Monday, April 3, 2017

Australian NEIPA: Spunding, and Dry Yeast

Vic Secret hops floating in the wort right after adding.Another hoppy beer... another New England IPA! My goal for this batch was a bright hop-saturated fruit-bomb, or at least a beer to replace the terrible, oxidized mess of an IPA I had on tap! Luckily passivating my Ss BrewBucket Brewmaster with 5X-concentrated StarSan solution (as they suggest) before this batch was successful. Neither the stainless steel nor beer discolor as they did during the previous IPA fermentation. Now that I know the fermentor can produce good beer, I'll say that I like being able to monitor/control the beer temperature via the thermowell, but wish it had an 8 gallon capacity instead of 7. Despite a few drops of FermCap S I still had to clean krausen and hops out of the airlock a couple times during the first two days of fermentation.

Hops and yeast in the airlock 24 hours into fermentation.To make this batch as New-England-y as possible I selected two fruity Australian varieties, Galaxy and Vic Secret. I've found Galaxy to be one of the least consistent hops (Bad: Galaxy-Hopped DIPA, Good: Galaxy Wit), but thankfully these smelled wonderfully of passion fruit on opening. This was my first time brewing with Vic Secret, and they struck me as a slightly milder version of Galaxy with more herbal notes. I didn't realize until after brewing that this is the same combination of hops in Avery Raja.

My usual process for NEIPAs is to dry hop around day three/four and then again post-fermentation cold in the keg. For this batch I dry hopped on brew day when I pitched the yeast and again under pressure by racking the beer into a flushed keg when it reached 65% apparent attenuation. I set my spunding valve to 13 PSI and allowed the keg to sit warm for 12 days while I was in New Zealand. I would have aimed closer to 25 PSI, but the markings on the valve are unreliable and I wanted to minimize the risk of over-carbonation. Dry hopping during conditioning has two potential benefits for hoppy beers. First, by holding pressure in the beer less volatile hop aromatics will bubble out of solution (carried by the same CO2 that we want to carry them up to our nose from the glass). The yeast will also scavenge any oxygen introduced during kegging, hopefully extending the life of the beer (although the longer time warm could sacrifice hop aroma). You could accomplish the same goal without a spunding valve if you were confident in what your FG would be... .001 drop from fermentation produces .5 volumes of CO2.

Hop-heavy krausen on the BrewBucket lid at kegging.The last unique feature of the recipe was the SafAle S-04 English ale strain (Whitbread?). I'd heard good results things about S-04 in NEIPAs from Ed Coffey. I also wanted to see if it was an option for brewers without regular access to liquid yeasts. Happy to report it does a nice job, a suitable choice even if you have access to 1318, but don't want to make a starter. There are a few other dried English strains that might be worth trying as well!

The other half of the wort is fermenting with my house saison blend and 10 oz of rosemary honey, minus the dry hops for now.

Queensland NE-Australian-IPA

Smell – A wonderfully saturated hop aroma with tropical fruit and a bit of resin. Really pushes fermentation-adjusted aromatics without the more forceful/raw aromatics of a post-fermentation addition. Despite 8 oz of dry hops the aroma doesn’t leap out of the glass (could be yeast or hop variety).

Northeastern Austraian IPA!Appearance – Hazy without murk or particulate, not far from a pale hefeweizen. Head retention is alright, but not as dense or thick as some previous batches of NEIPA.

Taste – Bitterness is soft, closer to 40 IBUs than 70 on my palate. Nice long finish of saturated hoppy goodness: indistinct tropical and light fresh pine. Slight yeastiness and doughiness of fresh bread. All the flavors I want are there, but the hop volume is lower than I expected. No diacetyl or other noticeable off-flavors.

Mouthfeel – Really soft mouthfeel thanks to the mild bitterness and lack of harshness from boil hops. Chloride, protein from the oats, and higher FG all contribute as well. Moderate carbonation, still climbing a bit as it sits cold and on pressure.

Drinkability & Notes – New England IPA taken to its softest and juiciest. Easy to drink with enough hop character to bring me back for a second pour, but it isn’t as intense as my favorite batches. The S-04 performed admirably, although it seems to get in the way a bit compared to 1318. It doesn’t pop with a unique character like Conan or Sacch Trois either. A solid choice, but not a new first choice.

