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Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA Extract Recipe

Without a doubt my favorite beer of all time is Dogfish Head’s 90 Minute IPA. 9% abv and 90 IBUs. Perfection.

To find a bottle of this beer I currently have to drive at least six hours to get to a state where it is distributed, so I decided to try brewing an extract version of this beer last weekend to see if I could make some for myself. There are a couple of recipes for this beer out there online, but they are mostly partial-mash and all-grain recipes. I was able to find one beer recipe that converted the partial mash into an extract recipe, so I went with their recommendations.

Finding an Extract Recipe
The ingredients called for in the extract procedure that I found required all dry malt extract (DME) for the boil, with a few pounds of crushed grain being steeped at the start. There was some controversy online about what type of malt to use – pilsener? Light? When I went down to the local home brewing store that was solved for me – they were wiped out of DME. Not ideal. I could have driven across town to a different brew store, or I could have ordered some online, but with a baby due any day now I wanted to get the brew done. The original recipe called for 8 pounds of DME, but I ended up with 9.15 pounds of liquid malt extract (LME), which is less efficient than its dry counterpart, and a pound of DME. The liquid extract does not produce as much fermentable sugar as the dry, but I was not sure what the exact conversion was at the time. The amount of specialty grains being steeped is pretty huge compared to what I usually use, so I was hoping that would also compensate some.

This is what I ended up brewing with. The expected original gravity of the beer was said to be between 1.080 and 1.088. The batch I made came out at 1.072. Oops. I am guessing that this would have come out closer to the expected gravity if I had used all DME instead of LME. The beer will be less alcoholic than it is supposed to be, but we will see how the flavor compares.

Here is the procedure I ended up using to brew the extract clone of Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA:

Ingredients (5 gallon batch):
Grains
1.5 pounds of crushed 2-Row Malt (steeped)
1.7 pounds of crushed Amber Malt (steeped)
9.15 pounds of Gold LME
1.0 pound of Golden Light DME

Hops
2 oz Amarillo
1 oz Simcoe
1/2 oz Warrior

Dry Hops
1 oz Amarillo
1/2 oz Simcoe
1/2 oz Warrior

Yeast
Wyeast 1099 (Whitbread Ale)

Other
1 tsp Irish Moss

Procedure

-A day ahead of time begin a yeast starter. Usually it is recommended that you create a 2 Liter yeast starter for expected original gravity of 1.080 or higher, which I did. This used 1 cup of golden light DME and 4 cups of water to create some “wort” for the yeast to begin working on so that it could multiply and be ready for the heavy-duty wort it would have to ferment after the brew. I also used a stir plate for the first time to encourage even more growth of the yeast, and I loved it!

-Steep 1.5 pounds of 2-Row grain and 1.7 pounds of Amber grain (27°L) at 150°F for 20 minutes.

-Bring to boil and add 9.15 pounds of Gold LME and 1.o pound of Golden Light DME.

-Boil for 20 minutes before adding hops. This helps to rid the wort of extra proteins that hinder hop utilization, so hops will be used more efficiently when they are added.

-Mix all of the boiling hops together. Start the 90 minute boil, and add the mixed hops evenly throughout the boil. Dogfish Head has a shaker set up to continuously add hops throughout the 90 minutes. What I found recommended, and what I did, is to add 1/4 oz of hops every 8 minutes throughout the 90 minute boil. This works well.

-Add 1 tsp of Irish Moss with 15 minutes remaining in the boil.

-Cool the wort as rapidly as possible. For a five gallon batch it is easiest to do this with an immersion wort chiller. An ice bath can work but is not recommended because it is inefficient and can cause side effects such as off-flavors in the beer because of this.

-Place in primary fermentor 1-2 weeks, until fermentation stops. (It has been bubbling like crazy for three days as I write this).

-Transfer to secondary fermentor and add dry hops for 5-7 days.

Thoughts After Brewing
It is obvious that there are improvements that can be made to this recipe. I was short on time and wanted to give it a shot, so we’ll see how the above procedure comes through. Once I try the beer I will come back and update this post.

Update: Thoughts on the Finished Product
We left this beer in the primary fermentor for two weeks and then racked it to a secondary fermentor for what ended up being three weeks. The dry hops were in the secondary for about five days, I think (it’s all a little fuzzy because we had a couple-day-old newborn in the house by then).

For the first few weeks after bottling I was worried. After two weeks of bottle conditioning I tried one, knowing that it would probably still be a little green, but the aroma of the beer was awful. I was very worried that there was some type of infection in the beer. If you have tried the real 90 Minute IPA you know that it has an almost sweet aroma. The way most avid beer drinkers describe it, and I apologize if you have not heard this before since you will think of it every time you drink the beer, is the aroma of cat urine. That is the smell that the hop style is supposed to give the beer though, so that is a good thing. This beer did not smell like that. It smelled like garbage. I gave it a try anyway and the taste was actually pretty decent.

