Gowanus Brewery

Gowanus Double India Pale Ale – Intro and Update by Jeremy
October 10, 2008, 12:00 am
Filed under: beer, double ipa, naming

I had some fun with this one.

This recipe is different from my first DIPA, which I didn’t realize until I went to unpack this kit, but all that doubt went away a couple weeks ago went I thiefed my first sample. This one is going to be outstanding:

  • 16 lbs. British Pale Malt
  • 0.75 lbs. Dingemans Caramel Pils
  • 0.25 lbs. Briess Caramel 120
  • 1 oz. Summit (60 min)
  • 1 oz. Centennial (30 min)
  • 1 oz. Cascade (10 min)
  • 2 oz. Glacier (0 min)
  • 1 oz. Cascade Hops (dry hop)

    I tweaked this one just like the Gowanus American Harvest Amber Ale.  But, instead of 1 ounce of oak, I used 2; and instead of boiling the garden hops, I threw them in during secondary (pictured). I should add that I actually dumped this beer from primary right onto the amber ale’s secondary bucket to get that first ounce of oak.  The GDIPA sat there for only about a week, before I siphoned it too off to a third bucket.

    This beer is going to taste great despite a couple of factors working against it.  First, I spilled about a pound of grain when I went to mash in.  Whoops.  Second, primary fermentation was active at the less-than-ideal temperature range of 80 to 84 degrees, but the ambient temperature here quickly dropped to the mid-sixties.  Perhaps partly due to those factors, my original gravity was only about 1.075, rather than the target 1.085.  But, as I said, it already tastes phenomenal!

    The specific gravity is at about 1.020 now and I’m just waiting for some free time to bottle it up.  It is going to be one of a three-pack of beers I send out for the holiday season: Strong Wheat, DIPA, & Amber Ale.

    Slick Labels, Tasty Brew by Jeremy
    December 17, 2007, 12:00 am
    Filed under: double ipa, extra pale ale, ipa, label

    I’ve been using 2″ x 4″ mailing labels from Staples for my beer bottles. There is a template available online to make printing a snap. I’ve spent hours scrubbing labels off bottles, so, as far as I’m concerned, the smaller the label the better. Plus, this size label looks great on a range of bottle sizes, from the taller, 24 ouncers to the shorter, grenade-style bottles.

    The Olde Nash is the California Imperial Pale Ale I brewed back in October.

    The Chinook Me is the Chinook IPA. I can’t take full credit for naming this one. That goes to my (lovely) girlfriend.

    The Cleaners Pale Ale is the Extra Pale Ale, which I actually moved to secondary just this morning. The named seemed fitting for a beer that’s supposed to be crisp and refreshing.

    I use GIMP to draw these labels, pulling free fonts from Dafont.com and images from Google’s image search. I used OpenOffice to view and fill the template. I found out (the hard way) that OpenOffice and Microsoft Word handle tables and images slightly differently, which is a problem since I have to print from a Word-only workstation. So, from OpenOffice, I’ve started exporting the completed template as a PDF, rather than a Word document, to sidestep the Microsoft software altogether.

    Arrogant Bastard v. Olde Nash!! by Jeremy
    December 14, 2007, 12:00 am
    Filed under: beer, double ipa, review

    The two beers are, not surprisingly, similar–bold, rich barley flavors, explosive hops, dry finish. The primary difference for me comes from the varying hop intensities. As I complained before, my California Imperial Pale Ale, or Olde Nash, seems unbalanced, the hops overshadowing the barley and grains. Oddly, the Arrogant Bastard Ale, which I thought was excellent before, seems unbalanced now. It doesn’t have enough hops! Not enough to warrant its name, anyway. The ABA is overall more drinkable if only because the lack of hops means it’s slightly less bitter. On the other hand, ON’s flavor is much more interesting. It’s full on all fronts.

    In the aroma, the ABA has a fruitiness that must be the grapfruitiness that I read about at BeerAdvocate. Both beers have a sweetness in the nose, but they are completely distinct. ON’s aroma is, in fact, dominated by the Chinook hops that went into it. Having plenty of opportunity’s to become familiar those hops, it’s unmistakable to me.

    The ABA has a reddish-copper color that’s lighter, though otherwise similar, to ON.

    For mouthfeel, the ABA is slightly lighter than ON. The ABA is more viscous than, for example, a pale ale, whereas ON is more like a regular medium-to-full bodied brew.

    Both beers have a similar, tan-colored head stand, but the ABA’s disappears almost instantly once in the glass. It leaves thin wisps of foam in the center of the glass and a fine ring of bubbles around the edge.

    I can’t believe how different these two beers are. I’m floored. On the bright side, head to head, my beer’s better. Yeah that’s right. Of course, now I’m the arrogant bastard.