Changes for Next Time – Despite the 70 (calculated) IBUs from the hop-stand, it could use 10-20 IBUs from an early-boil charge. Bitterness is a much more complex topic than it seemed when I started brewing, my friend Scott Janish posted a great summary of recent literature discussing how dry hopping tends to pull beer towards 25 IBUs. I could certainly see jumping the cold/carbonated beer to a serving keg with a third dose of dry hops…

Spunding valve in action on a previous batch.Recipe

Batch Size: 6.00 gal
SRM: 3.6
IBU: 69.2
OG: 1.064
FG: 1.018
ABV: 6.0%
Brewhouse Efficiency: 74%
Boil Time: 60 Mins

71.4% - 10 lbs Rahr Brewer's 2-Row
14.3% - 2 lbs Dingemans Pilsen
14.3% - 2 lbs Bob's Red Mill Quick Steel Cut Oats

Sacch Rest: 45 min @ 156F

2.00 oz Galaxy (Pellets, 14.8% AA) @ 30 min Hop Stand
2.00 oz Vic Secret (Pellets, 17.8% AA) @ 30 min Hop Stand
4.00 oz Vic Secret (Pellets, 17.8% AA) @ Primary Dry Hop
4.00 oz Galaxy (Pellets, 14.8% AA) @ Conditioning Dry Hop

8 g Calcium Chloride @ Mash
5.5 g Gypsum @ Mash
1 tsp 10% Phosphoric Acid @ Mash
.5 Whirlfloc @ Boil 5 min
.5 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ Boil 5 min

SafAle S-04

Recipe scaled to be brewed as is.

Brewed 3/11/17

Mashed with 3 gallons distilled, 4.5 gallons DC filtered, 8 g CaCl 5.5 g gypsum, 1 tsp of phosphoric acid. pH 5.44. Sparged with 1.5 gallons distilled. Hops are 2016 harvest.

Collected 7 gallons of 1.060 wort.

Chilled to 68F.

Pitched 5.75 gallons of wort with S-04 directly (not rehydrated) plus 4 oz of Vic Secret, loose.

After 48 hours it reached 70F internal. Moved downstairs to 55 ambient to slow the yeast and help the hops drop out.

3/15/17 Kegged with with 4 oz of bagged/weighted Galaxy. Current gravity 1.022. Attached the spunding valve after purging and pressurizing the head-space.

3/27/17 Reached 13 PSI, FG 1.018. Chilled in kegerator and attached to CO2.

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Anonymous said...

As a former DC resident now living in Queensland..... I'm gonna have to make this beer! I may use TYB Funktown rather than Safale 04, but it's good to know that 04 is a good option (liquid yeast are a pain to get up here).

Lior said...

Recently I've made a session NEIPA using S-04 and lots of fruity hops (citra, mosaic, el dorado, galaxy, ekuanot and columbus). The beer came out a bit belgish, like a white ipa, I think it's because I've used pilsner malt as base malt and a lot of wheat malt, but maybe it's the yeast. Did you get and Belgian taste from it?

Anonymous said...

We have big problems with final beer ph using dry S-04, where did this finish?

Unknown said...

I would love to try this method. I assume you get more hopp flavour by keeping it under pressure? Personally i prefer wlp644 over the conan strain since my third generation of conan ended up at 89% attenuation, but I got a new vial for my last batch and I hope it will restore my faith in the yeast strain. Will be aiming for dryhopping under presdure for my next batch for dure

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

No phenolics or big ester character in this batch, but it is a bit "yeastier" than the other strains I've used in NEIPAs (WLP007, WY1318, Conan, and Trois).

Haven't taken a final pH reading on this one. I'll take a reading next time I have the meter out and calibrated.

This methods holds in more of the juicy/saturated hop aroma, but you sacrifice the raw "nose in the hop bag" character I achieve from adding dry hops to fully-fermented beer. I wouldn't say one is better than the other, different techniques for different results.

Unknown said...

Hey Mike, about to transfer to keg with spunding valve for first time. Would you see a need to transfer out of the keg that the fermentation finished in? I am dry hopping with 5 ounces of hops in a hop spider. Thanks for the perfect timing article!

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I guess I'll have to try some dry yeast. One thing that would probably help is to give us your ppm on chlorides, sulfates etc. Just giving us how much gypsum and calcium chloride really has no value without knowing your water and then plugging it into a calculator.

garydyke1 said...

Thats crazy about the oxidisation in the previous brew from the stainless FV, did you use it straight out the box without starsan ? Guessing the rest of that brew (transferring etc) went without a hitch?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I like to get it off the trub rather thank trying to get all of the yeast/hop material out through the tap. I'm fine leaving it in the conditioning keg with the final dose of dry hops.

I generally avoid posting my full mineral profile because I don't think my precise numbers are ideal. I dilute with distilled to around 50 PPM of carbonate, but if your water is at 25 PPM I wouldn't suggest adding chalk or baking soda. For this batch I was 135 chloride and 115 sulfate (average of mash and sparge). I'm working on an article for BYO comparing my water profile to that of the finished beer, both tested by Ward Labs, should be interesting!

