Sunday, March 6, 2011

OCD IPA Brew Day!

I decided to call the Stone Ruination clone my "OCD IPA" for now, in honor of our obsessive-compulsive dog, Oreo Blizzard.  I'm not sure if it'll stick, and the recipe will probably change over time, but I came up with a great name based on our other puppy (Imperial Huntie Stout) and I wanted to be fair.  :)

Here are some pics of the brew process!

Steeping the grains (making the tea):

After 30 minutes, it's time to take them out and get things boiling.

Once we're up to a boil, it's time to add the liquid malt, dry malt, and bittering hops.  I'm trying something different with this batch by only adding half of the liquid malts at the start of the boil, and saving the other half for the last 5 minutes of the boil.  A lot of brewers on swear by this method, saying it yields better hop utilization, a lighter color, and a cleaner flavor.  Hopefully it will work!

I love this pic Jennifer took of the liquid malt!

Here's the dry malt:

Mixing it all together so the malt doesn't burn on the bottom of the pot.

Getting some help from my beautiful wife :D

Adding the bittering hops...

I LOVE the way hops smell!!!

At this point, everything has to boil for 45 minutes before I need to do anything, which is a perfect opportunity to have a homebrew. :)

After 45 minutes, I added one teaspoon of Irish Moss to help the clarity, then added the other can of liquid malt after another 10 minutes.  After boiling for 60 minutes, it's time to add another round of hops and get the wort cooled to room temperature as quickly as possible.

Then into the fermenter it goes!

Along with enough cool water to bring it up to 5.5 gallons.  Note that I'm definitely taking a risk by using tap water here, but it's worked in the past, and it's the cheapest and easiest way for me to bring the volume up to what I need it to be.  The faucet also aerates the wort, which really helps the yeast do the fermenting.

Vigorous stirring for more aeration...

Checking the original gravity.  The different between the gravity before fermentation and the gravity after fermentation tells us the alcohol percentage of the beer.  The higher the starting gravity, the more sugar is in the wort that the yeast can convert into alcohol.  Our target OG is 1.075 (or 75), and it looks like we ended up around 73 or 74, so we're really close!

The pictures didn't turn out too well, but here's the dry yeast that was sprinkled on top of the wort.  I also added a vial of liquid yeast.  With all the sugar in this wort, Paul over at My Old Kentucky Homebrew thought adding a packet of dry yeast was a good idea to make sure we get a complete fermentation.

Instead of putting in my traditional airlock, I decided to set up a blow-off system for this beer.  Bigger beers usually have stronger, more active fermentations, which can clog the traditional airlock (and can explode if you don't catch it in time).  Just as a precaution, a blow-off is a similar concept on a bigger scale so it won't clog as easily.  For this one, I ran my bottling tube straight through the grommet on the lid (where the airlock is supposed to go), and ran that into a growler half-full of sanitizing solution.

Here's where everything will become beer over the next month -- tucked nicely in the back of the coat closet.

I really hope this batch marks the beginning of my independence from beer kits.  I've been doing lots of reading and I really have a better understanding of the technical details of the process, so now I feel better prepared to take on brewing from recipes.  Before long, I might even be able to take requests. :)

Now, if only I had a cool name for a brewery...


  1. Damn I took some amazing pictures. I make your beer look good!

  2. Hopefully I can make it taste as good as you make it look :)


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