For our first beer, we decided to brew an IPA using a single hop variety, in this case Chinook. Of course, we are starting off by using extract kits and Northern Brewer has a great variety of styles to choose from. Their Chinook IPA kit seemed like a good place to start. Brewing this particular beer was attractive, since it would give us some insight into the particular flavor of Chinook hops. Most IPAs use a variety of hops for both their bitterness and aromatic qualities, so once this is done, I hope to be able to isolate exactly what qualities Chinook hops bring to a beer.
Here’s how it all went down:
We assembled at Jeff’s place and put our brand spanking new brewing equipment to the test. I was kind of nervous about messing this up, so I made it a point to memorize as much of the process as I could, based off of Northern Brewer’s helpful inventory sheet. After some pregame planning over pizza and beer, we fired up Liles’ turkey fryer burner and got our brew on. First, we steeped the specialty grains (.75 lb Belgian Caramel Pils, .25 lb Breiss Caramel) in the water while waiting for it to hit 170 degrees. Then we pulled the grains and waited for the water to come to a nice rolling boil. We cut the heat, then added 6 lbs Pilsen malt Syrup and 1 lb Pilsen Dry Malt extract. After bringing the wort back to a boil, we added one ounce of pellet hops, then added another half ounce with 10 minutes left, and another half ounce at burnoff.
No major mishaps took place during the boil, except for Jeff dropping the nearly empty jug of extract on the leg of my jeans, which caused a bit of sticky mess.
We hooked up the wort chiller and got our temperature down to 100 degrees, then strained the wort into our primary fermenting bucket. After agitating the fermenter to aerate the wort, we took a reading with the hydrometer, which gave us an original gravity of 1.050. Right where we want to be. After pitching the Yeast (Wyeast 1056 American Ale) we sealed the fermenter.
The next night, Jeff posted a video of the airlock bubbling away. A great sign that the yeast was doing its job of pooping out alcohol and farting CO2. Although we won’t know for sure if the beer will turn out, this was a great start to our home brewing project!