22B - American Strong Ale - Hoppy Holidays

Style note: There's no BJCP style for "Double Red." I believe my reaction if given this beer blind would go something like, "It's a red. Oh, 8.5%? Ok, a Double Red. What? there's no style for that? WhyTF not?"

As much as I would like to squeeze this into the specialty IPA categories (21B) Red and Rye IPA, being a double (8%+ ABV) it wouldn't technically be to style. Though I believe a smaller version would fit both, so I'll probably knock those out with a single brew at a later date.

This was first brewed in November 2013 as a Double Red inspired by Bridgeport's Kingpin. My OG came up short so I tossed in some brown sugar. The next year rye was added. It then became a Red/Rye IPA with brown sugar. Yeah it's all over the place. But the end result is a malt-forward but dry Double Red/Rye IPA with (hopefully) explosive hop aroma. Rye, molasses, and toffee hang out in the background. Since I always make this in November for the holiday season, it picked up the name, "Hoppy Holidays." Festive!

The full recipe is on brewersfriend.com, but here's the TL;DR
  • brew day: 2017-11-5
  • 24L batch, 30m boil, OG 1.078
  • Malts: 2-row base, 20% flaked rye, 4% crystal 120, 4% special b, 4% brown sugar
  • Hops: Magnum (40g FWH), Simcoe (120g @ 5m), Eureka/Chinook (240g dry hop)
  • Yeast: SafAle S-04
  • Cold crashed, gelatined, 2017-11-16, 17
  • kegged: 11-18
  • FG: 1.014, ABV (by hydro) 8.4%
  • brix FG: 9, ABV (via refractometer, 0.95 correction): 8.8%

Mash shot. Heated 28L to 74 and started the mash at 69 - this was after mashing a bit. This was a ton of grains and I should have filled up the kettle more. Still hit the 70% expected efficiency.

Boil additions: 120g Simcoe, Whirlfloc, 350g brown sugar.

Wort sample for gravity check. Deep red color and super sweet!

Post boil gravity check. Hit the number at 18 brix/1.078/70% efficiency

After 7 days the refractometer is showing 9.2 which works out to 1.016 or 4.2P and an ABV of 8.6% which is mostly finished but I'll give it the better part of another week before kegging. Should get another point or two and end up closer to 9%.

I also added dry hops at the 7 day mark: 120g Chinook and 120g of Eureka.

2017-11-19: After cold crashing for 24 hrs in the fridge, I added gelatin and gave it another day after which I transferred to the keg. It was put on 42psi for 21hrs then dialed back to 12psi which is my usual serving pressure.

The end result might be the best of the series so far. I managed to avoid the harsh bitterness of the previous versions and ended up with a balanced mix of molasses, piney hops, and caramel that is not too sweet or bitter.

Color is a deep red which is exactly what I wanted. Previous batches have gone from too dark to too light and this one is spot on. Appearance will improve over the next couple of weeks as the last bit of haze drops out.

It doesn't have as much aroma as I would have liked, but overall it's a tasty brew that invites you to have another glass in spite of its 8.5% ABV.