Searching for the line between "hobby" and "obsession"

Double Dog Dare IPA

This is the first brew day I attempted solo. Like I’ve said, I love IPA’s  so why not try and make a double IPA. I was still doing extract boiling at this point so this recipe consisted of pretty much double the extract syrup of the Snaggletooth IPA recipe along with a shit ton of hops added at various points of the boil. Part of the extract partial boil recipe has you make “hop tea” where you… make a tea with hop pellets. Kinda fun. I love the smell of hops. I started understanding the hydrometer a bit more at this point so I actually took and kept some readings recorded:

D3 Bottling Day

OG: 1.086 (recipe had me shooting for 1.083)

FG: 1.021 (the end result seemed a bit sweet and I think this was why)

I recall transferring this to secondary and dry-hopping on June 26th or 27th I believe. The hop pellets moved around quite a bit, which seemed good. I seem to recall having a busy summer and not getting around to bottling this batch until early August, which was maybe a mistake? August 27th was the big day, the first bottles to be cracked at my buddy Jim’s new house for a BBQ. NO CARBONATION! It tasted pretty good but no bubbles at ALL. So pissed. I worked pretty hard on this batch so I was mad.

I did some reading and was thinking about opening each of the bottles in this batch and either putting in more sugar into each bottle or maybe more yeast. I asked a guy at Midwest Supplies about this and he recommended simply time and heat. I had been leaving the bottles in my beer room in the basement and that was maybe part of the problem. It’s only about 60 degrees down there and that was a little cold for the yeast left in the bottle to become active enough to eat the sugar solution I’d added on bottle day.

This batch finally became ok to drink near the end of November / early December because I had left in in my bedroom for September/October/November to bring up the temperature a little bit (though not too much, as my wife is a heat nazi). Still, it’s New Years Day 2011 as I write this and I just had one of these beers today that is carbonated wonderfully though I also had one a week ago that had no carbonation and I think this is because it was probably served around 30 degress whereas today’s pint was at about 55 at serving time. I’ve read that the colder you serve beer the less carbonation it will retain.

Overall, this batch is coming around 7 months post-brew day (though I can still taste a little bit where I let the extract scorch on the bottom of the kettle — whoops!). Maybe it’s all mental. This was probably the most difficult recipe I’ve attempted thus far, and unfortunately it shows. I’m now gun-shy of any recipe’s with OGs of more than 1.065 because of this batch. I shouldn’t be. I want to make a belgian beer one of these days, bottle it in some 750’s and cork ’em. I think that’d be cool but I’ll have to get past my fear of making high gravity beers first. Since my FG was 1.021 I’m thinking my main MAIN problem was I didn’t make a yeast starter and the beer simply just didn’t finish fermenting. Live and learn.

As I drink this brew today, it is pretty strong. If you run the numbers through the formulas to find Alcohol by Volume, here’s what you get:

Alcohol by Weight = 76.08(OG – FG) / (1.775 – OG)
Alcohol by Volume = ABW (FG/.794)

Running these formulas with the D3 numbers, I get an ABV of 9.23%


2 responses

  1. Was cool reading about all your beers from 2010, good work. Ive recently made a couple high gravity beers, a double IPA at 8.5% and an Imperial stout that should finish around 9%. Definitely big yeast is the key, either a starter or even better reusing a yeast from a previous batch. That’s what I did with both beers and they were pretty much at their final grevities in 3 days! I couldn’t believe it. Anyways, happy brewing in 2011,

    February 20, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    • Thanks BB! Yeah, doing a 1.08 double/imperial as my third batch ever probably wasn’t such a good idea… Now I’m doing yeast starters for absolutely everything, though I haven’t done a beer above 1.06 since the double IPA debacle last summer… until tomorrow. Got the Monday off and Minneapolis is literally in the midst of a blizzard right now so I’m doing a 1.079-1.083 belgian golden ale with honey tomorrow. Bought all my supplies and crushed my grains at the shop yesterday, got the yeast starter going late last night. Gonna get snowed-in tomorrow and brew!

      February 20, 2011 at 6:43 pm

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