Last Minute IPA – BIAB

Over the last few months I’ve been working on a house IPA recipe that I can call my own.  I’ve cloned several IPA recipes and they turn out great, sometimes even fantastic (Kern River Citra IPA, Stone RuinTen), but I wanted something that I truly made by myself.

I settled on a west coast style IPA in the vein of Green Flash West Coast IPA, but with a simpler grain bill and commonly used hops so that I can make it year round.  This was the second time I brewed my Last Minute IPA recipe and it turned out pretty solid.  I named the beer Last Minute IPA because I decided at 4pm on a Friday that I wanted to brew on Saturday and my only change to hit the LHBS was on my way home from work.  When I was choosing a name to enter in the BeerSmith Android phone app I thought back to the email I sent my wife notifying her of my intent to home brew last minute and just went with it.

I decided to use the brew in a bag method for testing my IPA recipe because it makes for a really fast brew day.  Brewing three gallons also allows me to use a small portion of my brewing equipment AND I can get away with pitching a single vial of yeast instead of needing to make a starter.

My process for doing a BIAB is as follows.

  • Fill the kettle with 5 – 5 1/2 gallons of water
  • add 2 tsp of Calcium Chloride and 2 tsp of Gypsum (this was the first time that I had ever adjusted my water chemistry and I’m not sure the change was really very noticeable)
  • bring the water in the kettle up to a temp about 6-8 degrees above my target strike temperature
  • add my nylon steeping bag full of grains to the water
  • check that the mash temperature is in my target range  

I say target range because my kettle loses allot of heat over the course of my 60 minute mash.

For this recipe I was aiming for 149 – 150 degrees Fahrenheit.  I prefer a nice dry IPA and the lower mash temperature should give a fairly dry finished beer.

Every 10 minutes or so I check on my kettle temperature and “goose it” a little bit (turn the flame back on and bump the kettle temp back up a few degrees).

Once the mash is done, I remove the grains and squeeze the bag a little bit.  Allot of people claim that this will add tannin’s back into the wert, but that is a debate online that goes back and forth and I haven’t experienced any off flavors from this practice.

At this point I start the boil as normal and finish up the beer.

Last Minute IPA – November 23rd edition (version 2.0)

Batch Size: 3.00 gal Style: American IPA ()
Boil Size: 4.40 gal Style Guide: BJCP 2008
Color: 5.7 SRM Equipment: Pot ( 5 Gal/19 L) – Mini-BIAB
Bitterness: 81.9 IBUs Boil Time: 60 min
Est OG: 1.062 (15.2° P) Mash Profile: BIAB, Light Body
Est FG: 1.010 SG (2.5° P) Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage
ABV: 6.9%  
Amount Name Type #
3 lbs 12.0 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1
4.0 oz Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM) Grain 2
3 lbs 12.0 oz Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) Grain 3
0.5 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [16.0%] – Boil 60 min Hops 4
0.5 oz Cascade [5.5%] – Boil 30 min Hops 5
0.5 oz Simcoe [13.0%] – Boil 15 min Hops 6
0.50 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 15 min) Misc 7
0.12 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 15 min) Misc 8
0.5 oz Centennial [10.0%] – Boil 10 min Hops 9
0.5 oz Centennial [10.0%] – Steep 0 min Hops 10
0.5 oz Simcoe [13.0%] – Steep 0 min Hops 11
0.5 oz Cascade [5.5%] – Steep 0 min Hops 12
1 pkgs California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) Yeast 13
1.0 oz Amarillo Gold [8.5%] – Dry Hop 4 days Hops 14
1.0 oz Cascade [5.5%] – Dry Hop 4 days Hops 15
1.0 oz Simcoe [13.0%] – Dry Hop 4 days Hops 16

The steeping hop addition at zero minutes is effectively a hop stand.  I add the hops at flame out, start my immersion chiller up, drop the temp to about 160, and let the hops sit for about 20 minutes.  Afterward I crank the chiller up and drop the wert down to about 65 and pitch.

My original gravity was spot on at 1.062.  Primary fermentation was “done” in about 3-4 days, which seems to be normal for WLP001.  I let the beer sit for about 7 days before testing the FG and moving to a keg.  The final gravity was two points higher (1.012) than the target I was shooting for at 1.010.  I’m happy with my fermentation for not having a starter or a temp controlled fermentation chamber.

My normal process for finishing an IPA is as follows.

  • move from primary to a keg
  • add my hops to the keg using my stainless steel dry hopper
  • purge keg with CO2
  • wait the usual 4 days for dry hopping to complete
  • remove the hops
  • purge keg with CO2
  • cold crash in kegerator for 48 hours
  • begin force carbonation (14-16 PSI while refrigerated)
  • after about one day, pull off a pint of beer from the tap to get all of the packed down hop particulate off the bottom of the keg
  • check the beer after about 4 days of force carbonating
  • check it again for more quality control
  • begin drinking beer a few days before it’s ready
  • kill keg after about 2 weeks

I didn’t really take any pictures of this brew day, or the finished beer but it did come out brilliantly clear with only irish moss used.  Normally this is not the case, but half way through the keg even the slight amount of chill haze I encountered was completely gone and the beer was a crisp clean IPA with a fairly pleasant nose.

Things that I will be changing on the next version of this beer?

I am going to decrease my initial bittering addition slightly, and move all of my other hop additions to 10 minutes or later to try some hop bursting.  I also plan on increasing the size of my late additions to an ounce each.  Finally, I am going to swap out Amarillo in the dry hop for Centennial. I only have a small amount of Amarillo left and a TON of Simcoe, Centennial, and Cascade.  I am debating adding either some Citra or Mosaic to bring a little mango/peach/blueberry into the mix, but I want to see how the change to late hop additions affects the beer first.

Thanks for reading!