I had a friend try a different bottle of it on the same day and he had the same results. I saw some potential in it and I didn’t taste any off-flavors so I decided to wait a little longer to see what would happen.

Now, a month on, the beer is fantastic. It does not quite have the same potency of the real thing, which is expected since I did not convert the measurements for the malt extract precisely. It also lacks a little bit of the aroma out of the glass. I think this might have something to do with the duration of the dry hopping. I have read all kinds of ideas about how long to dry hop: one day, three days, five days, seven days….I will just have to try some different durations in the future.

The taste of this clone is awesome. You can tell that it is not the real thing but you can also tell that it is close. I will try a few tweaks on the ingredients in the future and probably get it closer. It would probably be easier to achieve the exact flavor by brewing it all-grain or partial-mash, but I have some satisfaction from making a pretty good clone using extract brewing methods 🙂

Do you have any recommendations for improving this extract clone of Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA?

Why the Blichmann BoilerMaker is Amazing

It is amazing what can be achieved with a little home brewing ingenuity. When I brew beer I have several separate pieces of equipment that I use: a brew kettle, a thermometer, a racking cane, and a mesh strainer. What stands out about these pieces of equipment is that you can buy a brew kettle that has all of these home brewing tools built right in.
Blichmann Boilermaker
The Blichmann BoilerMaker series is a set of brewing kettles that come standard with a thermometer, a ball valve and draw tube, and a sight glass, and you can easily attach the Blichmann HopBlocker to get rid of most hop residue without a mesh strainer. This is amazing! So many fewer instruments to clean and store separately!

Blichmann HopBlocker

The BoilerMaker series comes in sizes ranging from 10 gallons to 55 gallons, so if you are thinking about taking your beer brewing a little more seriously I would recommend considering a BoilerMaker. Blichmann is already the ubiquitous name in home brewing equipment anyway, so you know you are getting good quality.
What do you use for a brew kettle? Are you thinking about upgrading soon?

What is Irish Moss? And What Are Whirlfloc Tablets?

When you look through beer recipes you may notice an ingredient called “Irish Moss.” If you are not familiar with it you may wonder why you would add such  a thing to your beer.

Irish Moss

Irish Moss is actually derived from a type of seaweed that is mostly found near Ireland. It is used to help produce a more clear beer. While some beer styles, such as wheat beers, are supposed to have some haze to them, most are not. For home brewers, though, haze is fairly common. This haze is usually caused by proteins in the beer that clump up, especially when the beer is cooled, thus it is known as “chill haze.”

When you are brewing beer you can prevent chill haze and overall haziness by cooling the wort very rapidly after the boil. This is usually accomplished using a wort chiller, which you can find at your local home brewing store. An ice bath will not usually cool beer quickly enough. The rapid cooling causes what is known as the “cold break,” where many of the proteins flocculate, or clump up, and settle out of the wort.

In addition to rapidly cooling the wort, haze can also be prevented by adding a “fining agent,” or a substance that causes proteins to flocculate. Irish Moss is a substance that will do this. One teaspoon of Irish Moss is added for every five gallons of wort fifteen minutes prior to the end of the boil. Irish Moss can be found at just about any home brewing supply store.

An alternative to Irish Moss is a Whirlfloc tablet. These tablets are an enhanced form of Irish Moss and a substance called carrageenan, which is derived from red seaweed. These tablets come in an easier-to-measure form (one tablet for ten gallons, half a tablets for five gallons) and are added just five minutes before the end of the brew (if they are in the wort for more than ten minutes they will actually not work as well).

Whirlfloc Tablets

If your intention is clear beer there is a variety of options to achieve it. What methods do you use to clarify your beer?

Using Carbonation Capsules for Bottling Beer

You know when you’re getting ready to bottle that beer that you brewed a couple weeks, or even a couple months ago? The one that you have been thinking about each day and can NOT wait to try? What are you going to do in a couple of weeks when you go to drink your first bottle (finally!) and you realize that the carbonation is completely off? Maybe the priming sugar was not sufficiently mixed, or maybe the proportions were completely wrong. After months of waiting you end up with a beer that is less than spectacular.

