Monday, January 21, 2008

Skagit river and IPA #1

Second post and we already get to write about both passions!

On Saturday, we took my family up on the Skagit River for a scenic float. There aren't any rapids to write about, but we did see many bald eagles in their natural habitat. The Skagit River is the largest gathering of the eagles in the lower 48 states.

Holy crap was it cold! We've done this trip 3 or 4 times before, and while it's always a bit chilly, this is the first time we've been snowed on while on the river. It didn't just snow - it dumped on us. The crew all kept their smiles and had great attitudes so I applaud them (especially mom, who doesn't do so well on boats as it is). Kat and I ended up meeting some friends who were running the river tomorrow - Mike and Leah - and we ended up talking quite a bit about homebrewing. Mike used to homebrew quite a bit awhile back, and our new enthusiasm got him thinking about getting back into the hobby. I have mixed feelings about this, because he offered us the use of some carboys, and if he's brewing again he might need them...

Sunday was brew day. We started by racking (moving the fermenting beer from one container to another) our brown ale to a glass carboy for secondary fermentation. It smelled fantastic! Some of the specialty grains we used for the pre-boil steeping really came through. We each took a taste of the "green beer" and could tell that it was premature. Okay, we knew that before tasting it, but it was interesting trying the infancy and understanding a bit more about the time it takes for a beer to really taste great. We'll leave the brown ale in the carboy for two weeks before bottling.

We decided to brew an IPA loosely based on the Dogfish Head 60-minute IPA. What makes this beer unique is that the hops are continually added throughout the boil. Our previous beer had hop additions at the start of the boil, and then again 40 minutes into the boil. This IPA recipe called for 1 ounce of hops added continually for one hour. It was fun at first, but did become pretty tedious 40 minutes in. This time we did take hydrometer readings, and will be able to more accurately check when the beer is ready to be racked and also the estimated alcohol percentage. IPA is our favorite style of beer, so we're really excited to see how this one turns out.

No comments: