MoreBeer.com sent me their newest all grain kit, E.J. Phair's King Ghidorah IPA to brew and review. Here is the description from MoreBeer.com's website:
Bow down and tremble homebrewer, for you are in the presence of a king! This 30-story tall liquid kaiju will singe your senses with multiple Multihead additions, culminating in a tropical gravity beam blast of guava and melon. Survive this opening assault and you’ll be hit with an Idaho Gem™ thunder spark of pineapple, and then swept away by hurricane winds of Cashmere lemon/lime and stone fruit. Just as King Ghidora is not limited to a single ferocious maw, you’ll be hard-pressed to have but a single pour of this juicy, tropical brew. Without a ragtag ensemble of advorseries spearheaded by Godzilla himself, King G will reign over your beer rotation till he ultimately brings about the Earth’s next extinction-level event and moves on to another planet victim.
King Ghidora was brewed in collaboration with our Pittsburg, CA neighbors, E.J. Phair Brewing Company. It features a clean grist of 3 unique base malts, with a touch of white wheat for head retention and a dash of acidulated malt to lower pH. With only a quarter ounce of Citra® added late in the boil, this beer shows very little bitterness and lets the flavor and aroma hops do the talking. The first dry hop addition is added to the fermenter before transferring wort from the kettle. Although this isn't a Hazy IPA, the beer will have a slight permanent haze due to biotransformation, which occurs when yeast interact with hop oils during primary fermentation.
Aroma: Explosive bright citrus (mostly grapefruit and light lime) with hints of pineapple, melon, pine with floral notes at the end. Nice malt notes in the background. The hops aromas are on full display here and it’s a full frontal assault.
Apprearnce: Brillant clarity (due to fining with gelatin), golden with rocky white head. Very good retention, nice lacing from the white wheat addition.
Flavor and Aftertaste: Mild alcohol, very hop forward with citrus, pine and tropical fruit. Mild soft tropical fruit aftertaste with lingering bitterness on the sides of the tongue. Delicate malt backbone. Well balanced with nice but mild bitterness. Suggestions of creamy malt sweetness as it warms.
Mouthfeel: Medium body with good carbonation. Silky and creamy with long finish. No astringency.
Overall: At 6.7% ABV,
this is big, bold monster of a beer. If
you love citrusy, fruity, tropical hop flavor and aroma, and not so much bitterness in your IPA, this is
a wonderful example. For many, this will
be their first time brewing with Multihead, Cashmere and Idaho Gem™ hops. I found them to be a welcome change from the typical hops used in many West Coast IPAs.
This beer is dangerously drinkable and I highly recommend it. I can’t think of any major changes I’d make if I brewed it again, it turned out to be one of the best beers I have ever brewed.
One note though, if you don’t fine the beer, expect it to have a slight permanent haze as noted in MoreBeer's description.
MoreBeer.com was kind enough to send me the All Grain kit for E.J. Phair’s King Ghidorah IPA to brew and review here on Winning-Homebrew. I received the kit and immediately put the hops in the freezer and the yeast in the fridge.
The yeast I used was White Labs California Ale, WLP001. This yeast is famous for its clean flavors and attenuation. This yeast accentuates the hop flavors and aromas which is why it is often used for IPAs. I made a 1.6L starter at 1.040 OG for this beer per BeerSmith Brewing Software’s recommendation.
On brew day, I milled the grain with my Barley Crusher set at 0.037 gap. The grist milled out perfectly. Since there was 1 lb of white wheat in the kit, I added a large handful of rice hulls just to be safe.
I always use Palmer’s Brewing Water Adjustment App to adjust my brewing water. Since this is going to be a hop forward, low SRM beer, I adjusted my water to get it close to the spreadsheet’s recommended specs for the style. I ended up with a 4.6:1 Sulfate to Chloride ratio, perfect for an IPA
After entering the ingredients into BeerSmith (I’m still using version 2.3), I noticed that the IBU’s were different from MoreBeer’s brew sheet. MoreBeer’s recipe sheet shows 11 IBUs and I was only getting 5.4 IBUs with the only bittering hop addition being the 7 grams of Citra at 14% AA added for the last 15 minutes of the boil. I asked MoreBeer about the discrepancy and was told that BeerSmith Version 3 allows you to adjust for whirlpool temperature and time above the hop’s alpha acid isomerization level (180°F). So, if you are using 10 gallon coolers and can’t whirlpool, this is where the difference in IBUs comes into play. Just wanted to make you aware of the discrepancy.
I boiled for 60 minutes and mashed for one hour. The recipe sheet has the OG at 1.061; I hit 1.060. My FG was 1.009 giving me an ABV of 6.7% per BeerSmith.
My fermentation cooler was out of commission but thankfully, the weather was perfect. After oxygenating for 1 minute, I pitched the yeast at 68°F, slightly higher than the recommended temperature of 66°F. But, with the ambient temperature in the 50’s, primary fermentation was mostly in the 64° to 66°F range. I raised the ambient temperature in the beer room to get the fermentation temperature up to 69°F for the remainder of primary fermentation.
After adding the final 7 ounces of Multihead, Cashmere and Idaho Gem™ for the last 3 days of primary, I crashed the primary fermenter to 34°F in my keg cooler.
The only thing I did different from the recommended
procedure was to add ½ tsp of gelatin as a fining agent. I like my beers to be crystal clear and this
is method always works well for me.
After transferring the cold wort to a keg, I force carbonated the keg and left it in the cooler to settle down.
This is my first big hoppy beer since brewing my American Barleywine that I won first place and 2nd Runner Up BOS with at the 2008 MCAB (Masters Championship of Amateur Brewing).
I had forgotten how much hop mass there is in a beer dryhopped with this much pellet hops. I ended up with about 4.25 gallons into the keg.
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