It’s finally time for batch two! English IPA

Bottled Al’s Celebration Ale last night, today I’m brewing the English IPA I discussed in my previous post.  To recap, here’s the ingredient list:

  • Columbus Bittering Hops, 13.9% Alpha, 5% Beta, 1oz
  • US Northern Brewer Flavor and Aroma Hops, 8.6% Alpha, 3.8% Beta, 1oz each
  • Nottingham Ale Yeast, 11g (0.388oz) Saccharomyces cerevisiae top fermenting yeast
  • Briess Dried Malt Extract, Golden Light, 1lb
  • American Crystal Malt, 40L, 1lb
  • Briess CBW Non-Diastatic, Unhopped, Pilsen Light, 3Kg (2  3.3lb jars)

Brewing right now.  Just about to start the timer for the boil.

OK.  Done. 

Total time to brew: 5 hours.

Recipe projected OG: 1.067

Actual OG 1.052

Not sure why the OG didn’t come out as high as expected.  Not particularly worried about it though.  The ABV will probably come out lower than the target, but it should still be a very tasty brew if everything else went right.

Major concerns:  One.  The temperature of the mash got up to about 164 at one point, but I got it off the heat and brought it back down pretty quickly.  Hopefully the enzymes in the grain held fast.  The offending temperature surge was only for perhaps a minute or two, and mostly at the bottom of the pot, so I’m hopeful this won’t be an issue.

Here is the exact procedure that I wound up using, by the checklist, with changes from the recipe noted.  It should also probably be noted that the homebrew store doctored the recipe and ingredients for this kit because they were low on certain supplies, so the expected OG and other parameters might not be spot on anyway.


  1. fill pot number one with two gallons bottled spring water (actual volume used about 1.75 gallons)
  2. heat to 155 (got a little too hot, used the last 1/4 gallon to bring to 158 when I added the grains).
  3. add crushed malt
  4. hold at 150-155 for 30 minutes (recipe said 150 degrees. Actual time was probably 32-33 minutes.  Had to add a little heat here and there to maintain temperature, which led to the slightly higher than desired rise in temp.  Note to self: get insulation for this pot)
  5. strain into stainless steel 5 gallon pot
  6. add 1/2 gallon spring water (in hindsight, I should have left this step out, because the larger volume took so long to finally start boiling on a chicken-top electric stove)
  7. bring to boil (again, took forever for this to happen)
  8. add bittering hops
  9. boil 45 minutes (I stirred about every three minutes to prevent scorching/sticking)
  10. add flavor hops
  11. add dried malt extract, liquid malt extract
  12. stir
  13. At this point, it was supposed to be “boil 12 minutes” but the addition of the hops plus dry and liquid malt extracts brought the temperature down to well below boiling.  Therefore I allowed this step to progress to 25 minutes, when the boil started back up.  I don’t know the “ramifications thereof” of doing this, but it’s done.
  14. Once the boil started, I added the last flavor hops packet and boiled 3 more minutes.
  15. at flameout I started cooling the wort in ice.  15 trays of ice (saved over several days) didn’t do the trick, so I had my buddy go buy another 20 pound bag of ice, which definitely did the trick quite well.  It only took about an hour or so to cool the wort to a reasonable temperature.
  16. Sanitized fermentation bucket whilst waiting for wort to cool.
  17. Sanitized other need utensils (spoon, thermometer, SG meter, wine thief, strainer)
  18. added 2 gallons chilled spring water to sanitized fermentation bucket
  19. Strained cooled wort into fermentation bucket
  20. [top to 5.5 gallons] step wasn’t needed as I was already at just slightly more than that.  This could help to explain the lower than expected OG, but can’t fully explain it.
  21. Used sanitized thermometer to check temperature (72F)
  22. Used sanitized wine thief to sample for OG reading and took about 12 oz of wort to use in future yeast starters, put wort into sanitized bottle and capped, put in fridge.
  23. Pitched yeast into bucket (was dry yeast, I pitched directly)
  24. Waited five minutes
  25. Aerated wort via vigorous stirring using sanitized stainless steel spoon
  26. Installed sanitized lid and airlock
  27. Put in closet, ambient temperature 68-70F.
  28. After one week, dry hopped with 2 oz cascade pellets

Last step… PRAYED.  LOL.

Enjoyed a few nice brewskies along the way, a Schlafly winter ESB, a Schlafly Coffee Stout, and a Sam Adams Boston Lager.  As a reward for finishing the batch, I am now having a bomber of Stone IPA.  Can’t hardly beat that!!

