Saturday, 17 September 2011


This is a seriously hoppy, seriously strong American-style IPA.  It's called HONK! because it's going to absolutely reek of hops.  Lovely.

This is another self-devised brew, rather than follow someone else's recipe, but I got my inspiriation for the hops schedule from a recipe I read for Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, which had Chinook hops for bittering, then combinations of Centennial and Cascade late on in the boil, and then some for aroma after the boil.  I've also thrown in some  Nelson Sauvin in the aroma hops, and in dry-hopping.

6500g Maris Otter Pale Malt
250g Carapils
100g Torrified Wheat

Mash with 18.5L at 65C for 90 minutes, then sparge with 17L at 70C - 77C.  I treated the mash/sparge liquor by boiling for a few minutes with 14.5g Gypsum and then 1.5 Epsom Salts once the boil had finished.

75 minute boil schedule:
30g Chinook [12.7%] - 75 mins
30g Cascade [7.6%] - 15 mins
20g Centennial [8.6%] - 15 mins
1tsp Irish Moss - 10 mins
30g Cascade [7.6%] - 2 mins
20g Centennial [8.6%] - 2 mins

After boil:

42g Cascade [7.6%] - 60 min steep
37g Centennial [8.6%] - 60 min steep
45g Nelson Sauvin [13%] - 60 min steep

Dry Hops:
40g Nelson Sauvin [13%] (see below for details)

The uneven numbers of the aroma hops are just because those were the exact amount I had left of each one - I just threw in what I had.

I ended up with 24L of lovely pale-golden wort going into the fermenter with a head-cracking OG of 1.068 - higher than the 1.064 I was expecting.  Not for the first time, this leads me to believe that my mash efficiency is more like 80% than 75%.

I pitched a 1.7 litre starter of Fermentis Safale US-05 - one packet of yeast into 1.7 litres of wort made with 170g of Munton's "Beer Kit Enhancer".  This was the last of my BKE and I shalln't be buying any more to make starters with - it'll be dry malt extract from now.

However, the fermentation didn't kick off at all, despite the yeast starter being active and vigourous.  Perhaps the wort was too hot when I pitched the yeast? Three days later there was no activity, so, worried about the possibility of infection, I pitched a dry sachet of US-05, and it was up and running within a couple of hours.

US-05 is known to be a high-attenuating yeast, meaning that it converts a lot of the sugars present in the wort into alcohol.  Also, I deliberately mashed at a lower temperature than I usually would, to get a higher proportion of fermentable sugars in the wort.  Both of those combined with a high OG could lead to an exceptionally alcoholic brew!  I intended it to be strong, but possibly not quite this strong.


Three days after pitching the second batch of yeast the gravity was down to 1.041.  I shall be adding the dry-hops today.  Updates later!



  1. Hey Matt

    In the picture of your mash ( the one with the thermometer in it ) it looks as if the pot is quite full. Going by the amount of grain and the 18.5 ltrs of water, the pot looks quite full. I thought it would be more like 2/3 full. Do you use your 33 ltr pot for mashing or a different one?

    Cheers Tom

  2. Hi Tom,

    I do mash in the 33L pot, and it does look quite full there, you're right. Not sure what volume of liquid 6.85Kg of grain would displace, but that would account for some of it.

    The angle I took the photo from might contribute, too.

    I've certainly never had any difficulty fitting the mash into the pot, and I've done larger mashes in the past than that one.