A long time coming…

So, my friends have been grumbling that I don’t write often enough. Looking at the last entry (May!) they seem to be right. I’ve not done a lot of brewing due to the very warm summer we’ve had (and the propensity boiling 6 gallons of water has for heating up a 14×72 steel roofed trailer), and have been busy with work and life in general. But tonight I’m brewing, so I should at least say something!

I’ve been working on perfecting something I call WhooPAH!. It’s completly out of style and oh so tasty. Those of you who read this site have likely already tasted it, since this appears to be read mostly by my friends, but for the rare person who stumbles along the site from blo.gs or technorati let me explain what the WhooPAH aims to be.

I’m a hop-head. I freely admit it. I’ve got a six pack of Alpha King chilling in the fridge, and am cracking open a liter of version 2.0 of the WhooPAH right now (I actually stopped writing at the end of this sentence to get it). (Sorry for the delay, I quickly cleaned another carboy and started siphoning some Iodophor into it). At any rate, (oops, had to go back inside and retrieve the beer, my damn ADD knows no bounds) the WhooPAH is my attempt at creating the ultimate summer beer for hopheads. The long and short, it’s a Wheat IPA. A bigger (over 6% ABV) Wheat full of tons of hops.

My last post detailed my “summer wheat” I had fermenting. Well, I was a bit mistaken on that one. It ended up being closer to 13% ABV. It tasted fantastic, though it kicked my ass every time I drank it. I actually suffered flashbacks to college drinking it (one night in particular stands out, never drink 75oz of a 13% beer after drinking 100oz of 5% beer). It got a great reception from Paul down at Old Capitol, and most of the people that gave it a sample, but I wasn’t completly satisfied with the hop flavor. The amarillo’s weren’t giving it that something that I’d been hoping for. Nonetheless it was a good first start, given the after affects I suffered from this beer, I named it WhooPAH, as it gave you a grand kick in the ass.

Not being entirely pleased with the first version I moved onto version 2.0. I scaled back the extracts, and changed the hops around. I went with 6 lbs of Wheat Extract, same grains and went with Centennial, Cascade, and Horizon hops. I brewed 10 gallons of this, kegging 5 and bottling the other five. The kegged variety was decent but had a wierd transition on the pallet amongst the hops. It was drinkable, but not quite right. The bottled beer came out much better, but still not right. On to version 3.

Before I get into what I’m doing different this time I really should explain my goal here. I love IPA’s. I love big, bold, in your face hop presence in a beer. But, sometimes it’s a bit much to have all that malt body. Especially when it’s 100 degrees for weeks on end. A nice wheat beer really hits the spot in the summertime. The delicate body and crisp aftertaste are fantastic. It seemed to me the two could be combined into one beer. Great hop flavor and bite, smooth wheat body and crispness. I am also being pushed by the fact that it’s a fairly unique “style”. In fact, I think the BJCP would have a problem with me calling it a style at all. But screw them, they’re nothing but a bunch of old fuddy duddies. Beer is a living organism, why must the styles be static?

So Version 3.0 is currently in the kettle brewing (I’m typing this while the grains steep, 15 minutes left). Again I’m going with the 6 (well, 6.5) lbs of wheat extract (though due to my supreme forgetfulness during the ordering process I’m using 4.5lbs I purchased from Austin Homebrew and 2lbs of Muntons Wheat Extract I picked from the local “homebrew store”), the grain bags and a couple of changes. The first change is the hops once again. I’m using Chinook and Cascade only. I’ve got 2oz of Chinook for the bittering, 5oz of Cascaade for the Aroma and Flavor hops, and 4oz of Cascade for the dropping in secondary fermentation. It’s gonna be an IPA for sure. 🙂 The intention is to give the beer a grapefruity hop flavor, which I’m hoping will work well with the wheat body. The one other change is the yeast. The previous versions both used Wyeast’s American Wheat (1010). For this version I’m going with my favorite yeast, Wyeast American Ale II (1272). This thing is a monster (it’s so good, Aaron is using a strain culled from one of my batches 🙂 ), fermenting at all sorts of temperature ranges, flocculating like you wouldn’t believe, and adding a nice “fruity” flavor. It’s done me so well on previous IPA’s, I thought it might help this version achieve my goal of ultimate Wheat IPA.

So, there you go. I hope the above was informative, or at the very least not boring. For those of you that know me, I promise you’ll get an opportunity to sample version 3.0. If this one works out the way I’m hoping, perhaps an entry next spring in the AHA National Competition will be in line (Specialty Beer category of course). If not, we’ll go back to the drawing boards and come out with 4.0. 🙂

Before I go, I’d be remiss not to mention that I’m doing a double batch tonight without any assistance. I’m brewing a straight kit Belgian Dubbel Trappist Ale (from Austin Homebrew of course. I get so caught up in trying to find and brew the ultimate hoppy beers (and Mocha Porters) that sometimes it’s a nice thing to step back and brew a more traditional style of beer. I know that Derick will appreciate that in a few weeks, as he’s more of a traditionalist. At any rate, it’s almost time to start bring the wort up to a boil, so have a great one, thanks for reading, and drink a good beer for me next chance you get.

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