Sunday, July 08, 2007

IPA & cask conditioning

Recently, I got a Angram Beer engine for my birthday. Woot! Of course there was no time to brew my own IPA for the inaugural usage, so I went up to Green Flash in Vista and got a keg of West Coast IPA. It's a wonderful IPA with a great flowery nose. But how would a keg beer work with the beer engine?

The setup I received was a factory refurbished Angram CQ with sparkler and a Cask Breather to regulate the CO2 inflow, as was recommended to me by UK Brewing. The Green Flash Cornelius keg had a Sankey Domestic fitting. I also had to make some mods to my kegerator to run the extra line for the Angram out the back.

Everything hooked up fine and the first test water pumping worked great. I bled the West Coast IPA of any head pressure. In retrospect, I should have probably shaken the keg, bled, shaken, bled, etc. etc. to get more of the CO2 out of solution. Well, I started pulling a pint and got a whole lotta foam. The line had air in it and no matter how fast or slow I pulled, the air stayed in. I also noticed that once I stopped pulling, there was a fine line of bubbled coming out of the top of the sankey filling the hose with "air". I put that in quotes, because I doubt that the sankey was leaking, so most likely, the culprit was excessive CO2 in the IPA which was coming out of solution due to the negative pressure on the line.

Eventually, with slower pulls, the foam calmed down a bit, but you still have to pull 4 times (a pint) and let the most egregious foam spill over. The end result, however, was a wonderful, hand pulled pint of IPA. Just like I'd hoped.

That keg went a lot faster than I expected -- a combination of the extra wastage of hand pull overflow and just general enjoyment. Which brings me to my next IPA, especially brewed for the Angram. This was initially going to be another version of my last Simcoe IPA, but instead I dreamed up a whole new recipe. I had recently purchased two stainless hop cages for dry hopping. I had also asked Green Flash whether their cask were properly cask conditioned (after finding out that Stone just used their regular keg beer with some additional flavors added to the cask). Mike Hinkley told me that they take fill the casks from the secondary fermenters and add more dry hops and let it condition in the cask. So, my plan was to add another dry hop stage once the beer went into the corny.

Here's the recipe I brewed up last weekend:

Steep (45min @ 160F)

  • 0.5# Victory
  • 1.0# Cara Pils
  • 0.5# 10L Crystal

Boil @ 60 minutes

  • 3# Light DME
  • 1# Amber DME
  • 1 oz. Columbus Pellets
  • 1 oz. Centennial Pellets
  • 0.5 oz. Cascade Pellets

Boil @ 15 minutes

  • 3# Light DME
  • 1 oz. Columbus Pellets
  • 0.5 oz. Cacade Pellets

Boil @ 0 minutes

  • 1 oz. Centennial Pellets
  • 1 oz. Cascade Pellets


  • White Labs California Ale Yeast (repitched from last Simcoe IPA's wort)

This fermented for the last week and today, I racked it secondary & dry hopping.

Dry Hop

  • 1.5 oz. Cascade Flowers
  • 1 oz. Simcoe Plugs

In about two weeks, I'll transfer it to the keg with another 0.5 oz. of Cascade and 1 oz. of Simcoe and let it condition for another two weeks. Then I finally will find out what a come brewed IPA on the beer engine is like.