AG#1 – Trixibelle Belgian IPA

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I had my WLP550 slurry sitting in the fridge for the last week or so, so I had to get cracking on my AG setup. A full account of the momentous occasion can be found here as there’s just too much detail to put into this little recipe post.

This is one of those recipes when I definitely have a commercial beer in mind and I’ve sought out clone recipes and attempted to use the same (or similar, at least) ingredients or techniques as the commercial version. In this instance, the commercial beer is Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch, a Belgian-inspired IPA. Essentially, it’s an American IPA, but fermented with a Belgian yeast. I’ve used the same hops reported to be in Raging Bitch, Amarillo and Columbus, two varieties I’ve used together before with great success.

Recipe

Boil Size: 26.88 l
Post Boil Volume: 22.88 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.50 l
Estimated OG: 1.067 SG
Estimated Color: 8.8 SRM
Estimated IBU: 59.9 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 81.1 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

5.00 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM), 85.5 %
0.40 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM), 6.8 %
0.15 kg Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM), 2.6 %
0.15 kg Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM), 2.6 %
0.15 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM), 2.6 %
20 g Columbus [13.90 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 40.5 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
15 g Amarillo [7.80 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 3.1 IBUs
15 g Columbus [13.90 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 6.1 IBUs
20 g Amarillo [7.80 %] – Boil 5.0 min, 3.4 IBUs
20 g Columbus [13.90 %] – Boil 5.0 min, 6.7 IBUs
20 g Amarillo [7.80 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
20 g Columbus [13.90 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Belgian Ale (White Labs #WLP550) (400ml of yeast slurry from Vingt-Sept)
30 g Centennial [7.80 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days, 0.0 IBUs

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge

Total Grain Weight: 5.85 kg

Mash 15.5 l of water at 75.7 C

Mash Temperature 68.1 C for 1 hour

Batch sparge 18.5 litres at 75.6 C

Notes

27/10/2013 – Brew Day – Notes can be found here.

28/10/2013 – One thing I’ve noticed is that there’s a huge level of kreusen. It’s even hit the lid, something that hasn’t happened to any of my brews for quite a while. Could this be because I aerated my wort differently this time, i.e. by just opening the tap on the boiler and running the wort through a sieve? I am slightly concerned that it might be too cold in my new fermentating room. There is certainly a noticeable sulphurous aroma coming from the fermenter. That aroma was there on previous pitches of this same yeast, but perhaps not as strong as it is now. I’ll be taking a temperature measurement tonight or tomorrow to check. Great hoppy aroma from the fermenter too though.

29/10/2013 – Had to do a clean up job as the fermentation pushed through the lid! Normally I’d be worried that it was fermenting too warm, but the room it’s fermenting in is bloody freezing. I have to take a temperature reading, but the level of foam is too high to reach the beer.

09/11/2013 – Took a gravity reading this evening as it has been quite cold, and this was still showing signs of fermenting (or perhaps just off-gassing with the colder weather). It measured 1.010 and the sample tasted pretty good, will improve with a few weeks in the bottle. Lots of Belgian yeast character but plenty of the American hops showing through.

12/11/2013 – Even though my original recipe specified a dry-hop of Amarillo, I subsequently decided against it. However, the aroma from the fermenter seems to have faded and my last taste of the beer shows the Belgian yeast flavour is pretty strong so I want to make sure the American hop flavour is prominent. So on the spur of the moment, I decided to dry-hop this thing. I don’t have any Amarillo leaf hops, and I don’t like dry-hopping with pellets, so I compared the aroma of some Centennial and Simcoe that I have and plumped for the Centennial as the aroma was fruiter and less piney. I also moved the fermenter to a warmer room as this will help the oils dissolve better. Will probably bottle this at the weekend.

16/11/2013 – Bottled with 124g of dextrose (17 litres at 2.6 vol). Bottled into a mixture of bottles – 14 x 750ml, 7 x 500ml, 13 x 330ml.

30/11/2013 – Opened a bottle not really realising it has only been bottled 2 weeks. The flavour is a bit ‘meh’, not really the American hop onslaught I expected, though this might become more evident after another couple of weeks aging. the yeast flavour is definitely in the right ballpark – those distinctive Belgian esters peeping through the flavour, though not very assertive. Head retention is quite poor and the beer is very hazy. A bit immature with possibly a touch of acetyl-aldehyde. I’m glad now that I dry-hopped this thing, because if I hadn’t, I’d be blaming the lack of hop aroma on the absence of dry hops. But I’m hopeful they’ll become more evident when the beer matures more.

14/12/2013 – This has started tasting rather good! It’s much drier than I was expecting; drier than intended but very appropriate for an IPA. Not a lot of residual sweetness but lots of mouthfeel. It’s got a massive whack of citrus peel – both in taste and on the nose.The Belgian yeast flavours are much in evidence. I don’t taste much of the dank, piney Columbus, but plenty of Amarillo. The head formation is good, and lasts well enough down the glass, though I’ve done better on this before. Nice citrus aroma, but nothing too strong. Much less caramel flavour than I expected. I think the carbonation could be a little spritzier and I’d probably up the wheat malt too. Certainly very good for my first all-grain beer on my new 3-vessel system.

14/02/2014 – Pre-competition tasting – Exactly two months after the last ‘official’ tasting, the hops have really died in this; to such an extent that I’m unsure whether it could still be termed a Belgian IPA.

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