Monday, February 20, 2012

Rockit Cup Belgian Session IPA Brewday

Rockit! Rockit! Rockit!

Our latest installment in the now world-famous Rockit Cup competition. This one features a whole crap-load of late addition hops to build the hop profile (know as hop bursting—if you’d like some more sweet math action to accompany your beer brewing knowledge, see here; you can also check out Randy Mosher’s Radical Brewing, 52-3); as you can see, hop additions are all in the last 20 minutes. I heard through the grapevine that one nameless participant (Scott) did say this was the most hops he’d ever used in a beer. Can you feel the learning?

110. Rockit Cup Belgian Session IPA
8 ½ lbs. Weyermann Pilsner
1 lb. Breiss Caramel 80° L
½ lb. Breiss White Wheat

Mashed @ 154° F w/4 gallons of RO water for 60 minutes; collected 2 ¾ gallons @ 1.076
Batch sparged @ 163° F w/4 gallons RO water for 20 minutes; collected 3 ¾ gallons @ 1.022
Collected 6 ½ gallons; added 1 qt. to bring volume to 6 ¾ gallons; brought to a boil (90 minute) and added:

w/20 to go: 1 ¼ oz. Simcoe leaf ­14.1% AA

w/15 to go: 1 tsp. Irish Moss

w/5 to go: 1 oz. Simcoe leaf 14.1% AA
1 oz. Centennial leaf 11.5% AA

w/0 to go: 1 ½ oz. Simcoe leaf 14.1% AA
1 ¾ oz. Centennial leaf 11.5% AA

Chilled, racked to carboy, and pitched Wyeast 1762 Belgian Abbey II

Brewed: 2/20/2012 @ 68° F
Secondary: 3/1/2012; dry hop: ½ oz. Simcoe leaf 14.1% AA & ½ oz. Centennial leaf 11.5% AA
Bottled: 3/3/2012 w/ 3 oz. table sugar

OG: 1.052
FG: 1.014

Tasting Notes: (3/9/2012) For this Rockit Cup, there were four participants: Jeffrey McElfresh, Brian Gallow, Scott Young, and myself. All of the beers were good; it is getting easier to pick out and pick apart these beers—I could easily pick out Jeffrey’s and mine because I know we used the same yeast (no one else had 1762, since there was none in town, so any Belgian yeast was dubbed acceptable), and of the other two, Scott’s house character stood out. Brian’s beer was by way of elimination, but still correct. Jeffrey’s was the clear winner, while Brian ended up second, I was third, and Scott was fourth.

(4/17/2012) Rockit Cup Belgian IPA pours an orange copper with a rich white head that laces the glass well. The wheat malt is really pulling its weight in this beer. Initial aromas are focused on hops: spicy pine and resin citrus. The hop bursting certainly helps create a delicate and complex hop aroma. There is also some caramel in the background, but it is well buried underneath the hop aroma. Flavors also start with hops. Here, the spice and resin is more prevalent. When we first had it, there was more delicate citrus and orange, but that has faded in the last month, leaving more of an orange marmalade hop flavor as the beer moves into the bitterness of the middle. The pine flavor comes in as the bitterness asserts itself, although by no means is the hop bitterness aggressive, and I get a touch of the Centennial sourness that I do so love and cherish—it always helps to round and balance, even in excessive beers. If pushed on the matter, I might claim that the effect is based upon the magic of Centennial, and leave it at that. There is a touch of caramel sweetness in the front, but it is very unobtrusive, serving mainly as balance for the body; as for other malt flavors, there is not much—the Weyermann Pilsner offers an unobtrusive body that works well with the beer. The finish has bitterness, but it is subdued and in balance with the rest of the beer—the focus is more on complexity and balance, creating a beer that is quaffable and clean. The caramel does balance the pine and resin hop flavors, but I would be intrigued to substitute something like a C-8 or C-20 for the C-80, and compare the balance and body between the two. The mouthfeel is medium, as is the carbonation, and there are no real elements that merit commentary; I do get a touch of grassiness in the mouthfeel now that the beer has passed its peak. The yeast character is clean and even—I’ll be interested to compare the next two beers I made with the 1762 cake to see if the Belgian yeast character exerts any more influence on the beer, as in this one, it is well nigh unremarkable. Nonetheless, a solid beer, and something I’d like to play with more. Oh, Rockit Cup, you always make my day.

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