Evil Dog II

Ref 2021-01 Evil Dog Brewer Bulldog Brews
Style American DIPA Type Beer, kit
Started Tue 19th Jan 21 OG 1.068 Status Available, 7.2% ABV
Packaged Tue 2nd Feb 21 FG 1.013 Fermenter Plastic Bucket
Handle 2021-01 Evil Dog
Brewer Bulldog Brews
Style American DIPA
Type Beer, kit
Fermenter Plastic Bucket
Status Available, 7.2% ABV ABV
Started Tue 19th Jan 21 OG 1.068
Packaged Tue 2nd Feb 21 FG 1.013

My second go at this American Double IPA, and this time I’m going to wait until it’s finished before throwing in those hops. The other thing I’m doing differently is using bottled water throughout. Not that our local Manx water is lacking in any way, I’m just looking to eliminate all variables and put me on the same footing as the people in the UK who have been helping with all kinds of queries via the Home Brewing Forum.

Milestones & Tasks

Mar 10 -232dTo-do: ready to taste
Feb 10 -260dStarted conditioning
Feb 02 -268dBottled 59 Steinies
Jan 31 -270dAdded 25g Simcoe 25g Summit
Jan 19 -282dStarted primary
28 days
Feb 202110Wed

Been 8 days in the warm, let’s move her into the garage. I hope the longer-than-planned (by 3 days) time in the warm hasn’t given rise to off-flavours, must get better at keeping on top of these things.

For what it’s worth I took delivery of the FermZilla two days ago, so going forward I’ll be able to ferment and maybe bottle hoppy brews in an environment entirely free of oxygen, which may help eliminate those sweet & sour flavours in future.

8 days
Feb 202102Tue

Hops bags went in two days ago, let’s send this doggy home. There was still some very slight airlock activity and in fairness the FG had dropped a point (maybe two) in two days, but I was also starting to get traces of that sweet & sour taste that somewhat spoilt the last batch so I’m willing to risk having gushers if they’re drinkable. Fingers crossed there’s no bottle bombs though!

As with the batch of Nog I bottled recently I went for batch priming here, racking to a clean vessel after adding 95g of brewing sugar / dextrose, this time dissolved in some boiled water instead of powder in a wet (sanitised) cup. Much easier to deploy. As before my figures came from the Brewer’s Friend Priming Calculator, going for 2.0 vols across 21 litres at 20 ℃. To be honest I think 2.0 vols would be on the low side for a DIPA but at the back of my mind I’m wondering how much more fermentation this beast has in her (the first batch went to 1.009 – 4 points lower – but picked up some nasty flavours) so I want to give her some room for error in case I really do create a caseload of bombs. Mind you, German Wheat Beer tops out at 4.5 vols according to the calculator, so I’m hoping the crown-capped bottles can take that kind of pressure, even if the contents turn into a fountain.

Regardless, 59 Steinies (19.47 litres then – oops!) were bottled and sealed with yellow caps, off to the server room for a couple of days. The instructions actually specify a week in the warm for secondary fermentation (Eh? Thought we were just carbing?) but I don’t want to give those off-flavours any more chance to develop so I’d rather cut that short and give it longer in cold conditioning, maybe even the same 56 days that are demanded by the similar strength Wheat Tripel.

2 days
Jan 202131Sun

Gravity appears to have almost stabilised on Evil Dog; we dropped just 1 point in the past 3 days but the taste from the trial jar has changed over the same time, picking up notes of that ‘sweet & sour’ grassy taste that’s characterised our last attempt at this brew.

Time to get the finishing hops in and then bottle ASAP, so I warmed the two hop bags (1 x 25g Simcoe, 1 x 25g Summit) in some boiled water as instructed for 15 minutes, then tipped ’em in.

3 days
Jan 202128Thu

It’s been 9 days since this pup started fermenting, and it was after nine days that I added those finishing hops last time around, not knowing that there was still 17 days left to go before it would stabilise enough to bottle. I also didn’t know that 17 days of dry-hopping would produce some nasty grassy flavours, so I’m understandably keen to not repeat the same mistake.

Still, there’s airlock activity which means there’s CO2 being produced, and I can risk a cheeky gravity check with a sanitised turkey baster. The previous brew measured 1.014 at this point, and although I didn’t take any photos I think I had yet to figure out that you need to let the level drop a bit in the trial jar before taking a reading as that can affect things, and almost led to a 2 point difference being recorded on my first Wherry.

Anyway, I’m fairly certain we’re at 1.015 right now, so still not quite at the 1.010 – 1.014 level that we need for bottling. If this is like the last attempt, can we also expect it to drop to 1.009, or was that a consequence of hop bags being in so long and propping up a fermentation which would otherwise have settled down? Who knows. Either way we need to drop some more, and we need stability, otherwise I’m not even going to think about dry-hopping, let alone bottling. Let’s check back in a couple of days.

9 days
Jan 202119Tue

I decided to have another go at this one to see if I can improve the flavour over last time by adding the finishing hops in a timely manner.

All went well during the kick-off session. I’m using Tesco Ashbeck water throughout; boiled for diluting the initial mash and then chilled in order to bring the mash back down to the 20-25 ℃ temperature range ahead of pitching. I misjudged this process a little and cooled the mixture to 18 ℃ by the time I was up to 20 litres, so I reheated the remaining 3 litres and ended up with a mash that was too hot at 27 ℃. Bollocks.

My first reaction was to fit the lid and put her outside for half an hour, then it occurred to me that air is a poor conductor of heat and I’d be better off putting the vessel inside a larger fermentation bucket and filling that with cold water instead. The plan worked well and 25 minutes later I had the temperature down to 22.6 ℃, so I pitched the included yeast sachet. Initial gravity came in at 1.068 (slightly higher than my last attempt at 1.065) and I’m storing the vessel in my office at 19.5 ℃.

I’m going to check in on this one eight days from now in order to take a gravity reading as she slows down, adding the finishing hops no earlier than 1 or two days from bottling time.

No instructions here, go see the opening post on my first Evil Dog.