Whiskey barrel aged rye IPA
Typically I start my homebrew season off by brewing a pumpkin ale. This year the warmth of summer wanted to hang around (it’s January now and mid 60’s still), so I was late with the first brew. My mind tells me that pumpkin beers are best in October and November. Not so after Thanksgiving. But that’s just my mind talking, not my taste buds. I know I’ve enjoyed homebrew pumpkin ales around my birthday, which is the end of January. Since I was late brewing and knew it wouldn’t be ready until after Thanksgiving, I diverted from the norm of the pumpkin ale. The other factor in this first brew was the gift of a loaner from Gratis Brewing, a whiskey barrel.
Just knowing I had an empty whiskey barrel in the brew cellar (a closet), had me itching to fill it. Gratis Brewing had allowed me to brew an oatmeal stout on their system, so that style is out of the question. So what’s the next best style? A double IPA! A nice hoppy, maybe slightly spicy IPA aged on whiskey sounds great.
My first attempt at an IPA was good, but it was mildly hopped with all citrus hops. Something that didn’t sound appealing to me being aged on whiskey. So I went recipe building using Beer Smith 2.0. Choosing earthy hops and rye malt should create a beer that blends well. Rye tends to add a subtle spice to the taste which just sounds great with smooth herbal earthy hops. But it’ll need lots of hop bitterness to balance out the potential for a big whiskey booze.
I attempted an all grain brew with a SG of 1.074 and IBUs at 91. Looking at the grain bill just now and seeing only 12 pounds of grains and two pounds of Belgian sugar might explain why I missed my SG by 0.010, coming in at 1.064. But that might all come out in the wash as the yeast attenuated well below the calculated 1.017. It came out of secondary at 1.004 and went into the barrel at that. Obviously there is a hint of sugar left, but not enough to go anywhere right? Guess again, the hydrometer floated around the 0.996 and 1.001 marks while it was going into the bottling bucket. Since the temperature was around 70 +\- 2, we’ll call it 1.001 FG. Giving us an ABV 0f 8.25%. The IBU should still be around 90, but I don’t get it at all with the huge whiskey nose, which stays on the tip of the tongue and slowly dies on the back. Thus hiding all bitterness to me on the first tastes.
I’m in awe at how clear the beer actually came out. I’ve only had a beer that clear once in my now two years of brewing. It even stayed clear out of the barrel, just took a slightly deeper shade of copper. One of the biggest factors on the clarity probably came from the first attempt at a chilled wort chiller. I wrapped up a good 10 – 12 feet of water hose in a large bucket and filled it with ice. Cooler water going into the wort chiller creates better heat extraction from the copper tubing. I dropped the temp from 212 to 80 in roughly 25 minutes. After wasting some time spraying off my car with the exit water, I removed the hose from the ice and placed the kettle with the lid on into the ice bucket. Bringing it quickly down to 68, as the water was keeping the wort stable at 78 and it was only the end of October. So the ground wasn’t much help with wort chilling. 45 minutes after end of boil I was pitching yeast.
It’s now mid January and I’m sure you all are curious what else I’ve brewed. Just a stout is all, sitting in primary and ready to rack more than likely. Why rack a stout some say? Because this was brewed with lactose and cacao nibs. So we need to clean the wort of the nibs if any are left. Plus I’m going to add another half pounds of nibs via hop sack along with some Jittery Joe‘s Wake n Bake coffee while in secondary. Yes, your addition is right. Lactose + cacao nibs + coffee comes might close to Depth Charge quota. This is a slight variance from Spike’s (co-founder of Terrapin Beer Co.) real Wake n Bake recipe shared via Can You Brew It podcast. I could try to match it up with actual Depth Charge coffee, but I prefer WnB > DC. The rest is mine to enjoy on Saturday mornings. If I had a near pound of Jittery Joe’s espresso beans I’d get way too much done around here.
Until next time… Pints UP!