Monday 30 January 2012

Infuse Your Illusion

We've turned a corner, referring now to early 90's albums instead of movies. I suppose it was inevitable. Before proceeding on to discuss matters actually pertaining to beer, it's worth mentioning the particular significance of the song 'November Rain,' from Guns N' Roses' album Use Your Illusion I, to our formative years. To this day, we remember this song not for its impressive guitar solos or rain-soaked video imagery, but for the sense of dread it evoked at Junior High School dances. When those first few piano notes sounded, joined quickly thereafter by stirring strings, you knew you had to find someone good to dance with. Because if you didn't, you'd be stuck with whoever else you could find (or often worse, whoever could find you) for the next nine minutes.

Nine minutes can be a really long time, I assure you, but are nothing compared to the time required for beer to go from grain to glass. It had been two weeks since we brewed our Magnitude IPA, and it was time to transfer it into a secondary container (glass carboy) for final conditioning. To enhance its citrus aroma, we planned on dry-hopping with four ounces of Cascade. We figured that we could effectively infuse the 'good stuff' from the hops (alpha acids) if we first added the hop pellets to the carboy before transferring the beer from the primary fermenter. (This might not have been completely necessary, as the hops and beer will have a while to co-mingle, but it seemed like a good idea.) The end result was a swirling green mass atop a brown sea of IPA-in-training.

Sooo... all that green stuff will settle out in 10 days, right?

A preliminary tasting prior to transfer revealed Magnitude's potential. Bitter for sure, but not enough to completely overpower the malty sweetness. We tried a couple of specialty malts in this beer - Victory and Munich (both in relatively small proportions) - and so are very interested to see how they're manifested in the finished product. We should be good to keg in about 10 days, which can't come quickly enough... much like the end of 'November Rain' when shared with an unsavoury dance partner.


  1. Would be interested in seeing your grain bill. I recently did an IPA with Pale, Munich and Vienna. Hops were Simcoe for bittering, Nelson Sauvin for flavour/aroma, and galaxy for aroma.

  2. Hey Jamie, see below for the grain bill we used. We were looking to establish a foundation to develop our own recipe, and so started with something close to the 'Everyday IPA' in Brooklyn BrewShop's Beer Making Book (Shea and Valand, 2012).

    2-row: 4 kg
    Crystal 30: 0.9 kg
    Victory: 0.45 kg
    Munich: 0.3 kg

    We actually wanted to use Simcoe for our IPA, but our NG was all out. What did you think of the Nelson Sauvin/Galaxy? And if you don't mind us asking, where did you order your hops from? We're looking to try some new varieties in the future.

  3. That's a healthy amount of dry-hopping. Should turn out good. I brewed a clone recipe of Lagunitas A Little Sumpin' Sumpin' months ago, which calls for a dry-hop of six different hops (!), for a total of 4.5-5 ozs of dryhops. Intense, but the hop aroma is still surprisingly quite prominent.

    I also am about to bottle an Alpine Duet clone, which called for a lot of Simcoe. I think I may have bought the last of the Simcoe from NG for this recipe... sorry!

  4. Thanks, Shawn, we have high hopes for this one! For your Lagunitas clone, I'm amazed that someone came up with a six-hop combo for dry-hopping... one can only imagine the amount of recipe development and testing that went into it.

    No worries about the Simcoe. Probably better that we tried something new! We're still testing out different different types of hops and getting a feel for their characteristics.

    Anyway, thanks again for the comment, and let us know how your latest clone turns out. Cheers!