that it technically a small starter in its own right and added it to a quart of water and cup of LME the night before. As you can see from the picture on the right, it was quite active before I pitched it and I was nearly guaranteed a quick start. The other change I made was to move my brewing outside to the burner on the side of my grill. I saw this done on a few YouTube videos and is a cheap alternative to buying a dedicated burner for this. This keeps me from adding the odors of brewing to the house (not a problem for me, but not a very popular move with the wife). This also keeps me from heating up the house, which is very important for summer brewing. The unwanted impact from this was somewhat self correcting. The gas burner is a lot more touchy than my electric on and I ruined my no boil over record, but at least I didn't gunk up the kitchen, only my patio and grill.

I brewed it up and remembered to use cold water to mix with my wort concentrate, helping to cool the mix much quicker. I still think that for my next brew, I'll need to invest in a wort chiller. I was able to pitch 2 hours after brewing and by the time I went to bed, there was a very active fermentation going on. The fan in my fermentation chiller died, so I picked up a new on from WalMart this morning and should have it cooled down by tomorrow. 72 degrees when I left the house this morning.

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