IPA and Amber Ale Updates

A few odds-and-ends. . .

Fake Tire Amber Ale 1.1
This brew was transferred to the secondary on Sunday, February 12, after 8 days in the primary. The gravity at that time was 1.012, down from 1.050 (giving a current ABV of 5.0%). Unlike the first version of this recipe, I did not get an estery aroma out of the primary fermenter – maybe because I fermented at a slightly lower temperature?

Fake Tire 1.0

Fake Tire Amber Ale 1.0
The original version of this recipe has conditioned very, very nicely, and as a result I’ve been drinking it with some regularity. A few weeks back a friend and I did a blind taste-test with the commercial version of Fat Tire. My version is a little less bitter and just a shade darker. Otherwise, they’re quite similar. In some ways, I prefer my slightly less hoppy version; it will be interesting to see how version 1.1 varies.

Socks-Off IPA
On January 5, I transferred this IPA over to the secondary fermenter; the gravity at that time was 1.024. On January 19, I added 2 oz. of Northern Brewer hops pellets directly to the fermenter (no hop bag). I let this mixture dry-hop until February 12, when I bottled the brew. The final gravity was 1.021, yielding an ABV of 6.7%. I ended up with four 22-oz. bottles, 21 pint bottles, and 13 12-oz. bottles.

This is a solid IPA. It has a subtle hop aroma, and a clear, coppery hue. The flavor is appropriately bitter, but perhaps the only fault is that it is a shade on the sweet side.

Brewing Plans for the Rest of Winter 2012
Time is growing short, before the temperatures inch their way up too far. My summer ale is in the primary fermenter now, and I’m considering doing a wheat beer to close out the season. If that happens, it will have to be next weekend. Finally, I have five pounds of honey that I’m planning on turning into mead. My understanding is that you can ferment mead at a reasonably high temperature, so that will be my “anchor” for Winter 2012.

Socks-Off IPA

This IPA is so-named because it will “knock your socks off”, between the hops and the potential alcohol content. My wonderful spouse got me a “home-brewed” IPA kit from our local small brew store (i.e., one thrown together by the owner) for Christmas, so I decided to brew it up tonight, with a few minor modifications for what ingredients I had on hand and wanted to use up.

Socks-Off IPA

  • 0.66 lbs. Munich malt
  • 3.75 lbs. Pale Malt, Maris Otter
  • 3.3 lbs. Briess Amber Liquid Malt Extract
  • 3.3 lbs. Briess Golden Light Liquid Malt Extract
  • 3.3 lbs. Briess Bavarian Wheat Liquid Malt Extract
  • 3 oz. Cascade hops (whole)
  • 1 oz. Hallertauer hops (whole)
  • 1 oz. Sterling hops (whole)
  • 1 oz. Saaz hops (whole)
  • 1 tsp. Irish moss
  • 2 oz. Northern Brewer hops (pellets)
  • 1 package London Ale III yeast (Wyeast Labs #1318)


  • I heated 3 gallons of tap water to 154° F, and steeped the grains for one hour (between 154° and 156° F). Then, I sparged the grains with one gallon of water at roughly 160° F, to bring the total volume to 4 gallons (or just a little over).
  • After bringing the mixture to a boil, I turned off the heat and added the liquid malt extracts. Then, I heated the kettle back to a boil (again) and added the whole Cascade, Hallertauer, and Sterling hops.
  • After 45 minutes, I added 1 tsp. of Irish moss.
  • After 55 minutes, I added the Saaz hops.
  • After 60 minutes, I removed all of the hops and chilled the wort. Once it had gotten down to an appropriate temperature, I added the wort to my fermenter. The volume at this point was 3.5 gallons, so I topped up with cold tap water to roughly 5.25 gallons.
  • The temperature of the wort was 76° F. I pitched the yeast, sealed the lid, and let the yeast do its thing.
  • Starting gravity was 1.072 – right at the upper of end of the American IPA style. BeerSmith estimates the bitterness at 59.3 IBU, color at 11.7 SRM, and ABV at 7.1%. 
  • In a week or so, I’ll move the mixture over to my secondary fermenter, and add the Northern Brewer pellets for dry-hopping.

In other news, I’ve started using the BeerSmith software to formulate my recipes. The excellent reputation of the program is quite deserved – it’s flexible and friendly to extract brewers as well as all-grain brewers.