Brew Day: What Hop Shortage?

Posted on 04.08.08 7:35PM under Aimée, All-Grain, Angus, Brewing, Hops, IPA

For the first time since February 15th, I made some beer at home today. It’s just amazing how a baby can really eat up all your time that you used to have for things like brewing! Actually, it’s pretty amazing that I was able to brew today, just barely two weeks after the arrival of Angus. It was a real sacrifice by Aimée to have me brewing today, since it takes all day, and that leaves her with the pack all to herself. Not to mention that this is all for beer. Obviously, I could just go to the store and buy two cases of IIPA and two cases of a small IPA. But she’s nice enough to understand that I’d much rather make it.

I did a partigyle brew day. In order to make a 1.088 IIPA, I needed about 18 pounds of grain. I can mash 11 pounds in my five gallon cooler mash tun if I want to use a 3:1 mash (that’s 1.44 quarts per pound). I can squeeze 14 pounds in there if I want to use a lower ratio (1 quart per pound), but that’s a thick mash. I could use DME, corn sugar, or other adjunct fermentables to make up the difference, but a) it’s nice to make an all-grain beer, and b) it’s fun to do a partigyle.

What’s a Partigyle? 
Let me take a step back. Partigyle means making two beers from the same mash. Traditionally, a large mash would have been used to make a big beer and a small beer. The first runnings from the mash would have made the big beer and the second runnings would have made the small beer.

Since I need more than one mash worth of grain to make my beer, I just do two mashes. From each mash I take three gallons (essentially the first runnings) for the big beer and then three gallons (just about all the rest I can get out of the grains) for the small beer. I do this twice, and get two six gallon boils. If I were to just take the three gallons out of each mash, I’d be leaving a lot of sugars in the grains, so I might as well collect them and use them.

What’s a “Small IPA”?
According to BJCP 2008, an IPA is OG 1.056-1.075, SRM 6.0-15.0, IBU 40.0-70.0. I did this “Small IPA” idea before, with PostNatal IPA-Style Beer. I made a beer with an IPA flavor profile (i.e. a lot of hops) but a low alcohol. I was after the same idea here. Today I made OG 1.030, SRM 6.7, IBU 45.2 “Small IPA”. I like to call this SIPA.

It is likely to be pretty dry, with an expected FG of 1.006. But I used an absurd amount of hops in it, with 1.5 oz. Willamette at flameout. Plus another 0.75 oz. Centennial for dry hopping in a week or so. All in all 3.75 oz. of hops for a five gallon batch of 1.030 beer! Might be too much, but we’ll see how it comes out. Having a 3% ABV beer around is nice sometimes.

Now, what about the Imperial IPA?
The main point of the whole day was to make an Imperial IPA. My target was OG 1.088, SRM 6.7, IBU 84.2. I didn’t get as much as I thought I could out of those first three gallons of wort, and I ended up with OG 1.078. That means it should finish at around 8.5% ABV instead of my intended 9.5% ABV. Oh well. SRM is unchanged (although I think that the IIPA is darker than 6.7, and the SIPA is lighter than that, just based on looking at it – I didn’t actually measure SRM). However, hop utilization is decreased at higher specific gravity. The converse of that is hop utilization is increased at lower specific gravity. In other words, I ended up with 91.1 IBU.

This one has two ounces of Willamettes at flameout and one ounce of Centennial for dry hopping, for a total of 7.5 oz. of hops in the five gallon batch. What hop shortage?

For past partigyles, I’ve made two totally different beers on the brew day. Normally I make a totally experimental beer for the small beer, like Wormwood or Fraser Fir beer. Today, I made two similar beers. It’s interesting to see the ratio of the gravities for the two worts. I even used similar hop schedules. I toned down the hops a lot for the small beer, but used the same varieties in similar ratios at the same points in the process. I think it will be interesting to see how the two compare to each other. Obviously the IIPA will be a lot more intense, but how will the idea hold up in the SIPA?

Read Comments

  1. Posted by Boak on 04.13.08 5:37 AM

    We haven’t tried parti-gyle, but often thought about it. It doesn’t sound too complicated and I don’t think it would add too much stress to brewday – but perhaps you can advise on hidden annoyances that we won’t have considered?

  2. Posted by Keith Brainard on 04.13.08 6:08 AM

    It’s easy to oversparge for the small beer, since you’ll be using the end of the mash. So try to make sure you don’t take too much volume off the second runnings. Just measure your wort runoff gravity and make sure you stay above 2° P or 1.008 SG. The flip side is that you’ll never oversparge the big first runnings beer.

    The other thing is managing the boil, specifically cooling the wort. With only one immersion chiller, this is a bottleneck in the process. Stagger starting your two boils by a half an hour or so. You could also boil one batch for less time. As long as you have plenty of time to get the first one chilled and pitched before the second one is ready to get chilled, you’ll be OK.

    It’s fun and worth a try.

  3. Posted by Drug Intervention on 03.07.09 9:29 AM

    I think what we’ll see in the short term this year, is less big, hoppy Imperial IPAs. Brewers may stick to more lightly hopped beers, even here in the hop crazy NW. I think that many of us would have no issues paying more money for our hoppy beers….I’m sure not going to stop drinking IPAs if they go up in price by $1/bottle. I won’t pretend to know how this will affect local brewers. But, it seems that it may hurt Redhook/Pyramid/New Belgium types more than Big Time/Maritime/Elliott Bay types of brewpubs.

    Another major issue not addressed in Dan’s article is the effect of this shortage on homebrewers. Who know what will be available to brew with and how much it will cost. As a hobby, homebrewing could get a lot more expensive in the near future. I don’t think that will stop any of us from brewing though….