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Currently On Tap

Brewday 35: Bitter Thrashers Fan IPA

The "Lil Sparky" Hop Strainer

The "Lil Sparky" Hop Strainer

With an announcement due any day on the impending move of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg, I decided, as a Thrashers fan, to brew a bitter beer to commemorate the occasion. I figured a really hoppy IPA would do the trick, so I threw together a recipe that used a cubic butt-load of hops and set to work. I named it Bitter Thrashers Fan IPA, and if you’re so inclined, you can find the recipe here.

Luckily, I managed to resolve my little leaking issue that I had with the sight glass I had installed. A little teflon tape and a bit of finesse and the leak was vanquished … which is good, because after a while, wort stinks when it burns.

I did some digging, trying to find a fix to my problem where I couldn’t pump the wort out of the kettle and into the fermenters.  I strongly suspected that the whole leaf hops I like to use were clogging up my dip tube.  Some guys on the homebrewtalk.com forums posted about a hop sack on steroids that seemed easy to build.  In a nutshell, it’s a paint strainer attached to a 4 inch PVC fitting suspended by four pieces of all-thread.  Total cost?  About $20.  If you’re interested in the details, follow the links and you can read up on it.  It’s dead simple to build and will take longer to drive to Lowe’s to get the parts than it will to construct.

The best part is … it worked like a champ!  I was able to recirculate my wort through my ghetto version of Jamil’s whirlpool chiller and was able to pump the wort into my fermenters without any problems.  The nice thing is that pumping the wort also aerated it pretty well, so much so that the fermenters were filled to the neck with foam.

The one downside that I see at this point is that it would seem that I didn’t get as good of an evaporation rate as I normally do.  I think the big sack of hops (it really was a bunch of hops – almost 11 ounces) prevented the steam from escaping.  This has me slightly worried that I’m going to have DMS issues in the finished beer, which would give it a canned-corn off flavor, but I suppose I’ll have to wait a bit to find out for sure.  I do know that I missed my final gravity by seven points, but I think the fact that I had an extra gallon of wort left in the kettle might be another symptom of the evaporation problem.  I’m really starting to think that I’m either going to have to get a wider kettle or give up the whole hops and move to pellets, or at least mix the two to reduce the amount of “stuff” in the kettle.  Meh…it’s a learning process.

Oh, and the camera is rolling in the chest freezer, if you’re curious.

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