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We went low with this beer. Real low. And for two guys with standards as low as ours, that's saying something. Of course, we're talking about achieving a low specific gravity using ultra-ferm enzymes for the purpose of making a super dry and light Brut IPA. Our last attempt actually turned out great in terms of flavor and drinkability, but this one more accurately met the style guidelines for this type of beer.
Full Brut IPA Recipe and Brew Day Video
We selected "Balanced Yellow" from Brewer's Friend and adjusted accordingly using the BeerSmith calculator. Use the water chemistry for whatever your source water is, and add minerals to match the profile listed above.
Additionally, we adjusted pH by taking a reading 10 minutes after the start of the mash and adding lactic acid (because our pH was a bit high).
Make sure to add your lactic acid sparingly, a little goes a long way and too much could ruin your beer
Again, the need to do this or not will be dependent on your source water, so you'll need to take a reading and adjust accordingly.
We aren't scientists, but managed (barely) to use the calculators above. We have faith in you too.
9 pounds (4kg 82.33g) pilsner, 1.5lbs (680.4g) flaked rice, 1 pound (453.6g) flaked corn, 0.2 ounces (5.67g) acidulated malt.
We finely crush all of our grain before mashing with it
We chose this grain bill because of an interview we read with the creator of this beer style, who pretty much spelled out the grains he uses to make his Brut IPAs. This should be a pretty solid base for the beer.
We mashed at 145F (62.8C) then did a mash out at 168F (75.6C). The reason we mashed at 145F (62.8C) is because the enzymes active at this temperature will create more fermentable sugars and less unfermentable sugars. This means that the beer will have a lower final gravity, a dryer finish, and a higher ABV.
Pulling grain basket after mash
This is supposed to be a hoppy but non-bitter beer. Accordingly, we added 4 ounces of El Dorado post-boil after the wort had been chilled to 170F (76.7C).
Hooking up a plate chiller to chill our wort
Adding hops to the hop basket
We steeped for 20 mins. Additionally, we added 3 ounces (85.05g) of Idaho 7 at day 4 of fermentation and let them sit for 3 days.
We fermented with California Ale (WLP001) and also added Ultra-Ferm.
Pitching California Ale Yeast
This was added right after the yeast
Temp was 67F (19.4C) days for 6 days and 70F (21.1C) for 4. You'll want to use a yeast that is going to create alcohol and then go away. In other words, the yeast isn't the star of the show in the beer and it shouldn't stand out. That's why we chose WLP001.
The Ultra-Ferm is an enzyme that breaks down sugars into smaller chunks, allowing the yeast to eat more of it. It worked! Unlike the Beano enzyme we used for our first Brut IPA attempt.
Putting beer into a fermentation chamber
Gravity and ABV
Starting gravity was 1.046. Ending was 1.001. ABV is 5.9%. The final gravity of our first Brut attempt didn't budge below 1.010, so the Ultra-Ferm is definitely preferred over Beano.
A Brut IPA should be highly carbonated in order to achieve a style that is similar to champagne. Shoot for 3.5-4.0 volumes of CO2 in this beer when serving it. This higher volume of CO2 means you will need a longer serving hose to properly pour this beer.
We really enjoyed this beer but it wasn't our favorite. It as a nice citrus aroma and a faint citrus flavor, but the lack of sweetness made it taste kind of like a dull orange. When fully carbonated and chilled it's very light, but not crisp, clean, or dry enough to make it taste like good Champagne. That said, it's not bad. I drank 2 or 3 while finishing the video edit above and quite enjoyed them. However, I've had better.