DIY - Russian River Blind Pig IPA - Part 1
I can honestly say I am a fan of Blind Pig IPA from Russian River Brewing Co. in Santa Rosa. I know everyone is Pliny crazed but Blind Pig really makes me happy. And since it is not easy to find in my area and driving a couple hours to the brewery isn't always an option -- I decided to brew it at home. I figure even if I mess it up, it will still be a good IPA. Just not an amazing IPA the way Russian River does it. But definitely drinkable.
I headed to my local brewing supply store in Concord, CA called More Beer.
Side Note: Everyone there is great! I bought my Personal Brewery Starter System there and am so happy I did. It was less than a hundred bucks, I got a Malt Extract ingredient kit and a free homebrewing class. The basic kit came with everything I needed except the syphon and the bottling filler. Together they cost me about $15. I got my kettle from a local Mexican market and it was more affordable than buying a pro kettle from the brewing supply store. It is huge and its original use is for steaming tamales. But it works great from homebrewing. Then I started saving all my brown beer bottles until I had enough for my first batch and simply reuse them. And yes, I used that as an excuse to buy and drink lots of beer in brown bottles. And all sizes too.
I knew I wanted to make an IPA and was thrilled when I saw the recipe pack for RR Blind Pig IPA. I chose to do the malt extract version and got the two malts I needed. When buying your recipe and ingredients, don't forget to get the yeast. Yeast is separate.
So I start looking online for any pointers, tips, tricks and came up with nothing specific to Blind Pig. And if you have homebrewed before you know that the instructions that come with your kit aren't great. I decided to move forward with some tips I found for another Russian River IPA and mixed with my past experience I decided to just go for it.
Please note that homebrewing is a hobby for me. I drink it and sometimes share. I don't enter competitions or anything like that. So with that said, I hope this is helpful. And here we go.
9 lbs of Ultralight Malt Extract
1 lb of Bavarian Wheat
8 oz Carapils
8 oz Crystal 40L
8 oz White Wheat
2 oz Magnum Bittering HOps boiled for 60 minutes
.5 oz Cascade Flavoring hops boiled for last 30 minutes
1 oz Cascade Aroma hops are boiled the last 15 minutes
.5 oz Cascade Dry hops are added to the secondary fermentation
1 oz Willamette Dry hops added to the secondary fermentation
White Labs - California Ale Yeast
Wort Clarifying Treatment
Clarifier - Whirlfloc (Use 1/2 to 1 tablet) the last 5 minutes of boil
Priming Sugar added at bottling
4 oz Corn Sugar - boil with 2 cups of water for 5 minutes
Specific Recipe Information
1 oz American Oak Chips - Add to secondary fermentation for 7 - 10 days
If you don't have a professional wort chiller, you will need a deep sink or a bathtub and lots of ice.
Original Gravity (OG): 1.066-70
ABV %: 6.5
Fermentation Temperature: 68 degrees fahrenheit
First thing is to make sure you have everything that is supposed to come in the recipe kit. You can see there are several components which I would expect for a great beer. Not pictured is the yeast which was in the refrigerator. I also went to the store and got several bags of ice and set them in my bathtub.
Side Note: Keep your yeast in the refrigerator until you are ready to use. Be sure to check the expiration dates.
Next I washed out my kettle and got it on the stove. I was ready.
Here are the steps:
1. Fill the fermenter bucket with water and add 1 oz of sanitizer.
2. Take the yeast out of the refrigerator and set aside. It was recommended to me to use 2 yeasts instead of the one. So I did.
3. Add 2.5 gallons of water to the kettle and turn on the heat.
4. Put all of the grains in a mesh grain bag and place in the kettle. When pouring the grains in the mesh bag be sure to hold the bag over a bowl of water or the sink so you can catch the dust. You don't want it all over your floor or counters.
5. Heat the grains up to 170 degrees and steep for 30 minutes. If it reaches 170 degrees in less than 30 minutes, turn off the heat and steep until the 30 minutes is up. Then remove the grain bag.
