Monday, 6 October 2014

Brewing a Galaxy One-Hop Imperial IPA

Judging from the title of this post, it may appear that I'm overdoing it with concentrating on one-hop beers lately (two of my more recent brews were an El Dorado Session IPA, and a Lawson's Finest Liquids Double Sunshine clone, a DIPA brewed with all Citra hops). I swear it's a coincidence; this isn't the sole direction my homebrewing "career" is taking. I think two things helped me make the decision on what to brew next: 1) the Double Sunshine clone had kicked, so I was ready for another DIPA, and 2) I've been sitting on a 1/2 lb of Galaxy hops for months, and have never brewed with this hop, so I was anxious to try them out before they got too old.

First, a few words on the Galaxy hop variety. A high alpha-acid, Australian variety, it's another one of those hard-to-get hops that have become really popular over the past few years. Used for its very strong hop flavor and aroma (citrus and passionfruit are two of the main descriptors you'll see), it appears to make an almost-overwhelmingly fruity beer. I like fruity hops; hell, who doesn't? But there's a lot of fruity hop varieties out there, so I'm curious to see how Galaxy compares to a lot of others that I've brewed with in the past.

A beer where Galaxy hops are front and center certainly isn't something new, especially in the world of commercial beer. If you do a quick search online, you'll find many APAs, IPAs, DIPAs and more that are brewed solely with Galaxy. Always reassuring, especially considering that Galaxy hasn't been around that long. I wouldn't say that any of these beers in particular pushed me towards brewing my own, but I HAVE always had Hill Farmstead's Double Galaxy on my wish list (mind you, I have a lot of beers from HF on that list). What I'm brewing is in no way a clone attempt of Double Galaxy - I didn't contact Shaun Hill for any info and I've never tried the beer. My Galaxy DIPA is being brewed for research and enjoyment purposes only!

When putting together the recipe, I didn't really do any particular research. I know what I like in a DIPA - I don't want much in the way of specialty malts (I'm looking at you, Crystal), and I want the beer to finish dry. I'm looking for some firm bitterness in the finish, but I mostly want the beer to be about hop flavor and aroma. This isn't anything new, as I think a lot of hoppy-beer drinkers look for their DIPAs to be this way.

So, on to the grist. As you can see, I kept it very simple, with the high majority being 2-row, a touch of Carapils and Crystal 40 L, and some table sugar to help dry the beer out a bit more. And as I've been doing with most of my pale beers lately, a very small amount of Acid malt to bring the mash pH down. The sugar is added directly into primary (boiled with water and cooled) once fermentation slows; it's certainly fine to add it in the boil, I just prefer to do it the other way to take a bit of strain off the yeast. If you follow my approach, make sure you adjust your OG target accordingly when taking a reading after the boil.

For the hop schedule, I went with something very similar to that used in my Modern Times Fortunate Islands clone; that is, no actual hops added until flameout, but then you add a LOT after that point. A bit of hop extract for bittering at the beginning of the boil, and then lots of Galaxy at flameout for a hop stand/steep, some more when the chiller is turned on and the wort temp drops below 180 F, and then lots more Galaxy again in two separate dry-hop additions. I've had success with this approach before, so as long as these hops are fairly fresh (they should be; they're the 2013 harvest, but have been sealed, nitrogen-flushed, and stored properly the whole time) I'm expecting good things with this beer... minus the always-possible infection, stuck fermentation, etc.

Fermented as usual with US-05, I'm hoping to be drinking this beer by mid-October at the absolute latest. I'm continuing my approach to brewing smaller batches for hoppy beers; it's working out well, to prevent them from aging too much, without making me feel like I have to plow through high-ABV beers on a daily basis. Now that I'll likely be back to brewing every couple of weeks, it also helps keep the turnaround on the taps at a more-reasonable pace.

Recipe targets: (4 gallons, 72% efficiency) OG 1.077, FG ~1.012, IBU ~80, SRM 6, ABV ~9%

Grains & Sugars:
4.5 kg (86%) Canadian 2-row
188 g (4.8%) Carapils
100 g (1.9%) Crystal 40 L
80 g (1.5%) Acid malt
300 g (5.8%) Table sugar (added in primary when fermentation slows)

Hop extract - 6.25 mL (equivalent to 35 g of 10% AA hop) @ 60 min

Galaxy - 50 g (14.1% AA) @ 0 min (with a 25-minute steep)

Galaxy - 50 g after started chilling, when wort temp below 180 F

Galaxy - 63 g dry-hop for 5 days (in primary)
Galaxy - 63 g dry-hop for 5 more days (keg-hop)

Misc.: 1/2 tab Irish Moss @ 5 min

Yeast: US-05 Safale, rehydrated

Water: Fredericton city water, carbon-filtered; 3 g of Gypsum and 3 g CaCl added to the mash

- Brewed on September 10th, 2014, by myself. 50-minute mash with 13 L of strike water, mashed in at target of 148 F. Mashed-out for 10 minutes with 7.5 L of boiling water. Sparged with ~2 gallons of 168 F water for final volume of ~5.75 gallons.

- SG a bit low at 1.052 (target 1.053). 60-minute boil. Flameout hops had a 25-minute steep before turning on the chiller; wort temp was almost immediately below 180 F, where I added the second amount of flameout hops. Final volume ~4.25 gallons, a bit high. Chilled down to 64 F, then poured into Better Bottle. OG high at 1.073 (when including future sugar addition). Aerated with 90 seconds of pure O2, pitched rehydrated yeast. Placed BB in laundry sink with some cold water to try to keep temp down. 

- Fast fermentation over the next couple of days, temp getting as high as 74 F, higher than I'd like. Luckily I pitched low, so hopefully the alcohols don't get too hot. By the third day, fermentation was already showing signs of slowing down, so I added the sugar in two additions over 24 hours, 150 g each that had been boiled and cooled in about 1/2 cup of water.

- 19/9/14 - FG 1.012. Added 1st dry hop addition directly into primary.

- 24/9/14 - Beer racked to CO2-purged keg, second dry hops added in a weighted-down mesh bag. 

- 30/9/14 - Dry hops removed, keg put in keezer to drop temp down.    

- 10/11/14 - I'm admittedly a little disappointed, but it still came out pretty good... I was just expecting more fruit in the aroma and flavor.

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