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One of the best parts about homebrewing is sharing the entire experience with friends and family. Here at Clawhammer, we love inviting people over to the office and having them choose one of the 8 beers we always have on tap. However, sometimes life gets busy and we can’t make time for our favorite hobby, so our kegs slowly empty and there’s nothing to replace them with. We’re normal people here at Clawhammer, just like you, so even we don’t always have time to brew. Our fearless leader, Kyle, had some friends coming into town for the weekend, and being the guy that owns a homebrewing company, it would have been embarrassing if he didn’t have any beer to share. Sadly, this was the case for Kyle, so we made this 3 day IPA recipe, which allows anyone to make an IPA in just 3 days. Read on to see how to do it.
A sad day at the Clawhammer World Headquarters
Full Brew Day Video
We brewed this using Clawhammer’s 10 Gallon 120 volt BIAB system, watch us use it in this brew day video.
We started this brew day with 7.9 gallons of Asheville City Water. To make our water chemistry right for this style of beer, we made sure our water had a 2:1 chlorides to sulfates ratio. In other words, we made sure there were more chlorides in the water than sulfates because doing this will give our beer a softer mouthfeel and juicier flavor.
Because this is a single malt beer, we had to pay more attention to our PH. Sometimes, we’ll add in some acid malt to our recipes which will help lower the PH, but we’re not using that this time. We went ahead and added 3 milliliters of lactic acid after doing our water chemistry in order to lower our PH into the desired range.
The water everyone starts with will be different than ours (unless you live in Asheville) so you’ll need to calculate you’re own water chemistry. We use Bru’n Water to get our water chemistry right. This is free software that you can download and use alongside software like BeerSmith to make sure you hit all your numbers during a brew day.
We only used 11 pounds (5 kilograms) of pale malt for this recipe and we mashed in at 159° F (70.6° C).
Pouring crushed pale malt into the grain basket
The only weird part about our mash is that we only did a 30 minute one, which is half the amount of time homebrewers traditionally mash for. Since the goal of this recipe is to make a finished beer as soon as possible, we thought cutting corners where we could was appropriate, but we also did our research.
Stirring our mash to remove any "doughballs" in order to increase efficiency
According to a Brulosophy “Exbeeriment”, there was no perceivable difference between a beer that was mashed for 60 minutes and one that was mashed for 30. If you’ve never heard of Brulosophy, we definitely recommend checking out their website. They’ve done plenty more “Exbeeriments” that suggest a lot of homebrewing traditions could be arbitrary.
10 minutes into our 30-minute mash we checked the PH and saw that it was right at 5.15, which was a bit too low. We recommend you shoot for something closer to 5.5.
We use a Milwaukee MW102 PH Meter to test our PH
Once our 30-minute mash was done we pulled our grains out and bumped our heating element up to 100% of power to try and start a boil as soon as possible.
Lifting a grain basket alone can sometimes be difficult (especially with big grain bills). We recommend you invest in a brewing pulley to make make it easier on yourself every brew day.
Our 120V brewing controller can be set to automatic or manual mode, allowing you to set a specific temperature or a percentage of power.
We also only did a 30 minute boil for this recipe, just like our mash, which is also half the time of what a normal boil would be. Fortunately, we were able to justify this with another Brulosophy Exbeeriment. This one compared two American Pale Ales that were boiled for 30 and 60 minutes. Just like mash times, there was also no perceivable difference between these two beers.
It’s important to keep in mind that Brulosophy’s Exbeeriments don’t make a definitive claim. The Exbeeriments we’ve mentioned only test one beer style and are only tasted by one group of people. There also hasn’t been an Exbeeriment for a beer that was both mashed and boiled for 30 minutes, so it’s likely that this IPA will be impacted by our short mash and boil times. The important thing to take away from Brulosophy’s Exbeeriments is that many parts of brewing are sometimes arbitrary and experimenting with a recipe will probably not ruin it. In the end, it's always going to be beer.