Five out of the last six times that I bottled beer I forgot to add the priming sugar before racking the beer into the bottling bucket. On most of these occasions I remembered in the middle of racking and I poured the priming solution into the beer as it was being siphoned into the bucket. I did this at risk of introducing more oxygen into the beer (and thus oxidation off-flavors, which some of them did end up with). One of these times I even got most of the bottles capped before realizing that the priming sugar was not in there, and I had to go back, un-cap the bottles, and measure out priming sugar for each individual bottle. What a pain!

This morning I was browsing around the internet and found an interesting carbonating product, little drops that you simply drop into each bottle before capping and they will carbonate the bottle for you. They are already proportioned with the right amount sugar to carbonate each bottle with consistency. You don’t have to measure and mix the sugar yourself, and then remember to add it before racking the beer!

Prime Dose Carbonation Capsules

You can order Carbonation Drops online through Amazon by Clicking Here.

Have you tried nything similar? What are your thoughts about it?

New Brewing Innovations: The Blichmann BoilCoil

There are some pretty interesting home brewing equipment innovations being released in 2014. One of them is the Blichmann Engineering “BoilCoil.”

The BoilCoil is an electric heating system designed specifically to be added to brew kettles for heating wort. Electric heating has always been desirable for many brewers, because it frees you from the stove top but does not require the use of gas, but it has not been very easy to pull off for most people. Blichmann is now making electric brewing feasible for the average brewer.

Your first instinct might be to wonder whether a system like this would scorch the wort as it heated up, but Blichmann has designed the coil to have a large enough surface area that this is not a problem. The BoilCoil is sized to run along the perimeter of the boil kettle, so it actually gets a convection current going as it heats, keeping the wort from burning and also helping to prevent the buildup of compounds such as dimethyl sulfide.

The power plug for the Blichmann BoilCoil is removable, which makes cleaning easier, and installation of the device simply requires two 5/8-inch holes be drilled into your kettle.

Check out this video from Beer Geek Nation interviewing a representative from Blichmann Engineering at the 2013 National Homebrewers Conference expo about the BoilCoil:

The BoilCoil is available in March of 2014. Finalized pricing isn’t out there yet, but as you saw in the video above they were expecting the BoilCoil to sell between $125 and $200, depending on the size you choose (based on the size of your brew kettle).

Update: You can increase your home brewer awesome factor even further with a controller like this one to control the rate of boil using a BoilCoil or similar product.

Do you plan to incorporate a Blichmann BoilCoil into your home brewing equipment setup?

Three Gifts that the Beer Nerd In Your Life Will Love

Is there a beer nerd in your life? Not even necessarily a home brewer, but somebody who just really likes beer and can tell you anything you would ever want to know about each style of beer? When you are looking for a gift for a beer nerd (maybe even for yourself!) what should you get them?

Beer Glasses

The beer geek can not have too many different styles of beer glasses. There are different glass designs for varying styles of beer, there are come glasses that are made to enhance the flavor of beer, there are some glasses that insulate the beer from warming up in your hands, and there are beer glasses that just look cool!

Periodic Table of Beer

There are many different poster designs for a “Periodic Table of Beer,” like This One. What beer geek’s collection would be complete without one?

Growlers


Craft beer nerds love growlers! I personally have over a dozen of them (no kidding). If you love craft beer and microbreweries a growler might be the only way you can drink their beer at home (smaller microbreweries only do growler-fills, they don’t bottle the beer for sale). These fancy growlers above will let everybody know that you are a serious beer connoisseur!

Top 5 Gifts for Home Brewing Geeks

When you are looking for a gift for a home brewer there are many ways you can go – basic supplies, equipment upgrades, ingredient kits. Sometimes the person you are shopping for is a true home brewing geek, though. The type of person who wants to know the mineral composition of the water they are using and the Beta acid percentages in their hops. What kind of gifts do you get a home brewing geek like this?

Refractometer 


Want to know the alcohol content of your beer and determine whether fermentation has completed using only two or three drops of liquid (rather than a whole test tube full)? A refractometer will do the job, and it will do so with accuracy for only about $30.

Water Testing Kit


Water is super important to beer making – come on, it’s the main ingredient! Having good water is essential to making great beer, but how do you know how great your water is? With a water testing kit! You can find a regular version for about $100 and an even more advanced version, which will additionally test pH electronically, for around $170.

Oxygenation Kit

Dissolved oxygen in wort makes yeast much happier, increasing the speed of fermentation and the health of the yeast as well as improving the degree to which the fermentation takes place. An oxygenation kit will get that dissolved oxygen into your fermenting beer and improve the finished product for about $50.  An oxygenation kit also requires a disposable oxygen tank from your local hardware store.

Hops Book


The key to designing great beers is to have great command over each ingredient’s characteristics and how it is used in the beer. Altering the type and amount of hops in a beer will change the flavor greatly, so help the home brewer in your life understand hops better with this book by one of the masters of great beer brewing, Stan Hieronymus!