    Beer, More Delicious at Work by Jeremy
    December 10, 2007, 12:00 am
    Filed under: beer, double ipa

    On Friday, I brought a couple bottles of the California Imperial Pale into work for my coworkers to sample. They unanimously approved, even the one that doesn’t drink (she drank in the aroma). One bottle was more than enough to pour out five tasters, which left me with an extra. As luck would have it, I found myself alone in the office at the end of the day, everyone else having left early. It was an awesome end to the work week!

    California Imperial Pale Ale – Served and Reviewed by Jeremy
    December 2, 2007, 12:00 am
    Filed under: beer, double ipa, review

    I sampled and doled out the first of the California Imperial Pale Ale this week. It turned out great. My friends, for the most part, loved it and that was music to my ears. Success!

    The aroma is distinctly hoppy, smelling of citrus and flowers. The color, though it is hard to tell from my picture, is reddish copper and the beer is clear. It has good flavor and tastes similar to the Arrogant Bastard Ale, on which the recipe is based. I’m still learning how to pick out flavors and which flavors to look for, but the hops are present and strong. The barley is is also present, adding some sweetness. The finish is dry, and the bitterness lingers. It is well-carbonated and has a medium body. The head stand is butter-colored and persists with large bubbles. Overall, it is very drinkable, although I think that its flavor could be improved by altering the proportion of barley to hops to introduce more sweetness, or bread flavors. The bitterness fully overshadows those underlying flavors and I think this was an obstacle among my friends who didn’t love the beer.

    I have to admit that I cheated in reviewing this review by reading the the Imperial IPA’s style guidelines ahead of time. It’s a crutch I’ll have to shed at some point. There are over 1000 reviews of Arrogant Bastard Ale at Beer Advocate and the few that I read seem in line with my notes except that I didn’t pick up on the grapefruitiness, which so many of the reviewers mentioned.

    I think I will set a six-pack aside to revisit this beer in the future. The rest I plan to gift out. Beer for the holidays?  Yes.  Nothing says heartfelt like handmade.  Besides, who wouldn’t love to wake up to a handcrafted sixer under the tree Christmas morning? You know these two to the left, a couple friends from Greenpoint, would. They loved this stuff. Actually, my roommate Barry believes so strongly that beer is good for Christmas, that he’s handing out close 15 gallons of his brew to friends and family at the end of the month. And that sounds like some holiday cheer.

    California Imperial Pale Ale – Bottling by Jeremy
    November 18, 2007, 12:00 am
    Filed under: beer, brewing, double ipa, equipment

    I bottled the California Imperial Pale Ale yesterday. I ran into a couple of hiccups, but otherwise everything went well. And damn it tastes good!

    The bottling process is generally straightforward. In a small saucepan, dissolve 5 oz. priming sugar into 2 cups of clean water and boil for 5 minutes. Pour this into bottling bucket and siphon the beer from the secondary fermenter. Fill the bottles to approximately 1 inch from the top and cap bottles. The priming sugar should create natural carbonation in the beer in two weeks, if at room temperature. The beer should be stored at 65 to 75 degrees to ensure carbonation. For best flavor, the beer should be aged an additional month.

    The first issue I encountered was in siphoning the beer from the glass carboy to the bottling bucket. I lost suction while there still a significant amount of beer left. By the time I was able to restart the siphon and reposition the carboy at an angle, there was so much sediment in the beer I had to ditch it. It really makes sense to set the carboy on blocks and at an angle in the first place for this step.

    The second issue was with the bottles. Basically, they were an incredible hassle from start to finish. Removing labels and sanitizing took hours. Then, some of the bottles–the Amstel bottles–didn’t consistently take the cap. I’m not sure what I can do about removing the labels, aside from buying new blank bottles, which I feel like might be an unnecessary expense at this point. I may just have to do a better job of collecting choice bottles. Sanitizing and drying could be much improved, though, if I had a bottle tree and rinser.

    This ingredient kit is an Arrogant Bastard Ale clone and, after sampling my brew, I stoked to report that it actually tastes like the real deal. In a few weeks I’ll try to do a real analysis on it.

    California Imperial Pale Ale – Update by Jeremy
    November 9, 2007, 5:00 pm
    Filed under: beer, double ipa

    I took a few moments this weekend to check in on the California Imperial Pale Ale, which I will be set to bottle next week. And all I can say is it is dark! I attempted to get a sense of the color by passing light through the carboy, but I could only see color very near the surface. I may have to wait until it’s bottled to really evaluate it. It’s like ink as it is, but there are definitely red and copper tones, as prescribed by the BJCP style guidelines.

    This picture represents my first attempt at a light box, which turned out not too bad. I’ll improve on it in the future and hopefully raise the level of quality in my documentation here. The first step will be to make it bigger. I actually had to remove the airlock to get the carboy to fit.

