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Brew #4 - Amarillo Citra Magnum IPA. 3 hops in 1 beer oh my!

It was time to step up our game for brew #4. But deciding what to brew next was the real challenge. During lockdown we have been brewing every 2 weeks so although this is our 3rd all-grain brew (4th brew overall), we had yet to try any of our completed all-grain beers. Brewing requires so much patience! After searching homebrewtalk.com and other brewing forums we decided to alter our current IPA recipe by adding more hops. Everyone said Amarillo was worth a try with its grapefruit flavours, while Magnum was brilliant for adding bitterness. So we decided to adjust our trusty Citra SMaSH IPA recipe with the addition of Amarillo and Magnum. The plan was to use Magnum for bittering and the Amarillo and Citra hops for flavour and aroma.



Check out our Citra SMaSH IPA (Brew #2) and Simcoe SMaSH IPA (Brew #3).


We needed to determine what ratio to use Amarillo and Citra hops for flavouring. So we made some hop teas to decide which one we preferred. We sampled a 2:1, 1:1 and 1:2 ratio of the two hops. The 2:1 Amarillo:Citra ratio was the winner!


Our Amarillo Citra IPA recipe:


Method: All-grain BIAB

Batch size: 10 litres


Estimated OG: 1.066

Estimated FG: 1.018

Estimated ABV: 6.3%

Estimated IBU (Tinseth): 81.4


Malt:

2.7 kg Maris Otter Crisp (Extra Pale)


Hops: 90 min hop boil

  • 60 mins, 14 g Magnum whole leaf (11% AA)

  • 30 mins, 10 g Amarillo whole leaf (8.48% AA)

  • 30 mins, 5 g Citra whole leaf (12.86% AA)

  • 20 mins, 10 g Amarillo whole leaf (8.48% AA)

  • 20 mins, 5 g Citra whole leaf (12.86% AA)

  • 10 mins, 10 g Amarillo whole leaf (8.48% AA)

  • 10 mins, 5 g Citra whole leaf (12.86% AA)

  • Dry hop for 3 days, 20 g Amarillo whole leaf (8.48% AA)

  • Dry hop for 3 days, 10 g Citra whole leaf (12.86% AA)


Yeast:

White labs WLP041


Finings:

1/2 tsp Irish Moss at 15 mins remaining of the hop boil


We were trying to keep the recipe as consistent as possible but we did change a few things to improve it.


Recipe tweaks:

  • We are adding a mash out step. So after mashing our grains for 1 hour at 66°C, we will then continue to heat the mash until it hits 76°C. This apparently halts the enzyme activity and makes sparaging easier.

  • Adding Irish moss in the last 15 mins of the hop boil to improve clarity.

  • Different hops but the same quantity will be used in the beer overall. We decided not to match the hop alpha acids profiles (i.e. bitterness) from our previous brews because we were aiming for a less bitter IPA.


Brew day - 16/05/20

Every brew day requires a brew day tipple. Today's was Work from Forest Road Brewery, based in London Fields. A lovely IPA!



We started brew day by mashing the grains in 7 litres of water at 66°C for 1 hour. The temperature got a tad high so we added 500 ml water to cool it down. After the mash we heated to 75°C for a mash out, then sparged with 7.5 litres and got the hop boil on.


We did a 90 min hop boil with 4 hop additions! We also added 2 litres of boiling water in the first 30 mins of the boil to increase our final volume of beer.


We added 1/2 tsp Irish Moss for clarity in the last 15 mins of the hop boil. Well that was the plan, we forgot and added it at 10 mins and added an extra 5 mins to the boil to make up for it.


Cooling took 3 hours rather than the usual 5 hours and we pitched our yeast and let fermentation take its hold. The increased cooling speed was due to changing the water repeatedly in the sink, before creating an ice bath, but our cooling process still needs work!


Hydrometer readings:

Expected OG: 1.066

Actual OG: 1.056 (that extra water really dilutes it)

I think if we want to hit the expected gravity and have a good final volume of beer we might need to increase the grain bill in our mash. Buying a bigger pot would also solve this but nah for now!


Fermentation:

We had so many warm days which meant this fermentation was way higher than normal. Swinging wildly from 22 to 25°C, which was a bit high, but at the moment we have no way of controlling the temperature.


Dry hopping - 27/05/20

11 days after brew day the beer was ready for dry hopping! The hydrometer reading hit 1.012 reading, suggesting that fermentation was complete.



So we bunged in our hops - 20 g Amarillo and 10g Citra. Our pre-dry hopping sip was lush. It was sweet, full of flavour and suitably less bitter beer than our last two IPAs. I think we are getting better at this whole homebrewing thing!


Bottling day - 30/05/20

After a 3 day dry hop, we took a final hydrometer reading and the gravity had stayed at 1.012, so the beer was ready to bottle. A solid 5.8% ABV!!!


We decided it was time to try and move away from carbonation drops and use dextrose sugar for priming our beers. So we needed to make a simple sugar syrup. Using multiple online calculators and looking through a brewing book I decided to go with adding 58 g dextrose sugar and dissolving it in 159 ml boiling water. We left the sugar syrup to cool fully in a bowl.


We added the sugar syrup to a bottling bucket (i.e. our spare fermentor), and used the siphon to slow add the beer to the bucket, careful to keep the siphon under the liquid as we filled to avoid adding unnecessary oxygen to the beer.



The bottling bucket made the whole bottling process so much easier because we did not need to worry about disturbing the trub (sediment at the bottom of the fermentor) while bottling our beer. We also noticed there was far less bubbling in bottles as we filled them.


Honestly this beer is probably the nicest smelling beer we have made so far. The grapefruit aroma came in strong following the dry hop and there was minimum bitterness which is just lovely. The pale colour looks incredible and the pre-carbonation taste was lush. Really excited to try this one.


We ended up with 25 bottles, between 330-355ml.




Beer day - 13/06/20

I was pretty excited to try this beer, especially as it was our first foray into hop combinations. Overall, I loved this beer. It had a light golden colour, with good carbonation and head retention. Not bad for our first ever try at carbonating with dextrose sugar rather than carbonation drops. There was a fruity citrus flavour, but I could not accurately pick out a specific fruit flavour. I was expecting the intense grapefruit hit that I smelt on bottling day, but it seems to have lost that or maybe the beer needs a little bit more time in the bottle. I will keep investigating! Picking hops with lower alpha acids was perfect and it made this beer much less bitter than our previous two brews. Check our Citra SMaSH IPA and the Simcoe SMaSH IPA!


This beer could be improved by adding more hop flavour, either by moving the hop additions later in the boil or adding more hops to the dry hop. I need to think about it but overall I am very pleased by this brew and we will be trying it again soon!





Tasting notes:

Colour: Light golden colour

Clarity: Clear with a slight haze, no sediment or floating debris

Taste: Citrus flavour, with mild bitterness

Smell: Fruity

Carbonation: Good carbonation with nice head retention

Alcohol level: 5.8%

Perceived alcohol level: Very sessionable, did not taste like it was 5.8%

Desirable: Yes

Would I pay money for it?: Yes

Rating: 3.75/5



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