Last time I went in to my local homebrew shop, they were thankfully carrying copies of the special edition of Brew Your Own magazine that contains nothing but clone recipes they have published over the years. I had seen advertisements in my subscription, but hadn’t bothered sending away for my copy. Lucky for me, my homebrew shop had copies set out for the impulse buy. When I went in last time, I picked up a copy. I’m so glad that I did, because on pages 28 and 29 are a hop lover’s recipe paradise. There you will find BYO’s clone recipes for Alesmith’s IPA, Three Floyd’s Dreadnaught, Bear Republic’s Hop Rod Rye and Racer 5, Russian River’s Pliny The Elder, Rogue’s Imperial IPA, and Lagunitas’ IPA. I was realized that I had quite a few batches of IPA ahead of me, and figured why not start big?
I’ve been wanting to try Pliny The Elder for a long time, given its 100 percentile rating on RateBeer and 93 percentile rating on BeerAdvocate. I went to the homebrew shop, and decided to change things around on the recipe just a hair to get rid of some leftover hops and save some cash. I also didn’t use the recommended American Ale yeast, and went with the American Ale II yeast. This was mostly because they called for White Labs California Ale, and I’ve never had to make a decision about a substitution there. I knew that the most common substitution there is American Ale yeast, but I didn’t know that WYeast also offers an “American Ale II” strain. I went with the II on the homebrew shop’s recommendation, but I think that might not have been the closest substitution. Regardless, I’m sure it will be close. I started early on Sunday morning last week. Here’s the brew day notes:
8:00 AM: Started bringing the 16.68 quarts of strike water up to 164°F to hit a rest temperature of 152°F. Added 3.2 grams of the gypsum to the strike water (remaining 1.8 grams will be added to the water used for lautering).
8:40 AM: Dumped strike water into the cooler, and stirred in the grain. Threw the top on the cooler, let it rest 10 minutes, and checked the temp. Spot on!
8:50 AM: Started bringing second addition of water up to temperature.
9:40 AM: Dumped second addition of water in to step temp up to 168°F. This is one area that I have to go out to the net to get some feedback on. Using brewing software to formulate temperatures yields what I feel is way too high a temp and way too much water in the mash/lauter tun (mash schedule portion of BeerSmith told me to bring this second amount up to 207°F).
9:50 AM: Vorlofed and lautered out a little over 6.5 gallons of wort for a five gallon batch. Figured I’d boil off a little over 1 gallon in a 90 minute boil, and the tons of hops would soak up some of the wort. Took a sample, and OG was 1.071 (pretty damned close to 1.074 OG stated by the recipe). I think that this will concentrate down after being boiled for 90 minutes. Need to go check the net for an equation to calculate OG based on evaporation, but will probably be too lazy to do that after brewing.
10:30 AM: Began bringing wort up to boil.
11:10 AM: Wort is boiling. Dumped first load of hops and started the clock. Now onto cleaning and sanitizing the primary fermenter, stopper, and airlock (food-grade plastic bucket). Set aside the mash tun to cool off.
11:45 AM: Boil progressing nicely. The evaporation rate appears to be progressing as expected, and I think that I’ll actually end up with 5 gallons of wort after draining from the boiler. Keeping my fingers crossed.
12:42: Began crashing wort.
10:00 PM: Seeing signs of life on the airlock. Bubbling away!
Day 5: 5:30 PM: Time to dry hop. Measured out all dry hops, and there’s a boatload! It smells amazing. 1.75 oz of Centennial, 1.75 oz of Simcoe, and 3 oz of Columbus (Tomahawk). Daaaaaayum! In all seriousness, this is quite the incredible haul of hops going into 5 gallons of beer. 16.75 ounces! Holy hop slam Batman!