Cockup IPA

27Aug09

Esteemed readers (and internet bots) – This was a famous brew from last summer, complete with pictures!

Without further ado, I introduce to you:

Cockup IPA

I found it extremely fitting to call this particular brew Cockup IPA because, well, it was an IPA, and it was a TOTAL cockup. It had been several months since I had brewed a beer, and I felt that it was about time to delve back into the depths of alcoholism, so I headed down to my local homebrew shop to create an epic masterpiece. After careful deliberation (opening to a random recipe in the middle of the book), I chose to brew a fairly generic and potent IPA.

An Indian Pale Ale gets it’s name from being the only beer that could survive the trip from England to India aboard the ships of the East Indian Shipping Company. Due to it’s higher alcohol content, and the layers of hops added to the brew, it was essentially a non-perishable beverage. To this day, IPA’s are characterized by the same characteristics.

That much I knew, and being an old hand at brewing beers, I naturally assumed that brewing this particular beer would be no different than any other. How wrong I was.

Cockup Number 1:

What you see before you is essentially a giant tea bag (GTB) used in beer brewing. One uses said GTB to create the “wort”, which is the foundation of the beer. One deposits various malts and toasted malted barley into the tea bag, and deposits it into a capacious vat of hot water (usually about 160 F) for a recipe specific duration. Being the expert that I am, I deposited the bag, then proceeded to deposit myself on the sofa in front of the television to partake in the necessary beer consumption element of the beer brewing process. After waiting 20 minutes (out of the prescribed 30), I diligently went to check on my budding brew. Using my sixth, or maybe my seventh sense, I quickly deduced that all was not well with my fledgling creation, as there was a noticeable hint of smoke emanating from the surface of my creation. Calling upon all of my education, I concluded that I was hallucinating; everyone knows that nothing can burn under water. Satisfied that it must just be steam, I cracked open another beer, and returned to the couch.

Returning 10 minutes later to remove the GTB and begin the next stage, the above picture is what I found. Through some freak happenance, I had managed to actually burn through the GTB lining, and open a sprawling hole in the bag, freeing all the malt to drift along merrily in my brew. How this happened is beyond me. The burner wasn’t even turned up all the way, and I’ve used the GTB in much more extreme temperature. After excessive panic, and some gymnastics refiltering the beer/getting made fun of by my brother via telephone, I proceeded to the next stage.

Cockup Number 2:

As previously mentioned, and IPA has an incredibly large amount of hops in it – much more than I have ever used. Due to my expertise, I understood that once the wort got to a boil and the hops were added, I needed to be cognizant of a boil over. What was not clear to me at the time was the exponential relationship between the amount of hops added, and the time it takes to reach a boil over once the hops are added. In most cases, it takes about 5-8 minutes for a boil over to become a threat. Apparently, but adding about 2 oz. of hops, that time is degraded to about 1 minute.

Naturally, after adding the hops, I cracked open another beer and headed out to the couch without a worry in the world. It was only the sound of hissing hops beginning to burn on the outside of my pot that alerted me to the fact that all was not well. Returning to the site, and after a moment of yelping like a little girl, I threw myself into the fray. After turning down the heat and watching the boil over subside, I turned the heat back up to a moderate level.

10 minutes later, the beer was still not boiling as it should. Perplexed, I turned it up even higher. 3 minutes later, still nothing. At about this time, I realized that the boil over had actually put out the gas flame beneath my floundering creation, and I became aware that there was a reason I was becoming slightly lightheaded. Thinking quickly, I shut off the offending burner and moved the beer to another. Catastrophe avoided, below is what the brew pot looked like post-boil over.

Surprisingly, it is still an excellent beer. It kind of goes to show you how hard it is to mess up beer brewing.  As they say, there are never any “mistakes” – there are simply exclusive limited editions.  Here is the final product.

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Welcome!

27Aug09

This will be the weblog of Restatement Brewing Co., a homebrew partnership between two law students at George Washington University.  More on our backgrounds later!




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