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Ranger Hopped All-Grain IPA

My first all-grain batch was a Ranger IPA clone, from a recipe I’d found in a recent issue of BYO magazine.  As a result of the multiple hop additions, I had a bunch of leftover ingredients.  As the first recipe had some weirdness (like a cane sugar addition), I figured I’d tweak the other recipe and make a second, similar batch.  I also wanted to take a shot at reusing the yeast, something I’d never tried on a 5 gal. batch up to this point.

Ingredients : All Grain Ranger IPA Clone

Fermentables

  • 10 lb American 2-row
  • 1 lb Crystal Malt 60°L
  • 5 oz Crystal Malt 120°L

Hop Additions

  • 1 oz Chinook (11.4%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .5 oz Simcoe (12.2%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • .8 oz Cascade (5.0%) – added during boil, boiled 15 min
  • .5 oz Cascade (5.0%) – added during boil, boiled 0.0 min
  • 1 oz Cascade (5.0%) – added to secondary fermenter

Yeast

  • 1 ea Wyeast 1272 American Ale II – reused yeast cake from previous batch

Additional Details / Notes

  • SG 1.064
  • FG 1.010
  • 6.98% ABV
  • Brewed 12/05/10, Secondary 12/18/10, Bottled 12/31/2011
  • Efficiency 84% – Attenuation 83% (from Beer Tools)

The Mash

As with my first all-grain batch, I used a calculator from Brew365 to calculate my strike water amount and temperature.  I had 11.3 lbs of grain x 1.25qt to make for a 3.53 gal mash.  Calculations said to use 170° water to get to 153°, but I ended up at about 155°.  Close enough, so I capped the mash tun.  After an hour, I popped the cap to recirculate, and found that my temp was closer to 160°, which I worried was too hot.

Being my second all-grain batch, I got worried I’d messed things up and my starches might not have converted.  Better safe than sorry, I ran to the drug store for some iodine, and did a starch conversion test.  No worries, all was well.

I recirculated some of the first runnings of the wort, then sparged for about an hour with 170° water.

The Boil

December isn’t exactly paradise here in MT, but I managed to find a day that was Sunny and not too awful cold.  It’s not a quick process getting a pot to boil when it’s below freezing, but it can be done!

After about half an hour, I got to a boil.  I let that roll for 15 minutes before starting my hop clock.  I decided to hop this beer exactly like I had done with the Ranger Clone.  I wanted to keep the hops constant, but change up other aspects of the recipe.  Plus, I enjoyed the hop flavor of the last batch, so it seemed like a good plan.  Hop additions are all stated above.  With 10 minutes to go, I dropped the wort chiller in to the pot to let it boil a few minutes.

After my hour boil, I hooked my wort chiller up to the spigot and let the cold winter water work it’s magic.  Luckily it was JUST warm enough that day to use the outdoor spigot.  Bonus.  Chilling the wort took about half an hour to get down to where I wanted it.  I chilled down to about 80°.

Fermentation | Reusing the Yeast Cake

I like to find new and interesting ways to screw things up, and this batch was no exception.  I’d read plenty about reusing yeast, but hadn’t ever tried it.  Most of the time the ‘experts’ claim you shouldn’t reuse dry yeast, so I never bothered.   Oh, and because every kit I’ve ever bought came with yeast.  That, too.

I’d used a Wyeast liquid yeast for my Ranger Clone, and wanted to get double use out of it (it’s expensive!). I brewed this batch of beer two weeks after the Ranger Clone.  I timed everything so that I’d be brewing a new batch on the same day I racked the RC from the primary to the secondary, leaving the yeast cake ready to rock.

There are a bunch of ways to go about reusing the yeast, but for this batch I opted for the easiest option.   I siphoned out the fermented brew, wiped away the krausen with a sanitized rag, and put the new Recycled Ranger right in to the same bucket.  Almost felt like cheating.  After a couple of minutes, I gave the whole thing a good stir, capped the bucket, and stuck it in my fermenting fridge to ferment at about 168°.  I was bubbling away in just a couple of hours.  It worked!

I added 1 oz of Cascade hops when racking to the secondary, which I left for a week.

Bottling & Drinking

After kegging the entire Ranger Clone batch, I realized it was lame not to have travel-ready beers available.  To balance things out, I decided to bottle this entire batch.  I filled up 8 Growlers and 2 1 liter bottles.

As I’d written about, my Ranger Clone turned out.. well, sub-par.  I was starting to worry about this one, but by dumb luck, I’d at least started fermenting in my beer fridge again, so I didn’t run the risk of overly warm temps like I got with the RC batch.  I wasn’t overly patient with this batch, and cracked one open after only about a week.  On the bright side, it was WAY better than the RC!  The flavor is decent, but there’s a bitterness that doesn’t quite fit with my expectatons of a good Ale.

There’s a lot of room for improvement.  I used too many crystal malts, and the color is weird.  I need to start using something for clarity, and I have since started playing with the water to reduce the effects of the hard water in my area, balancing the bitterness I mentioned above.  More on this to come in future brews!

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