Inspired by this post in /r/Homebrewing, I bought some Galaxy hops. This year’s Galaxy crop was reduced due to tough weather conditions in Australia this year. I wanted to get some Galaxy hops while they were available and I’ve never had a beer with these hops before. I decided to brew something that would make them standout so I could really learn the flavor.
Time to brew a SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop) ale!
|4lb 10oz||Root Shoot 2-row||2||100%|
|0.25oz||Galaxy Hops||14.0%||First Wort Hop||Pellets|
|0.25oz||Galaxy Hops||14.0%||Boil – 10 Minutes||Pellets|
|0.5oz||Galaxy Hops||14.0%||Dry Hop 5 Days||Pellets|
I started off with a vial of Inland Island, INIS-001 yeast that I picked up from my LHBS. Inland Island claims to put ~200b cells of yeast in a vial, so a starter was not strictly necessary for this batch. I decided to make a starter, however, so I could harvest a portion and save it for later batches. Also, the vial I got was 4 months old, and I wanted to guarantee viability.
I hesitated writing this report. I really screwed up the mash. I have some good ideas what I did wrong, and I’m very disappointed this didn’t turn out like I wanted it to.
This was the first time using a homemade mash tun made from a 5 gallon Igloo water cooler. I ran some numbers through BeerSmith and assuming 72% efficiency, I would have ended up with an OG of 1.050… well, that didn’t happen. After a 60 minute mash, I ended up with an OG of 1.036… only 51% efficiency. I was really bummed. On top of the poor efficiency, the end product ended up with tremendous chill haze.
Here’s what I think went wrong overall:
- I totally did not stir the mash, apart from the initial dough-in. After reading the Interwebz, it’s common, and in fact almost necessary to stir the mash periodically.
- I lost a lot of temperature. The temperature in the mash tun started at 152.3°F, but ended up at 141°F.
I have since insulated the lid of the mash tun which has helped considerably. I also now practice stirring the mash every 15 minutes, and go with a 75 minute mash instead of a 60 minute mash. This seems to have helped in the couple batches I’ve done since.
After a very disappointing mashing session, I proceeded to boil like normal, adding the hop additions as prescribed. At ten minutes left in the boil, I did something new: I put in roughly a quarter of a tablet of whirlfloc. This resulted in a tremendous amount of fluffy trub. I didn’t think this was supposed to happen with whirlfloc and have hesitated to use it on future batches.
I didn’t have an immersion chiller yet, so I proceeded to chill the wort in the kitchen sink surrounded by a bath of ice and water. I chilled it to just under 70°F in about 30 minutes, grabbed a sample for my hydrometer tube, and racked about 2.25 gallons into a 3 gallon carboy. I was shooting for 2.5 gallons, but the fluffy trub was just so much, that I ended up slightly short of my target.
I pitched my jar of INIS-001 and placed the carboy into my “fermentation chamber.” Really, it’s just a junky particle board bookshelf that happens to fit a 3 gallon carboy perfectly. I wrap a carboy heater around it. Temperature is controlled by a Raspberry Pi running Strangebrew Elsinore.
After only 12 hours, the krausen had formed and the yeast were fermenting away in an active fashion. Over the next few days, the krausen subsided.
I really screwed the pooch here. My process with bottling has been to rack the fermented beer to a bottling bucket. I then draw a sample out the spigot to fill my hydrometer tube with. That is followed by pouring in a solution of the proper amount of priming sugar.
Now, I typically gently mix with a spoon for a couple minutes to ensure the sugar is evenly distributed throughout the wort. This time, I forgot that. I didn’t realize my mistake until after I had finished capping all the bottles…
There is one thing I really enjoyed about this beer. WOAH! The galaxy hops have a wonderful, juicy, tropical aroma. OMG. I loved this aroma. Two weeks after capping the bottles, the aroma was just super strong.
Unfortunately, nothing else in this beer was very good. There was far too much starch haze for it too look good. The flavor was just missing. The beer had far too little maltiness and was just a bitter hop bomb. I attribute this to the crappy mash, and the low OG.
Additionally, with my priming sugar screw-up, the carbonation was not right at all. Of the 20 bottles I ended up with, 16 of them had very little carbonation. The other 4, gushers. Huge freaking gushers. Guess I found out where all that sugar went…