The last time I decided to be not-lazy and write up a post, I babbled about my burgeoning home brewing brass balls that have propelled me from terrified brewing novice into moderately confident brewing novice. I’m still pretty new to this game, but I’m learning and taking the right steps to finally ditch the extract and go all-grain. My last batch included a successful rendezvous with a secondary and some dry-hopping action. The next logical step, of course, would be to drop the Brewer’s Best kits and cobble together my own recipe.
I wanted to try another APA since I had good results with the kit and it’s one of my favorite styles. I did a bit of research on a few recipes online and also decided to consult with the always knowledgeable and always extremely helpful folks at Brew Camp. They helped with grain selection and suggested substitutes to keep me closer to the APA style (I cannot express how awesome it is to have this place a couple blocks from my apartment). Here is what I left with:
1 lb. Caramel Malt 40L
1 lb. Carapils Malt
1 lb. Munich 10L Malt
6.6 lbs. Golden Light LME
1 oz. Centennial Pellet Hops
2 oz. Amarillo Leaf Hops
Wyeast 1332 – Northwest Ale
1 oz. Lemon Peel
Since I was no longer relying on training wheels, I had to create and follow my own brew schedule. In my infinite wisdom, I did not write down what I did and when, but I vaguely remember adding the pellet hops once my wort returned to boil after steeping the grains and adding the LME; 1 oz. additions of leaf hops (first time using these) were added at 30 and 45 minutes along with the lemon peel. Going forward, I’ll be sure to keep a detailed brew day diary just in case I somehow make the best beer in the world and need to duplicate it.
Once the boil was complete, I was able to use my new wort chiller for the first time. I was very impressed with how quickly it brought the temperature down. I’m used to doing the ice bath thing and circulating the water with my hand for 20 minutes (or until my hand goes numb) while it cools down. With the wort chiller – from boil to 70°F in about seven minutes. I haven’t tasted a difference in quality, but I’m sure it’s helpful, right?
Fast forward past two weeks in a primary and two weeks in bottles and I ended up with a pretty tasty APA. The lemon isn’t as noticeable as I thought it would be, which is OK. I did notice a big improvement in mouth feel and the head on the beer, both were much fuller than any of the kits I had brewed in the past. Of course, I didn’t write down OG/FG, thus, I can’t say what the ABV would have been, but it turned out pretty strong. I remember thinking the OG was indicative of a pretty efficient beer and had a few people tell me that a single bottle made them a bit tipsy; I’m not sure if they’re just lightweights or it’s actually that strong. Either way, I’m not complaining.