Friday, 14 July 2017

Grapefruit Milkshake IPA (w/ Azacca, Citra and Mosaic)

Last fall, I brewed my first Milkshake IPA (and in true me fashion, posted about it almost 3 months later... sigh), Orange Creamsicle IPA. With half a pound of lactose powder, vanilla bean, orange zest, and hopped with plenty of Azacca, Equinox and Galaxy, it came out really tasty. It wasn't QUITE where I wanted it to be, as I felt that it could use more vanilla (I had used half a vanilla bean), but otherwise I really enjoyed it.

Originally going up in February, that post is now my third-most-viewed post of all time (and close to passing to #2). I've been blogging since November of 2011, so when a post is viewed that many times in five months, it really says something. And no, I'm not saying it says something about my writing! It shows that this is a "style" that is really taking off in North America. And it shows that when your blog is referenced, even briefly, on The Mad Fermentationist, your popularity increases exponentially! Where were you in junior high school, Mike Tonsmeire, huh? Huh?

Brewing a beer like this again was a definite thing for me. Aside from being obviously juicy, fruity, tropical, etc. from the zest and hop additions, the vanilla and lactose work surprisingly well, giving the beer a very smooth, silky mouthfeel, without being cloyingly sweet. So, in early April I brewed up another Milkshake IPA, with a few changes this time around.

The grist I kept almost the same, with only one change: originally, I had a mix of 2-row and Maris Otter (emphasis on the 2-row), but I started thinking afterwards, why do that with a beer of this style? I understand that if you want a bit more malt complexity, Maris Otter is great, but in a beer that has lactose powder, vanilla bean, fruit, and a boatload of hops... somehow I think anything that Maris Otter adds is going to get lost. And with it's slightly higher price, I couldn't justify it. So the majority of the grist is 2-row, with close to 15% Flaked Oats, and a bit of Carapils and Acid malt.

Hops. The changes I made here were purely out of experimentation, not because I wasn't happy with the three varieties I used the first time around. This time around I kept the Azacca, and switched out the Equinox and Galaxy for Citra and Mosaic. You're talking about two awesome varieties being replaced by... two awesome varieties. I love all four of those hops and would be happy using any or all of them in a beer. I couldn't remember recently combining Citra and Mosaic together, so thought this would be a good opportunity. Citra and Mosaic were used at 10 minutes, and for a hop steep. A large dose of Azacca for the first dry hop, then more Citra for a second.

For the vanilla bean, this was a simple adjustment. Half a bean (scraped and chopped, soaked in vodka for a week or so before packaging, with the resulting tincture being added to the serving keg) gave some vanilla presence the first time, but not enough. A friend who tried mine brewed his own version and added a whole bean, and it was spot-on. So, a full bean it is!

Finally, the fruit. There were plenty of options here, ranging from a combination of zests to whole fruit. I had fully intended on adding mango into secondary after fermentation was complete, but ultimately I decided on more zest... and not a fruit I normally would have thought of for a beer like this - grapefruit. But, anyone who's had Grapefruit Sculpin from Ballast Point knows that it's a pretty delicious beer (at least, it was the last few times I had it), and grapefruit is a descriptor you can find in several hop varieties, so I gave it a shot. I used almost twice the amount of zest that I used for orange in the last beer, keeping in mind that the bitterness of the beer may be accentuated by the grapefruit.

Fermented (with London Ale III, of course), dry-hopped, kegged, and consumed (mostly, there's a few bottled-from-the-tap beers left), this beer came out pretty a-ok. The one vanilla bean is, I can confirm with certainty now, the way to go for a 5 gallon batch. The level of vanilla in both the aroma and taste is pretty much just where I'd want it to be for this beer. Of course, the juicy, fruity tropical hops are the stars of the show, with a touch of residual sweetness from the lactose (I still think 1/2 lb is enough). I get a bit of grapefruit, but I wonder if the large dry-hop additions aren't overshadowing the zest? The Brew Bucket smelled very strongly of grapefruit after I had racked to the keg, but I don't get near that aroma in the actual beer. And I do think the bitterness for this one is a bit too high; since the IBUs are about where the last one was, I'm guessing maybe the grapefruit is increasing the perception of bitterness even more.

Changes for next time: dial the IBUs back a bit if using grapefruit zest, but more likely, I'd go with a different fruit. The beer is still quite enjoyable, but I think the orange zest from the last beer worked better. And, of course, I'll probably tweak the hops even more, just because! But this is turning into a pretty solid recipe, and I'd recommend most of what you see below.

Recipe Targets: (5.5 gallons, 75% efficiency) OG 1.067, FG ~1.014, IBU ~54, SRM 4.2, ABV ~7%

Grains & Sugars:
4.65 kg (75.8%) Canadian 2-row
900 g (14.7%) Flaked Oats
180 g (2.9%) Carapils
180 g (2.9%) Acid malt
227 g (3.7%) Lactose powder (added during the boil)

Polaris - 8 g (17% AA) @ 60 min
Citra - 28 g (11.5% AA) @ 10 min
Mosaic - 28 g (10.5% AA) @ 10 min

Citra & Mosaic - 42 g each @ 0 min (with a 15 min hop steep)

Azacca - 104 g dry-hop for 5 days (in primary)

Citra - 80 g dry-hop for 5 more days (in primary)

17 g grapefruit zest (in primary with Citra dry hop)
1 vanilla bean (scraped and chopped, soaked in vodka for a week, strained and added in serving keg)

Yeast: Wyeast 1318 London Ale III (~240 billion cells)

Water: Fredericton city water, carbon-filtered; 3 g Gypsum and 7 g calcium chloride added to mash

- Brewed in early April, 2017, by myself. 50-minute mash with 16 L of strike water; mash temp on target at 150 F. Mashed-out for 10 minutes with 8.5 L of boiling water to 168 F. Sparged with ~3 gallons of 168 F water for final volume of ~6.75 gallons.

- 60-minute boil; added the lactose in the final 20 min. Final volume ~5.5 gallons; OG a bit low at 1.065. Chilled to 64 F, then poured into Brew Bucket (from SS). Aerated with 90 seconds of pure O2, pitched yeast at 64 F.

- Fermentation active by the next day and over 2-3 days (temp got as high as 72 F).

- 8/4/17 - Fermentation started slowing, added first dry hop.

- 13/4/17 - Added second dry-hop and grapefruit zest.

- 20/4/17 - Kegged beer (with vanilla bean-infused vodka), carbed at 30 PSI for 36 hours.

Appearance: Pours much like the last: moderate-large sized, stark white head that shows great retention. Body is pale yellow, and completely cloudy.

Aroma: Bright and full of juicy, tropical fruit; followed by some vanilla, and a touch of grapefruit. Not really getting any malt character (that's ok).

Taste: Like the aroma suggest, plenty of juicy fruit goodness from the hops! Much better level of vanilla this time around (definitely noticeable, but not sickening), and the grapefruit does come through a bit as well. Finishes with a moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, medium carbonation. Very smooth and creamy.

Overall: Very nice; I give the hop and fruit edge to the last beer, and the vanilla to this one. Hoping that my next attempt will be even closer to where I want.