While your grains are steeping, place the Ultralight Malt Extract in warm water to make it easier to pour out of its bag later during the boil.
When you remove the grain bag place it in a bowl with water. This keeps the grains from drying out in the mesh bag and it is easier to remove them later. You don't have to throw them away either. You can use them to make doggie treats.
6. Now that the grains are out, bring the water in your kettle up to a boil. Once it is boiling, add your Bavarian Wheat and your Ultralight Malt Extract. I roll the bag down like you would a tube of toothpaste to get out every last drop of the extract. Stir it until it is all dissolved. Bring back up to a boil. Do not walk away from your pot! You need to make sure it doesn't boil over. My pot is huge and there is only 2.5 gallons of water in it so it didn't even get close to a boil over. But it's best to be careful.
7. Now you have started your boil and you can add the 2 oz Magnum Hops. Set your timer for 30 minutes.
You can put your hops in a mesh bag or simply drop in the pellets without a bag. If you plan to use a mesh bag you can prep it earlier to have ready at the time of boil. I like to use the bag because it is an easier clean up.
8. When the timer goes off, add your .5 oz of Cascade hops to the boil. Then reset your timer for 15 minutes.
9. Now it is time to sanitize all of the equipment that will be coming into contact with the beer. You can start doing this when your wort has been boiling for at least 40 minutes. Place the following in your bucket with the sanitizing solution. This includes your long spoon, small measuring cup, hydrometer and it's sample holder, airlock, thermometer, stoppers, spigots for the bucket and bucket lid. For the lid you can place it on top and swirl it around and you can also use your hands to wipe it down and get the solution all over it. Instead of a measuring cup you can use a syphon or a turkey baster for getting your beer sample into the hydrometer container for the Original Gravity measurement. You also want to dip your yeast packages in the solution to make sure no bacteria gets in when you open them up to add to the beer.
10. When the timer goes off add your final 1 oz of Cascade hops to the boil. Set your timer for 10 minutes.
11. Start the ice bath. I use my tub and I rub some sanitizer solution around my tub to be safe. Then I add cold water with the loose ice. Enough to reach midway up the kettle.
12. When the timer goes off, remove the 3 bags with the hops and place in a bowl of water. If you didn't use bags that's fine. Now you can now just add your Whirlfloc Clarifier. This happens at the 55 minute mark of your boil. I used the entire tablet.
13. Stir the Whirlfloc for a moment and let sit in the boil for the last 5 minutes.
14. Turn off the stove and carefully transfer your kettle to the ice bath or use a professional or homemade wort chiller. Bring the temperature down to 68 degrees as quickly as you can.
15. While the wort cools, empty your fermenter bucket with the sanitizer solution. Set the sanitized equipment off to the side. Now fill the bucket with 2 gallons of very cold water.
16. Once your wort has reached 68 degrees you can transfer it carefully to the fermenter bucket. If the beer doesn't reach the 5 gallon mark on your fermenter bucket, top it off with very cold water.
17. Take your original gravity measurement with your hydrometer. Use the sanitized measuring cup, syphon or turkey baster to get a sample from the beer to pour into the hydrometer container. Perform the test and make note of the OG. It should be somewhere between 1.066 and 1.070. I was right at 1.066. Do not pour the sample back into the fermenter and risk contamination. Instead take a sip and get an idea of what your beer will taste like when finished. (In the picture I had already started to pour it out before I realized I hadn't taken a pic. Sorry.)
18. Now pitch the yeast into the beer. This is my favorite part. I'm such a geek sometimes. But this is when the magic happens!
19. Put on the lid and add the airlock. Don't forget to put sanitizer liquid inside the airlock as well.
20. Place the beer in a cool dark corner. This will be its home for a couple of weeks. You want to keep the temp as close to 68 degrees as possible during fermentation. Place a towel over the bucket to keep out any additional light.
Stay tuned for Part 2. Dry Hopping and Bottling!!