Whether you call it an Imperial, Double, or Some Kind Of Big IPA, that's what I made this weekend. I wasn't sure if I'd do this or not as I typically have not qualified as a hop-head, but they've started to taste good, so it was time to take a swing...using the hops I had on hand. Thank goodness I had some luck growing them last season and there was a decent pile in the freezer to pull from. If/when I decide to do a little brother to this one, I may have to grab a new hop, but for now, this one will be very much a classic west-coast Imperial, based on what I know.
Brew day itself went really well. Mashed in right on target and held it in place the entire time. Big, thick mash. I haven't seen the pot that full in quite some time.
Since I knew I was going to do the vast majority of my boil outside on the big burner, my last session gave me a good reason to up the amount of water for the sparge. If I were doing this inside on the stove it would have been an unmanageable amount of water. But, short of 3 gallons in a 5 gallon pot is a great amount for this setup.
|Have hops, will boil.|
As mentioned at the beginning, this one was going to be a bit hoppy. I don't think that table has ever seen that many hops laid out on it at one time before. Even better? That scale decided it didn't want to weigh things once it started sprinkling on us, so a good number of the hop additions were eyeballed....most likely on the heavy side. Initial calculations of IBUs were around 105. Pretty sure this is past that thanks to a heavy hand.
This is usually where a joke about hop soup would be appropriate because holy cow there was a serious hop pile in the kettle when I was done! Might even be more appropriate to call it hop stew it was so thick at the end...or maybe a stoup... Yes - this was the MOST hops I have ever put into a beer...probably even compared my larger batches!
|Hopped so thick you could stick a thermometer in it.|
Once I managed to get the liquid separated from the hops, I took a measurement. BOOM! Damn near 1.120. Soooo, just a tad over-boiled as I think I was at just over 3/4 of a gallon, so I watered down to 1.094, which was my initial target anyhow, and hit what I usually want as my initial volume. All good signs.
|A bit thicker/stronger than I was shooting for.|
Wrapping things up for the brew day, I pitched the yeast and had my 3 year old boy count with me to 20 while I shook the bucket to aerate the wort. While he doesn't count that high, he thought it was one of the funniest things ever to see me do that...and count it out, so that made it fun and hilarious. And, as of this morning, the airlock is bubbling away. Since it's such a big beer, it'll get a little more attention tonight and tomorrow which will hopefully help ensure that it ferments down properly, and then it's the waiting game.
Thinking about the beers I've made recently and also stumbling upon a bag of buckwheat in the cupboard, I starting thinking a porter might be due. The buckwheat has a slightly nutty taste that I think could work well in a porter...or a brown ale... Then there's the belgian yeast in my fridge that's been patiently waiting...and the frozen kiwi for the big batch of Ki-What? So many choices. So many bottles that need to be filled!