Chasing the Blue Fairy

On December 19, 2009, in Family and Friends, Homebrewing, Recipes, by Mark Ranes

Batch 94

Back in 2007, I brewed the best batch of beer I’ve ever brewed – Blue Flame Imperial IPA.  It was my first encounter with Summit hops, and was intended to be a clone of Green Flash Imperial IPA.  All modesty aside, it was far better than Green Flash’s efforts.  Everyone who tasted it, even folks who aren’t hopheads, agreed that it was an incredible ale.  I’ve tried rebrewing this ale probably a half a dozen times and have never hit the same high mark again.  It just never seems to have the same hop brilliance in either the flavor or aroma as the original.  Brewing this ale, in its original form, has become my life’s challenge!  I tried again today.  I went back to the original, un-tweeked recipe, and gave it another shot.  Here’s the 97% original (I was missing .3 lbs of crystal 60) recipe:

Blue Flame Imperial IPA
14-C Imperial IPA
Author: Mark Ranes
Date: 12/12/09

Size: 5.04 gal
Efficiency: 75.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%
Calories: 384.58 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.090 (1.075 – 1.090)
Terminal Gravity: 1.020 (1.012 – 1.020)
Color: 12.85 (8.0 – 15.0)
Alcohol: 9.8% (7.5% – 10.0%)
Bitterness: 222.4 (60.0 – 100.0)

1.0 tbsp 5.2 pH Stabilizer – added during mash
20.0 lb American 2-row
0.5 lb Cara-Pils® Malt
0.3 lb Crystal Malt 40°L
0.2 lb Crystal Malt 120°L
0.2 lb Carastan
1.0 lb Corn Sugar
1.5 oz Summit (17.0%) – added during boil, boiled 90 min
.5 oz Summit (17.0%) – added during boil, boiled 45 min
.5 oz Nugget (13.0%) – added during boil, boiled 45 min
.5 oz Summit (17.0%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
1 oz Nugget (13.0%) – added during boil, boiled 30.0 min
1.0 ea Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 10.0 min
1.5 tsp Wyeast Nutrient  – added during boil, boiled 10.0 min
.5 oz Summit (17.0%) – added during boil, boiled 10.0 min
.5 oz Nugget (13.0%) – added during boil, boiled 10.0 min
1 oz Summit (17.0%) – added during boil, boiled 0.0 min
2.5 oz Summit (17.0%) – added dry to secondary fermenter
1.5 oz Nugget (13.0%) – added dry to secondary fermenter
2000 mL Starter White Labs WLP001 California Ale

Steve and Cooper

The brew day went well and Steve and Cooper came to keep me company.  It was a late start for Steve, as he’s usually cleaning up about the time I mashed in, but it gave the Boston boys a chance to play.  Steve brought some of the Imperial IPA we brewed at his place back in November.  We messed up on the hopping schedule, but it turned out to be an amazing IPA.

I also had my first real scary encounter today with a carboy.  As I was taking it back to the bedroom to “put to it bed” for a cozy fermentation, my foot caught on something in the walkway, and I went down to my knees, barely softening the blow with my hands as the carboy hit the floor.  Luckily, it didn’t break and all was fine.  But, it was definitely a wake up call…

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Feeling Empty (Figuratively and Literally!)

On August 17, 2008, in Homebrewing, by Mark Ranes
The latest kegged-up ales on gas

The latest kegged-up ales on gas

Today I kegged up the last two ales from my summer brewing marathon that were still in carboys.  For the first time, in what seems like forever, I have nothing in glass fermenting away.  I kegged ten gallons of Klassic Kolsch and five gallons of Blue Flame Imperial IPA.  They both attenuated well and completely.  The Kolsch had an original gravity of 1.052 and finished at 1.011, for a 5.4% ABV.  The hydrometer jar sample tasted wonderful, a bit drier and less sweet than my first batch of Kolsch.  This one is a keeper!  The Blue Flame Imperial IPA also attenuated much better than the last batch.  It started with an original gravity of 1.078 and went all the way down to 1.011, for a 8.8% ABV.  For this batch of Blue Flame, I used late hops exclusively, except for the single 90 minute bittering charge.  I also bumped up the dry hops with two ounces each of Summit and Nugget hops.  The uncarbonated sample tasted great and the ale has a huge hop nose.  This is going to be an awesome ale in six weeks!

Eight, sad empty carboys...

Eight, sad empty carboys...

I now have eight dirty carboys that I need to clean.  Nothing is quite as sad looking as eight empty carboys…

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