Spring has sprung in Michigan and I’m back to brewing. I received a request from a reader to brew a hoppy beer without flaked grains for a lighter, more quaffable spring treat. I’ve had a taste for one of my mainstays, Main Squeeze IPA, and decided to experiment with the grain bill and remove any flaked grains from the bill.
The original bill called for 2 row, flaked wheat, white wheat, dextrose, and carafoam with wy1056 yeast. It originally has the appearance and body of a NEIPA. My modified grain bill is seen here. Less is often more when showcasing hops. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than a big brown bitter malt bomb. It might be your thing, but it’s just not for me. I digress, but being a good brewer often involves brewing things that may not suit your palate. You must educate yourself on styles and processes that aren’t in your wheelhouse.
2.5 gallon batch
100% Falconer’s Flight
After a thorough cleaning of my equipment which sat around all winter I was ready to brew. The weather, unfortunately, had other plans. I decided to scale down to 2.5 gallons and go old school on the stove top. You do not need top quality equipment to make good beer. I cannot stress that enough. If your procedures and practices are consistent and thorough you can get by without any big investments into equipment. I’ve made some of my best beer using my grandma’s old soup kettle and a brew demon cheapo small batch conical or a Mr. Beer fermenter.
I began by treating my tap strike water with Calcium Chloride and Gypsum. I made ph adjustments using food grade lactic acid to the neighborhood of 5.6. After my strike water reached necessary temperature to achieve a 150 degree Fahrenheit mash, I doughed in. Stirring every 20 minutes, I mashed for 60 minutes, vorlauf until the runnings were clear, and then batch sparged at 168 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. I collected approximately 3.5 gallons of 1.050 wort and prepared my boil.
Falconer’s Flight hops were added at 60 minutes for a light bittering charge, 5 minutes, and flame out while chilling my wort to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. I then transferred the wort to my fermenter, aerated using my drill stir attachment for 60 seconds, and added my first round of dry hops. In total, approximately 8 oz. of hops were added to the kettle. I attached my fermenter heater, and programmed it to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. My OG came in at 1.058, 6 points below my intended goal.
I’ve heard great things of WY1968 and its ability to produce fruity esters. This made it an obvious choice to experiment with. I wanted to ferment on the hot side to encourage these esters to the forefront.
On day 3, fermentation began to slow. I added 3oz of Falconer’s Flight to my fermenter before work and increased the temperature to 72 degrees to encourage a strong finish. When I walked into my house that evening, I noticed a huge fruit aroma filling my house. I went to check on the fermenter and noticed that the temperature probe had become dislodged and my heater was running amok. The wort had reached 77 degrees! I’ve never fermented this warm before, but at this point, I was committed. I killed the heat and let the beer sit at ambient temperature for 5 days before kegging. My final gravity came in at a SHOCKING 1.005 thanks to that temperature spike. I’ve never heard of WY1968 getting that dry. This beer weighs in at 6.9% ABV.
The beer was transferred to a keg equipped with the clear beer draught system and was purged of oxygen. I then put it on gas, purged, and burst carbonated at 30psi for 48 hours before reducing the gas to serving pressures. After 4 days of cold conditioning, I took my first pull.
There’s a little bit of haze on this reminiscent of a 3 Floyds Zombie Dust. I have a feeling it’ll flock out a little bit more over the next week or so. The nose is of floral grapefruit and strawberry. The beer is quite pungent, but not over the top like a NEIPA. I wouldn’t consider this a NEIPA due to the light, refreshing body and transparency. This was clear getting into the brew day given the grain bill. It’s just a nice, normal IPA with low perceived bitterness and big aroma.
Due to the overall dryness, the hops take center stage. The dryness isn’t out of place, however. It’s drinkable as hell! There is no offensive bitterness here, but you know it’s a hop bomb. The beer hits your palate with grapefruit, pith, strawberry, and flowers with no detectable yeast esters. This is some happy tasting shit! Is happy a taste? It is now. At 6.9% it’ll get you feeling happy in no time.