Batch #10-09: IPA Bitter

Style IPA Bitter
Ingredients Muntons IPA Bitter Extract Kit
Brewing Date: Thursday, September 24, 09
Primary Fermentation: Thursday, September 24, 09
Original Gravity: 1.032
Secondary Fermentation: n/a
Bottling Date: Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Final Gravity: 1.012
Release Date: Halloween Weekend: Friday, October 30, 09
Alcohol by volume: 3.1%
Final Release Name: The Bitter Bishipa of Hereford


This is the first batch using a malt extract kit from Muntons.  Because I had to radically reschedule the Pumpkin Ale, this batch will be the replacement for it.  So this is the final kit beer batch [sic] of the year (sorry Red Ale).

This batch will be timed for a Halloween release.  This is the overlapping batch between Red Ale and the upcoming Nutcracker Brown Ale.

24 Sep 2009 @ 10PM: Boiled the extract in 1 Gallon water, with 36 oz of corn sugar.  Cooled in an ice bath in the sink for 30 minutes.  Added to one gal cold water in the fermentation bucket, then topped off to 5.5 gallons.  Temperature was immediately 83 deg, so I pitched the yeast.  Using the swamp method for tonight, but once the ice maker in the fridge catches up, I will be using a reverse swamp method as an experiment.  I want to bring the fermentation bucket to under 65 degrees, so I will be periodically putting ice on the top of the bucket, and letting the melted water be absorbed by the towel and flow down the sides of the bucket. Not sure how it will work, but it’s worth a try.

25 Sep 2009  @ 8:30AM: Yeast is engaged and bubbling nicely.  Using my alternate low profile airlock (not the S-shape).  This is a very quiet airlock compared to the S-shape, but I can’t measure the time between bubble bursts the same way as I can with S-shape. This thing is constantly rising up and falling back down every second, or very close to it.  Still, all I care about is signs that the yeast is doing its job, and I have that.

I put half of my ice from the freezer on top of the bucket, the remainder in the water in the bin where the bucket sits.  I’ll see how well the towel absorbs the cold water as it melts, and whether it will wick downward to the dry areas of the towel.

29 Sep 2009 @ 6:30AM: The bubbling has slowed down a lot.  The ice has been doing OK, but the bucket is honestly not that much cooler.  Plan on taking a hydrometer reading this evening.

29 Sep 2009 @ 11:00PM: Bubbling is at a near standstill–over 2 minutes before the airlock releases a bubble.  Took a hydrometer reading.

30 Sep 2009 @ 10:00PM: Hydrometer reading was stable as expected, so I bottled.  The batch produced 56 12oz bottles, and three 24oz bottles.  For priming, I used 3/4 cup of corn sugar diluted in water directly in the bottling bucket, then siphoned the beer into the bucket.

One note on bottles: I store my bottles in some wooden crates in the garage between reuse.  Some of the bottles tended to build up a mold from the yeast over a few weeks, which is hard to remove once it dries out.  I have found the best way to deal with this is to keep a plastic container with water, with 4 tablespoons of bleach per gallon.  A used, gallon milk jug works nicely.

As I move empty bottles to the storage area, I fill each bottle with about 1 inch of this water.  About two days before bottling time, I top off all the bottles to 1 inch with the same solution.  Then on bottling day, I just shake the bottle, drain it, and put it in the dishwasher.  I have found that the dishwasher needs this head start to break loose the build-up and properly sanitize the bottles.