My first batch I washed the BrewBucket with alkaline cleaner to remove any manufacturing grime, rinsed, and then did a standard StarSan sanitation (normal concentration, didn't let it dry). Yeah, nothing in the process seemed out of the ordinary, and the other half of the batch in a plastic fermentor was unaffected.

garydyke1 said...

I don't feel quite so bad about using almost half a bottle of starsan now , perhaps should do it every 20 -25 brews as a precaution . Way cheaper than loosing a batch

Aaron said...

No special processing is needed for the quick steel cut oats? Just mash them with the rest of your grains?

Steve said...


I use the SS Brewbucket also (the 2.5 gallon version). My friend came up with a great blow off set up and I've had no problems. Here's a link to a post with a picture of the set up:

It's uses the 1/2" hose barb that Brewtech sales and some other parts from various retailers. It also doubles as a way to push the beer during transfer.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I got my usual efficiency, so it sends these oats are fine to add as is.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Certainly an option... but after five years of not having to setup, manage, and clean a blow-off it is an annoyance!

Steve said...

Yeah...I don't change to an air lock. So the amount of time spent cleaning the blow off set up is similar to cleaning an airlock. Especially since I'm doing a hot PBW soak on the bucket...just throw the blow off pieces (I don't take apart the stainless bits) in the there, soak, sanitize and assemble for the next batch.

Aaron said...

Thanks for the reply about mashing the oats. I already buy Bob's Organic Quick Steel Cut Oats by the 7 lb. bag at Costco, so this is good to know.

Bekie & Dan said...

Have you found any difference between the standard Quaker quick coats vs the bobs steel cut?

Keli said...

One quick question: I have not brewed a NEIPA yet. Is my understanding correct that you put the first hops right after boiloff? And then you do a 30 min hopstand, letting the wort cool naturally?

By the way, thanks for an awesome website, it has been extremely helpful for a starting brewer! Two of your recipes became a inspiration for my brewing and turned out excellent!

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Exactly, hops in right at flame-out and they sit there until I turn the chiller on after 30 minutes. It isn't a technique specific to NEIPA, it's how essentially all commercial breweries add whirlpool hops. It just works well here where the goal is to maximize hop flavor without excessive bitterness. This can be a tricky step to dial in as larger batches retain heat longer and extract more bitterness. The difference between 5-10 gallons isn't great compared to a commercial batch, but if you are brewing outside in winter that'll mean quicker cooling.


Keli said...

Thanks for the reply!! I've done a couple of beers with late hop additions, and also hop stand at 75-80° (chilling first). I'm looking forward to doing a beer with first / only hops after boil out, since my experience is that hops do extract a considerable bitterness after boilout,will be interesting! (Beersmith doesn't calculate any IBU with boilout hops, strangely!) Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I find chloride in high concentrations mutes hop flavor, yes it does create a great mouthfeel but at the expense flavor.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

What do you mean specifically by "hop flavor"? It certainly doesn't make bitterness pop like high sulfate, but you could always up the IBUs if you find that lacking. I've never had a problem achieving that saturated hop flavor in these beers.

Unknown said...

Hey Mike,
You can add space to your bucket by fitting the domed lid from the chronical line. Sold separately on the SS brewing website but you will also be committing to a 3" TC on the top of the dome lid

Unknown said...

Extremely stupid question; I bought Austin Homebrew Supply's spunding valves. While the item created from homebrewfinds has a way to set, mine just has a knob to open and close the valve to adjust. When my keg is under any pressure with the spunding valve, the gauge goes right to zero. Is there something I'm doing wrong? I don't know if you can help, but I figure I'd ask.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

The valve often won't respond until the pressure is high enough for gas to vent. Pressurize the keg with CO2, attach the spunding valve and loosen it until some gas escapes. If that doesn't work you may need to contact Austin. The lines on my valve are off enough to be essentially useless anyway.

-Matthew- said...

Local brew shop recommend Windsor yeast for my NEIPA but is the attenuation too low on this yeast?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I don't have much experience with Windsor. They might be able to give you a suggestion on a good mash temperature (around 150F I'd guess). Might be better in a APA than a DIPA though, where the low attenuation is more of an asset. If you try it, let me know how it goes! Sounds like there are a couple dried Conan cultures in the works too!

Unknown said...

Do you cold crash your NEIPAs?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Not before kegging. I'd rather take over some gunk into the keg rather than risk air being sucked into the fermentor. There are solutions to this, and no harm if you have a good one.