Tuesday, October 4, 2016

August Hippo, Perfecting a recipe

As you all know, we make a lot of IPAs.  Some would say too many.  We don't mean to, it just kinda happens.  On this blog we have made, Pliny, Pliny the Petulant, an east coast, a whole bunch of west coast, 3 extract kits, a bunch of partial mash, and my tried and true ol' recipe August Hyppo.  All of these are IPAs.  That is a lot by anyone's standard.

This actually is
August Hyppo, the
color is that light!
Despite forays into the new IPA styles, we always come back to the tried and true recipes.  We always return to balanced earthy, floral, citrusy, piney, grapefruity, bitterness, but balanced.  The beer should taste like an IPA... not like a grapefruit, not a lemon, not a pine needle, not orange juice. This is restrained perfection of the american IPA style.  Soon we will be re-brewing August Hyppo and trying to make some subtle changes to perfect the recipe.  The bitterness and flavor are spot on, but the aroma leaves a lot to be desired.  So it is my intention to tell you today what we are trying to accomplish with this good ol' recipe and give you a peak at our thought process.  Here are my concerns: improving the aroma, improving the malt profile, and improving the water chemistry so that the bitterness and aroma will last longer.  And as always I will base my hop additions off of AAUs and not off of ounces... "wait, what?  what the hell are AAUs... there you go again making up new terms... "

OK, before you get frustrated let me take a minute to explain the concept of Alpha Acid Units, or AAUs.   The simple truth is that the alpha acids in hops vary from year to year.  A great example is Saaz, the traditional hop of bohemian beers.  Most years Saaz is arond 3.5 to 4.75 % alpha acid content.   In 2015 it was 9 to 9.5% alpha acid.   In 2015, if you were to add the same amount of saaz, by weight, that you always use... you could create a beer that was potentially 3x more bitter than it normally is.   So when you plan a recipe (and especially when you brew a recipe from a trusted on line source)  you should always know what the AAUs are and base your brewing upon that factor. The good news is that AAUs are easy to calculate.  To calculate the Alpha Acid Units you just multiply the ounces you are using by the Alpha Acid Content. Here is an example.

2015 Warrior Hops  16.5%  Alpha Acid Content  so; 16.5% x .8 = 13.2
2016 Warrior Hops  15.0 % Alpha Acid Content  so; 15.0% x .88 = 13.2

So to keep the recipe the same as it is in the past I have to adjust my warrior hop addition to .88 Ounces.   You should do this on every hop addition, for every recipe, every time.

The old recipe for August Hyppo
5.5 Gallons - All Grain
1.047 OG
1.007 FG
6.3% ABV
56 IBUs

Water treatment.   Camden and Five Star 5.2 pH stabilizer.

7.5 # 2 Row
1.0 # Corn Sugar
0.75 # Biscuit Malt
0.50 # Carapilsner

Mash at 150 F for 60 minutes.

.80 oz of Warrior at 60 minutes 16 AA% - 14.1 AAU
.60 oz of Centennial at 10 minutes 10AA% - 6 AAU
.60 oz of Columbus at 5 minutes 15 AA% - 9 AAU
.60 oz of Cascade at 0 minutes 7 AA% - 4.2 AAU
.40 oz of Simcoe at 0 Minutes 12.7 AA% - 5.1 AAU

US 05 1 package - re-hydrated.

New Bottle Label for the new Session Version
T-Shirts Coming Soon. 
Sometimes this is the best beer ever made.  A clear golden elixir capable of curing anything that ails you.   Sometimes this beer is just pretty good- needs more aroma.  Also needs to be more consistent.  The problem is that last year I made it and it was magical...everyone who tried it claimed it was among the best beers they had ever had...but I didn't take notes.  That's right...me, the king of take notes. The regent of record your brew sessions... I screwed up that day and I didn't take notes.  So now we are chasing a purple dragon... I've gotten close... I have even researched what the alpha acids were when I brewed it last year.  And that helped me get much closer, but my memory says that on this "free brewing day" one year ago, I threw in more hops that I had in the freezer... But that is just my memory, and my memory isn't what it used to be... at least I think it isn't...I can't really remember.

The new recipe for August Hyppo - making it into a session beer.
5.5 Gallons - All Grain
1.041 OG
1.007 FG
4 SRM - yes, that light in color... it is really cool to have a hoppy beer this light in color.
4.46% ABV
63 IBUs  (You'll see that after explaining AAUs,  I decided to make it a little more bitter)

Water Treatment;  Camden, 4 G of calcium chloride,  4 ML of Lactic Acid,  (we're shooting for 5.6 pH and a 2/1 SO4/Ca ratio for a hoppy beer.  We may also add gypsum to the boil in the last 10 minutes, we'll try it both ways.

7.5  # Vienna Malt
0.50 # Carapilsner

1.0 oz of Warrior at 60 minutes 16 AA% - 14.1 AAU
.60 oz of Centennial at 10 minutes 10AA% - 6 AAU
.60 oz of Columbus at 5 minutes 15 AA% - 9 AAU
.60 oz of Cascade at 0 minutes 7 AA% - 4.2 AAU
.40 oz of Simcoe at 0 Minutes 12.7 AA% - 5.1 AAU

.40 oz of Cascade dry hop 4 days 7 AA% - 2.8 AAU
.40 oz of Centennial dry hop 4 days 10 AA% - 4 AAU
.40 oz of Simcoe dry hop 4 days. 12.7 AA% - 5.1 AAU

US 05 1 package - re-hydrated

So there it is.  August Hyppo re-imagined as a session beer.  Extremely hoppy,  extremely drinkable.  And when it is right, it is a magical combination of hops.  Now, I know it isn't a unique or new combination of hops, but it is fantastic and the Vienna malt balances the hops somehow.  So even if this thing is way, way out of balance, it tastes somehow... balanced.  And since it is only a 1.041 beer it is ready to drink fast.  This beer is ready for dry hops in a week and ready for packaging on day 11.  You can easily be drinking this from the bottle 21 days after brewing, and faster if you keg.  

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