Brew day #3: English IPA

stir the mash

The completion of brew day #3 brings us an English IPA, a burn on my foot, a few burns on my arm, and some wet socks. I think I now understand why brewers tend to have those big overalls and waterproof boots! However, I wasn’t going to let some pain and discomfort get in the way of an exciting beer.

stir the mash2

I needed to adjust my water a bit this time, utilizing salts that would help my H2o be similar to traditional English water. Some brewers call this “Burtonizing” the water, based on the town of Burton-upon-Trent, famous for it’s IPAs. These ales became popular when British troops stationed in India demanded good ol’ English beer. The milds & bitters that shipped out from English ports and sailed across two oceans did not arrive in India tasting very pleasant. Murky, tepid, sour, and brimming with wild yeasts and bacteria…. just the thing to quench an Indian thirst! Somebody decided to add mountains of hops to these beers, acting as a preservative for the voyage. It worked. These beers now had massive hop aromas, bracing bitterness, and a long finish of hops. The soldiers liked it so much, people back home started demanding it. The production took off shortly afterwords, leading to happy customers and bitter beer face everywhere.

hop bags

The pictured Sterling and Strisselspalt hops will join with American Cascades to lend this beer citrus, floral, and spicy aromas and flavors. I was trying to avoid pine flavors. Nothing against pine, but I seem to encounter that one with every IPA out there. Not that this is a bad thing, because Modus Hoperandi is one of the best beers out there. Behind the hops is a Food Saver, it vacuum seals my bags for storage, allowing me to not just dump all the hops into one beer. I almost did, though.


At first glance, this may look a little ridiculous. The green hose passes tap water through my plate chiller. The other hoses are sending sanitizer through it. I’m still learning my way around using a pump. With my small setup and limited funds, I have needed to rig a very basic setup. One pump is used for everything in this brewery, except sparge water, which is powered by gravity. I’m not sure if you’ve ever peeked into a big brewpub before, but usually it is ten times more complicated that what I have shown here. The whole idea is to move your beer from one place to another, always in a clean and sanitized way.

grains in mash tun

After the fun ends, I’m left to clean up my giant mess. At this scale, everything is done by hand. Shoveling the grain does seem to have a nostalgic place in my heart, but this was blunted when I spilled grain all over the parking lot outside when trying to take it out. It’s hard not to laugh in a situation like that, when 40 pounds of steaming wet grain lies on the asphalt parking lot as cars zip by.

The brew day went well, only minor accidents and mild stress accompanied by many Moduses (Modi?) in the brew room. I’m hoping to ramp up brewing soon, especially since I’m only doing 1/2 bbl batches right now. For now, production will be a bit stunted as I ramp up my skills. Good things take a while to brew, after all.

2 responses to “Brew day #3: English IPA

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