Sunday, April 7, 2013

Recipe Refinement | Special Competition Ingredient

3 Fountains IPA/Grassmarket IPA Split Batch

10 gallon IPA split batch coming out of the chiller
Recipe refinement is a glaring weakness of mine.  I rarely repeat brew a beer and I'm not exactly sure why.  Maybe it's because I always have an idea for something different and my brewing schedule can't keep up (it's getting harder and harder to find time to brew these days).  Or maybe it's because I usually want to drink something that I can't find anywhere else and the perfect pale ale, porter, IPA stout etc. has already been done beautifully by so many others.  In any case, I admit I don't have a whole lot of reference when it comes to the influence of individual ingredients.  Sure, I've played with hops and different yeasts and grains as well as some unorthodox ingredients, but comparative knowledge eludes me somewhat.  I have the capability of making 10 gallon batches, but it's only happened a few times.  So a few weeks ago I set out to brew an IPA with the influence of yeast in mind.  I had a lot of success making Chad Y's 100% Brett B Baltic Porter and I wanted another clean-fermented Brett beer to drink.  I've also been keeping up with Modern Times progress toward opening locally and have been following the Mad Fermentationist's brewing experiments as a Modern Times consultant.  So, I copied the malt bill for the Modern Times Super 100% Brett IPA test batch and adjusted the hops to my preferences.  I brewed 10 gallons worth of wort and pitched a massive starter of Brett B Trois in one 5 gallon carboy and Edinburgh Ale Yeast in the other.  I have no illusions about breaking new ground, as I know beers like this have been made before with plenty of success, but I am interested to see the difference between the two.  After 8 days of fermentation, the Brett IPA was at 1.012 while the beer inoculated with Edinburgh was at 1.018.  Both of them are being dry hopped aggressively as I write this, and I plan to put both on tap, adding a picnic tap to my kegerator exclusively for sour beers in the process.  3 Fountains 100% Brett IPA pays homage to the origin of Brett B Trois, cultured from Drie Fonteinen.  Grassmarket IPA references the historic grassmarket square in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Homebrew Competition

The longer that I brew the more people I meet and become close to who brew as well.  Over the years we've had quite a few different competitions amongst local brewers, operating at levels of seriousness varying between drunken party and near BJCP level judging.  All have been fun and educational-a great way to meet up with like-minded folks and brew something to talk about.  This time around we focused on BJCP Category 21 - Spice, Herb or Vegetable Beer.  Everyone interested in participating submitted two chosen ingredients, and one select ingredient was chosen in a drawing.

Scott: Coffee, Honey
Danny: Squash, Grains of Paradise
Cracker: Maple Syrup, Watermelon
Eric: Coconut, Vanilla
Sisco: Chocolate, Nutmeg
Lewy: Popcorn, Powdered Peanut Butter
Jeff: Cilantro, Jalapenos
Sean: Kids Cereal     

So coffee is the featured ingredient.  It doesn't have to be present in any particular way, but must be used at some point in the beer.  I'm thinking either cold-pressed (to cut down on bitterness and because it's nicely concentrated) or cracked beans.  Either way the coffee would be introduced in secondary and I'm planning to go decaf because caffeine makes me shake.  Recipe to follow. 


  1. The Brett IPA sounds pretty tasty. That makes me think that I need to brew one soon. Make sure to post a tasting as I'm curious in the comparison.

    1. Will do. Hoping to have them on tap in about a month.


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