    California Imperial Style Pale Ale by Jeremy
    October 30, 2007, 4:00 pm
    Filed under: beer, brewing, double ipa

    October 20th I brewed my first batch and in the near future I’ll bottle it. I am working with an ingredient kit I bought along with my first equipment set from High Gravity Homebrewing and Winemaking Supplies. It is the California Imperial Pale Ale and, as it sits now in a glass carboy, I can say at least that it smells like beer and it has a great deep, rich golden brown color.

    I picked this ingredient kit only because it has “California” in the name and I’m from California. But that’s fine because we’re just getting started over here and this kit seems as good as any with which to start. In the future, I will try to choose other styles of beer to expand on specific skills or to explore new ideas.

    Here is what the recipe page at High Gravity has to say about this kit:

    This beer ingredient kit is based on the popular Arrogant Bastard Ale. The copper-colored brew begins with an intensely rich malt flavor followed by an explosion of hop aroma and bitterness.

    Arrogant Bastard Ale is excellent, so this sounds great. Wikipedia has some general information on this style of beer:

    Double India Pale Ales (also abbreviated as Double IPAs or DIPAs) are a strong, hoppy style of beer associated with the U.S. West Coast. Also known as Imperial IPAs, perhaps in reference to the Russian Imperial Stout, a much stronger version of the English Stout, these beers are essentially India Pale Ales with higher amounts of malt and hops. Double IPAs typically have alcohol content above 7% by volume. IBUs are in the very high range (60+).

    There are some brewers that believe the name should be San Diego Pale Ale, since the style most likely started near San Diego, CA — specifically a Double IPA brewed in 1994 by Vinnie Cilurzo of the failed Blind Pig Brewing Company of Temecula, CA. Vinnie claims he ‘accidentally’ created the style by adding 50% too much malt to his mash tun. He then ‘corrected’ this mistake by adding 100% more hops. This metric (50% more malt, 100% more hops) is the basic guideline behind the style.

    So, California Imperial Pale Ale may be better known as Double India Pale Ale, or Double IPA, because the recipe calls for nearly double the malt and hops required to make India Pale Ale, or IPA. Arrogant Bastard Ale is a good example of this type of beer. The “Imperial” in California Imperial Pale Ale is borrowed from Russian Imperial Stout, which is simply a stronger version of another beer: the English Stout. I guess “Imperial” might loosely mean that a recipe has been made stronger, or the alcohol content and IBU’s (yeah, what’s an IBU?) raised, by adding a lot more malt and a lot more hops.

    The information included in my ingredient kit, which seems to be in line with the information above, says to expect an alcohol by volume between 5.5% and 6.3% and hop IBU’s between 80 and 100. I should point out that Wikipedia says “[t]he technical limit for IBU’s is around 100…” Obviously, this style of beer is going to be in your face and will require a period of aging prior to bottling to improve drinkability. The instructions with this kit recommend aging one month.

    The kit included the following:

    6.6 lbs. Plain Amber Liquid Malt Extract
    2 lbs. Plain Amber Dry Malt Extract
    1 lb. Crushed Crystal Malt 120L
    1 each Grain Steeping Bag
    2 oz. Chinook Hops (Bittering)
    1 oz. Chinook Hops (Finishing Flavoring)
    1 oz. Chinook Hops (Finishing Aroma)
    5 oz. Priming Sugar
    60 each Crown Caps
    1 Packet Dry Beer Yeast

    Here is a short version of the procedure I followed to brew this batch:

    0. Place malt extract tins unopened in hot water to ease pouring in step 2, below.
    1. Steep crushed crystal malt in a cloth bag in 2 gallons clean water at 160 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. Remove grain bag without squeezing; discard.
    2. Bring brewpot water to a boil and add now-warm malt extract, stirring until water returns to boil. Add dry malt extract, stirring until until water returns to boil. Add bittering hops. Boil for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    3. Add finishing hops and continue to boil for 10 minutes.
    4. Add finishing aroma hops and boil for final 5 minutes. Total boiling time will be approximately 60 minutes.
    5. Cool the wort rapidly to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
    6. Transfer wort to fermenter, leaving behind any sediment. Add approximately 3 gallons 70-degree water until the fermenter level reaches 5 gallons.
    7. Measure and record Starting Gravity and temperature, simultaneously.
    8. Sprinkle dry yeast on top of wort and stir well. Close fermenter and fix airlock.
    9. Allow fermentation to occur in a space with an ambient temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
    10. After 7 days, transfer wort to secondary fermenter, then measure and record Final Gravity and temperature, simultaneously.

    This is the point I am at now. The kit sets the target Starting Gravity between 1.050 – 1.060 and the Final Gravity between 1.008 – 1.016. After adjusting for temperature, my actual Starting and Final Gravity, respectively, was 1.065 and 1.018.

    As I mentioned above, the instructions with this kit recommend aging for one month, which leaves me plenty of time to study up and find a new kit to start on.