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Evil Twin Brew

June 27, 2010

Recipe

BeerSmith Recipe

Brew Day (6/27/10):

Today I brewed the Evil Twin, a recipe from Jamil that attempts to mimic the Evil Dead Red – a Halloween seasonal by AleSmith.  Essentially, Jamil is trying to get big hop flavor and aroma by adding all hops as late additions (as opposed to a dose up front strictly for bittering).  Since my latest brews have been really thick and malty – either by design (my Wee Heavy Scott) or accident(?) (my Dusseldorf Alt) – I decided I should try something on the other side of the malt-hop balance (though being a red, I’ll still get a little bit of malt presence).

Not wanting to regress back to extract with steeping, and not having the equipment on-hand to do a 5 gallon all-grain batch (I didn’t want to go to the hassle of borrowing the club’s equipment again and trying to clean it in the closed quarters of an apartment) I decided to go with a partial mash.  Having a pretty big grain bag for my 1-2 gallon all-grain batches and a 36 qt. cooler, I figured I could at least pull this off.  I was a little concerned that my grain bag would be stressed by the 5+ lbs. of grain, but I figured there’s no better way to test its limit than to push it.

During my preparation on brew day, I realized that I had forgotten to make a starter the night before so I frantically boiled 1.5 L of water and DME and prepared myself for a late brew day – forgetting that we were going to have visitors at 7:00 and needed to be on top of dinner.  This was probably a good thing to forget because then I would have rushed and generally not enjoyed the brew day too much.  Anyway, I got my Cal Ale yeast (WLP001) in the starter at about 1:30 and ended up giving it a little over 4 hours to propagate when all was said and done.  I would like to know a resource where I could calculate (or at least know the proper equation to determine) the approximate cell count that this achieved.  I should note that another goal of this session was to get an experience with the Cal Ale yeast.  From my reading and listening it seems to be a staple strain, so I figure my expected conversion to strictly liquid yeast would do well to get experienced with it.

Once brewing began in earnest, I pre-heated my cooler (eventually saving that water to use for sparging later) and loaded the grains into the bag.  It was a little tight and I don’t think I want to try it with any more than these 5 lbs. again, but I think I was still able to get some good conversion (my OG came out pretty close – 1.069 vs. 1.071).  Another thing I noticed is that the bag is naturally pretty square (maybe slightly longer than wide, but not by much) and my cooler is very much longer than wide.  This lead to some inefficient use of mash water and me flipping the bag over about halfway through to make sure all of the grain had a good amount of time in contact with liquid.  For better or worse, I didn’t worry about temperature during mash at all.  I made sure I hit my 166 F (with my thermometer of dubious accuracy) prior to adding grain, but after that I just shut the lid and left it alone (except to flip the bag and stir things around).  Prior experience gives me quite a bit of faith that BeerSmith got the 166 F number correct and I couldn’t feel any heat on the outside of the cooler (and placed two towels on the top) so I let it be.  Not to mention a little bit cooler of a mash might be good for getting me the dry-ish beer that I’m looking for.  We’ll see how the FG turns out.

After that, brewing went pretty well with the 5.5 oz. of hops filling up the kettle pretty well.  So much so that I scooped out about as much as I could just prior to flameout to make room for the flameout additions.  Hopefully it doesn’t affect the aroma too much (I don’t expect flavor to be too directly affected).

As I did with my Scottish last time, I dumped the brew kettle into my bottling bucket, hoping to use the spigot to get the wort to the fermentor while leaving behind a significant amount of break material.  Once again I was very happy with the cooling of the immersion chiller.  I’m really looking forward to getting a set up where I can re-circulate the wort whirlpool-style.  For now I just stick a spoon in there frequently and spin it around (making sure to rinse it and keep it in sanitizer in between).  Unfortunately this time I got essentially no use out of the spigot since it immediately clogged up with hops.  I either need to find a way to cost-effectively keep them out or abandon this idea (waiting to get a proper brew kettle).  I don’t expect much effect from the failure, though.  My ESB and Pale Ale did awesome without it with the Whirlfloc addition keeping the break on the bottom of the fermentor (the pale looked like water in the bottle).

Fermentation (6/28/10- ):

Fermentation started chugging along after ~12 hours (by 7:00 AM the next morning the airlock was bubbling nicely).

6/29/10:

The hop aroma is very nice and my daughter agrees (though my wife isn’t too happy about that aroma in her closet) and the color, krausen, and swirling yeast look just right.  These early indications lead me to believe this brew will hit the mark with the aroma.  I’ve debated doing a dry hop, but I think the best strategy is to go without.  Since this is partially an experiment in the effect of late additions, I don’t want a dry hop to mask the contribution of them.  By the time this batch is about a week in the bottle, it will be a good time for me to dry hop the follow-on pale ale I’m doing (using a re-pitch of this batch’s yeast).  That should be a good time for me to sample the Evil Twin and make a call (though I might dry hop the pale ale in any case to get something of a comparison between the late hops and dry hopping – since I plan on doing the pale ale hop schedule more traditionally).

Bottling (7/8/2010):

5 gallons sure takes a lot more time and bottles!  It’s been a long time since I did a full 5-gallon batch considering I set aside 1+ gallons of the Alt for lagering and other than that I haven’t done anything >2 gallons since April.  I should note however, that the bottling bucket only got up to the 4 gallon mark once all the useful beer was siphoned over.

Contrary to Jamil’s suggestion of not carbonating over 2 volumes, I set this for 2.4 volumes of carbonation.  I’ve become gun shy on the low carbonation after my ESBs have been lackluster in large part due to my inability to get satisfactory carbonation on them (I’m really looking forward to getting a keg setup and its forced carbonation sometime soon).

After the eons it took to fill 30 assorted 12-, 16- and 20-oz. bottles I was left with about 6 oz. of beer.  Now that I’ve sworn off capping partially full bottles, I poured it into a glass and sampled.  Holy cow were the hops intense!  I don’t know what to attribute it to, but my mouth almost felt like it was burning.  I’m really hoping the flavor rounds out with carbonation and time, but we’ll see.  I know that carbonation tends to accentuate hop flavor (by providing a mechanism to transport the hop aroma out of the beer via the bubles) but I’m still hoping that it will help.  Otherwise I may be stuck with 30 bottles of beer that it will be hard to get through.  I do believe that the beer is solid and well-made, I’m just not that much of a hop-head.  I’ve learned I’m much more of a malt-head.

Grading

Not a full-out grading, but I’ve just sampled my first carbonated bottle (put it in the freezer for ~20 minutes and poured into frosted mug).  The hop aroma is outstanding.  While still pretty pronounced, the hop flavor is not as bad as I feared.  For 33 IBU, this is one heck of a hoppy brew.  I don’t think it will go down as one of my favorites, but I should be able to get through the 5 gallons without too much trouble (though I’m not expecting to get much help either).

What to do different next time

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From → Ale, Brews, Partial Mash

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