Return of the Black Mamba

The hops for this beer.

I was digging through the deep-freeze a few weeks ago and came across the tightly vacuum wrapped remains of 2014’s hop harvest – 270 g (~9.5 oz) of Cascade hops. Not to sure what to with my unexpected bounty, I looked back to see what I did with the home-grown Cascades last year. Turns out last years beer was an Black Imperial Rye IPA – The Black Mamba IPA. Tasting notes (and memory) revealed that this was one of last years better beer, so I thought “what the hell, lets do it again”.

Last years beer ended up being under-gravity (more a BRIPA than a BIRIPA) as I  had begun experimenting with wet milling my grain and had over-whetted the grain. I’ve now optimized this method, so I hope to hit the desired gravity (1.071) instead of missing it like I did last year (1.059).

But what to do with all those hops? The answer – add them all to one beer! For accuracy, the 75 minute bittering addition will be 34 IBU’s of Northern Brewer, but everything else is the home-grown cascade.

My (hopefully temporary) $10
3-tier mash system

How do you work in 270 g (over a half-pound) of home-grown hops? The answer is lots of additions – 57 g (~2 oz) at 20, 12 and 5 minutes, plus another 57 g in a 15 minute hop stand (half added at flame-out; half added 7.5 minutes after flame-out). But that leaves 34 g (~1.5 oz) unaccounted for – that would be the prime hops; the ones I put aside into their own little pack as they had the most resin and aroma of the harvest. Those are being held back for a 3-day dry-hop after primary fermentation is complete. Estimated IBU’s are 67; maybe lower or higher depending on just how bitter the home-grown hops are.

Grain bill is pretty much unchanged from last year – good quality Canadian pale malt as a base malt, 25% rye for that refreshing rye crispness, some carafa special II & victory malt to round things out. Again, I am trying Conan, but will coax more ester flavour out of it by under-pitching (50% the recommended rate) and minimally oxygenating the wort. Fermentation will begin at 18 C (65 F, AKA my basements temperature) and ramp up to 22C (72 F) to finish. I’m going all-out, and even altering the water to up the sulphate and magnesium to make the hops pop.

Full Recipe & Brewday Notes Below The Fold

Brew-days Notes:

Lines are run

The in-laws are coming over for lunch, so the brewday started early (6 AM). Everything was measured out last night, so I simply plugged in m HLT and started heating water while making SWIMBO & I some coffee. Mash & sparge went without error, giving a pre-boil gravity of 1.052; just one point short of the predicted 1.053 and I have about  half-litre more volume than planned, so I’m probably dead-on. Boil started at 9AM, putting me ahead of schedule (2 pots of coffee helped), so taking advantage of my extra time I got the lines strung for this years hops.

For the first time this year I actually got a full-length boil without my propane burner crapping out mid-brew – I’m guessing that’s because the polar temperatures are finally gone. The vacuum-packed hops were like giant plugs and took some work to break-up, but I got them all in. Before I knew it I was cooling the wort – I barely missed my target gravity (1.070 instead of 1.071), good enough for government work!

I hope the taste of this beer is as flawless as the brewday!


Crowns are starting to send
up bines!
Return of the Black Mamba
American IPA
Type: All GrainDate: 25 April 2015
Batch Size (fermenter): 21.00 lBoil Size: 31.32 l
Boil Time: 75 minBrewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
0.10 kgRice Hulls (Briess) (0.0 SRM)Adjunct11.4 %
4.60 kgCanadian 2 Row Pale Malt (2.0 SRM)Grain263.5 %
1.81 kgRye Malt (Weyermann) (3.0 SRM)Grain325.0 %
0.45 kgCarafa Special II (Weyermann) (415.0 SRM)Grain46.2 %
0.28 kgVictory Malt (25.0 SRM)Grain53.9 %
33.25 gNorthern Brewer [9.30 %] – Boil 75.0 minHop633.8 IBUs
56.70 gCascade [4.00 %] – Boil 20.0 minHop713.1 IBUs
1.00 tspIrish Moss (Boil 15.0 mins)Fining8
56.70 gCascade [4.00 %] – Boil 12.0 minHop99.0 IBUs
56.70 gCascade [4.00 %] – Boil 5.0 minHop104.7 IBUs
56.70 gCascade – Garden Grown [4.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 15.0 minHop115.9 IBUs
1.0 pkgConan (Headdy Topper)Yeast12
36.00 gCascade [4.00 %] – Dry Hop 3.0 DaysHop130.0 IBUs
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.071 SGMeasured Original Gravity: 1.062 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.009 SGEstimated Alcohol by Vol: 8.2 %
Bitterness: 66.5 IBUsEst Color: 28.6 SRM
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch SpargeTotal Grain Weight: 7.25 kg
Sparge Water: 19.67 lGrain Temperature: 18.0 C
Sparge Temperature: 75.6 CTun Temperature: 18.0 C
Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUEMash PH: 5.20
Mash Steps
NameDescriptionStep TemperatureStep Time
Mash InAdd 19.15 l of water at 72.4 C64.4 C75 min

Sparge Step: Batch sparge with 2 steps (3.89l, 15.78l) of 75.6 C water
Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).
Carbonation and Storage
Carbonation Type: KegVolumes of CO2: 2.3
Pressure/Weight: 12.54 PSIKeg/Bottling Temperature: 7.2 C
Water Adjustments:
Mash (19.5L):
-7.3g gypsum
-0.7g NaCl
-4.3g epsomSparge (18.6L):
-7.1g gypsum
-0.6g NaCl
-4.2g epsom

-Very close – 63.5, instead of 64.3; added 1.7L boiling sparge water to compensate
-conversion complete by 50 min

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