Expected bottling date is 16 days from now, Sunday the 12th of Feb.

All comments, advice, criticisms or egg-throwing welcome.

ETA: FG 1.012

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  • alcaponejunior  On January 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    p.s. the last batch was bottled using mostly bombers. I will probably add a few more 12oz bottles for the second batch. I want more people to be able to sample it without needing to hand out 22 oz at a time.

  • pmcgrew  On January 28, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    Where’d you get the recipe? I plugged it into BeerSmith and it shows an estimated OG of 1.057, so you weren’t too far off.

    Did you put your crystal malt in a grain bag? I would highly recommend doing so if you didn’t. I just bought a 10 pack of muslin bags from Northern Brewer for like 5 bucks. They can also be used for hops, well worth the price.

    Stirring isn’t a bad thing, but if you haven’t put any of the LME/DME into the boil you really don’t need to worry about scorching.

    Do you have a blowoff tube? I’d hate to see that lid come off in your closet. Even a somewhat lower ABV beer like this could.

    Sounds like you did just fine. Remember the #1 rule to brewing, RDWHAHB (relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew).

    • alcaponejunior  On January 29, 2012 at 6:24 am

      Well I got the recipe from the St Louis wine and beer making store.

      Actually I hadn’t thought about it when I wrote the post, but they altered the recipe from what was on the paperwork because they were out of a few things, so it’s likely the paperwork was off from the ingredients they actually gave me. It’s quite likely that my “target” OG was not what was listed on the paperwork. I guess I need to get that software!!

      I did not put the grain in a bag. I do have a bag for the next kit, I will try it there (although it’s about two pounds of grain instead of one, and different types). I just strained it before the boil (poured from the steeping pot into the boil pot through a strainer). I will get some more bags soon.

      The wort was in the boil kettle a long time. I did stir a lot, even before I put the DME/LME into the pot. After I was done, there was a tiny bit of burnt material on the pan, about the size of a quarter and not very thick. I really don’t think that will be noticeable. Of course I don’t want to overdo it if I don’t need to either.

      I do not have a blowoff tube in the 6.5 gallon fermenter bucket, just the airlock. The first batch did overflow through the airlock just a little and I had to clean and replace the airlock and clean up a small mess (maybe three ounces of brown foamy goo). I for sure won’t use the smaller carboy without a blowoff tube. Do you think I need to add a blowoff tube to the 6.5 gallon bucket? That can be done pretty easily.

      Any advice about the extra boil time after adding the extract? When I added all that LME/DME it killed the boil and took about 13 minutes to start up again. That’s why I extended that step. I don’t know whether I actually needed to do this or not. Any advice appreciated.

      And as always I much appreciate the great advice and responses! Thanks!


  • alcaponejunior  On February 6, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Well……………………………………. I diverged from the recipe some. Dry-hopped this baby. Might have overdone it, two ounces of cascade, we’ll find out soon enough! Rather than do a secondary, I just carefully funneled the hops through the ventilation hole, dry-hopping in primary. Plan to bottle this weekend.

  • alcaponejunior  On February 11, 2012 at 9:04 am

    This one is getting bottled today!!

  • alcaponejunior  On February 21, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    WOW!! Just popped a 12oz of this one, ten days after bottling. It’s freaking GOOD! Very hoppy, not too bitter, has a nice light sweetness and a touch of fruitiness despite being pretty dry overall, and has tons of hops, both in the nose and on your taste buds!!

    This recipe turned out great and I would certainly recommend that any homebrewer who wanted an easy recipe for a hoppy beer should try it!

    I am so friggin’ pleased right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • alcaponejunior  On February 25, 2012 at 10:42 am

    This one continues to be absolutely fantastic. The bombers were ready just as fast as the 12oz bottles.

    I am not sure but I think the slightly higher amount of corn sugar (3/4 cup instead of 2/3 cup) made this one carbonate faster and better. I’m going to use 3/4 as the “standard” for now, although I realize the sample size is quite small, lol.

    • alcaponejunior  On August 20, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      Note that due to liking the slightly higher carbonation, I have been using a bit more sugar lately and having good results. Now I measure with a gram scale though, using 5 oz / 5.5 gallons (140 grams). I’ve been scaling them all this way, including smaller batches, and I’ve been liking it. However, the carbonation is pretty full, and can get overly carbonated if left at room temperature too long. A bit less carbonation could certainly still produce a good homebrew. I personally want plenty of carbonation, so I’m sticking with my method for this style brew, at least for now.

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