Once our boil started, we did a 30-minute addition of Azacca hops. These hops have a high alpha acid content of 12.1% so they’re going to add plenty of bitterness to our beer. We added 1 ounce (28.3 grams) of Azacca hops.
Around halfway through the boil, we started hooking up our plate chiller, which is what we use to chill our wort down to yeast pitching temp.
A plate chiller works by running cold water next to hot wort without mixing them
With ten minutes left in the boil, we started recirculating boiling wort through our plate chiller and hoses in order to sanitize everything. We did not turn our chilling water on until our 30-minute boil was over.
Once our chilling water was turned on we waited for our wort to reach 170° F (76.7° C). We held this temperature and added 4 ounces (113.4 grams) of Azacca hops for a 20-minute whirlpool addition.
Adding 4 ounces of Azacca for a 20-minute whirlpool
If you watched the brew day video, you’ll notice that we completely overshot 170° F (76.7° C). If you’re able to pay attention, don’t overshoot as we did.
The yeasts we used for this recipe are the reason we’re able to finish this beer in 3 days. Yes, you read that right, yeasts, it turned out to be a happy accident. We’re also fermenting this beer in our brewing kettle so we can ferment at higher temperatures than usual. The goal of fermenting at higher temperatures is to make fermentation happen faster.
After our 20-minute whirlpool addition, we chilled our wort down to 75° F (23.8° C) to pitch our yeast. At 75° F (23.8° C) we pitched Hornindal Kveik yeast that’s made by the Omega Yeast company. This is a unique Norwegian yeast that can ferment at higher temperatures than usual.
Pitching Hornindal Kveik yeast into our kettle
Since we’re fermenting in our kettle, we couldn’t aerate this beer like we normally do, by shaking our fermentation bucket, so to work around this we turned on our pump and used our spray valve to aerate our wort. Aerating is always a good idea because the more oxygen that’s present in your wort the better your yeast can ferment.
Using the spray valve to aerate our wort
Foam is a good sign that your wort is aerated
While aerating we also turned the heat on in order to raise our kettle to a fermentation temperature of 105° F (40.5° C). Once our kettle reached 105° F (40.5° C), we pulled our hops out and prepared the kettle for fermentation.
To ferment a beer in our kettle, we put clamps on the lid and used the hose attached to the spray valve as an airlock. The opposite end of the spray valve hose was put into a container of star san.
Clamping the kettle lid makes it airtight while the spray valve hose is running into a container of Star San to imitate an airlock
We were expecting this beer to ferment super fast, but we were mistaken. After 2 days of fermentation, the gravity was not nearly what it was expected to be. This is because the only kveik yeast that ferments super fast at high temperatures is the Voss Kveik yeast from Omega Yeast. In order to stick with our mission of making a finished beer as fast as possible, we did exactly what most people wouldn’t do and pitched Voss Kveik yeast into our kettle.
Pitching Voss Kveik yeast into our kettle. Now, this beer has a unique mixture of Hornindal and Voss Kveik yeast.
The next day, day 3, our beer had fermented down to 1.013. We could have let this keep fermenting in the kettle, but since we were in a hurry to start on another beer, we transferred it into a fermentation bucket.
Transferring our beer into a fermentation bucket so it can finish out fermentation at room temp while we get started on another beer
When our beer was transferred, we noticed that almost an entire gallon had been lost somehow. We assumed this was due to evaporation.
Our finished, carbonated beer, had a dark yellow color and a rich fruity aroma. It tasted “pretty good” and had a fruity flavor that was just as strong as its aroma. However, it didn’t always taste like this. The first time it was tasted there were noticeable diacetyl off-flavors of milk and butterscotch. However, after letting this beer sit for a month in a keg the diacetyl off-flavors were completely gone. Diacetyl can be caused for a number of reasons including high fermentation temperatures, low aeration, and low pitching rates. In the end, this was a 3 day IPA fail, but a 4 week IPA success.
This beer was highly drinkable, so it didn't last long