Burner


Release a home brewer from his or her dependence on the kitchen stove! A floor burner allows you to brew outside so that the house doesn’t heat up and then smell like wort for three days after brewing. These burners are highly efficient and will speed up the time required to brew beer.

Fermentors: Glass vs. Plastic

Historically glass has been seen as a better material for fermentors because it does not “breathe,” or allow oxygen to pass through.

Oxygen permeating the vessel can cause an oxidized off-flavor in the beer, which is not desirable.

This is less of a concern during primary fermentation because the fermentation process fills any open space in the vessel with carbon dioxide, blocking out oxygen.

If the beer is transferred into a secondary fermentor to help improve beer clarity after fermentation is complete oxidation can be more of a concern.

In recent times better plastics have been used in the production of plastic carboys, meaning it is possible to buy a plastic fermentation vessel that will prevent oxygen permeation just as well as a glass vessel. Carboys like the Better Bottle have these characteristics.

Given that there are now both glass and plastic vessels that will adequately block oxygen from your beer, what are the pros and cons of each type of vessel?

The Benefits of Glass Carboys

Glass fermentation vessels have many benefits. In addition to being impermeable to oxygen they are theoretically easy to clean and sanitize and will not pick up the odor of their contents. Glass carboys are also very difficult to scratch when cleaning, and they will not deform when you pick them up.

The Problems With Glass Fermentors

If glass carboys have a major downside it is that they are heavy and they can shatter. As if five or six gallons of beer isn’t heavy enough, you have to haul around a few extra pounds of glass. Carboy handles (which you have to buy separately) only make them slightly less awkward to carry than they already are.

Additionally, let’s face it: glass carboys are actually a nightmare to clean. While they can be cleaned more vigorously than a plastic carboy, their narrow mouths make it almost impossible to get at every nook and cranny inside.

The Benefits of Plastic Carboys

The biggest reasons to buy a plastic carboy fermentor are its resistance to shattering, light weight, and the availability of different shapes.

Where the glass carboys have a weakness, the plastic carboys have a strength. If you knock one of these vessels against a granite countertop while setting up a transfer into a bottling bucket it will not break and ruin all of the beer.

The weight of a plastic carboy is dramatically lower than with glass. In fact, plastic carboys weigh roughly 80 percent less than their glass counterparts.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, plastic carboys can be manufactured with an extra-wide mouth to dramatically lessen the burden of cleaning them. Examples like the Big Mouth Bubbler have revolutionized fermentors in recent years.

The Problems with Plastic Fermentors

Plastic can scratch, allowing bacteria to hide and grow inside, and infect beer. That is the number one concern with plastic carboys. Also, they will deform a little bit if you pick them up while full, which shouldn’t cause too much of a problem but can throw things off balance.

As long as you are using a brewing-specific PET plastic carboy, as opposed to an empty that you took from the office water cooler, oxygen permeation should not be a problem.

What kind of fermentation vessel do you use? What has been your experience with it?

Food Made With Beer Brewing Ingredients

Did you know that there are all kinds of foods that you can make from beer brewing ingredients? It’s true. Stop by your local home brewing supply store and there is a good chance you will find product like hop candy or energy bars made from malt. You can even make your own foods using home brewing ingredients that are left over after the brew. Let’s take a look at a few of these foods.

Hop Candy

Hop Candy

My wife is a hop-head, so one of the main ways that she has survived being pregnant without going through IPA withdrawals is to have an occasional hop candy from B-Hoppy. These are excellent little hard candies made with hop oils, and they taste just like a hoppy beer! You can find them in the flavors of Cascade hops, Saaz Hops, and East Kent Golding hops.

Brubars

Looking for an energy bar with a malty flavor? Brubars are made with barley malt so that they can give you the sugars you need for energy without making the bar overly sweet. They are all-natural and vegan, and by the nature of their ingredients they stay nice and soft so they are easy to eat and do not freeze as much as other bars in cold weather. These bars come in four different flavors, including Original Malt, Cherry Almond, Apricot, and Oatmeal Raisin.

Brubar Energy Bars

Spent Grain Foods

If you are home brewing beer you are bound to have some grains left over at the end of the process that were simply exposed to water during the brew but are no longer needed for the brewing process. These are called “spent grains,” and there are many things that you can do with them. You can make great baked products like scones, cakes, and brownies, or you can even make dog treats. Find some recipes for spent grain products at the Brooklyn Brewshop “Spent Grain Chef” blog.

Do you have a favorite food made with beer brewing ingredients? Tell us about it in the comments below!