Back in Black
Now that I’ve gone black, I may never go back … to regular IPA, that is. I liked the Black IPA I just brewed so much that I’m brewing it again right away. I’m tweaking it ever so slightly, however. I’m going to dry-hop with Amarillo instead of Citra to see what effect that has on the final product.
My brew day kicked off smoothly. I dropped my daughter off at school, rushed home and threw the kettle on, so to speak. The 75 minute boil started out fine and then … well, let’s just say, it didn’t finish perfectly.
My specialty grains steeped at 150°F for half an hour, turning the water a lovely deep brown color. Alas, that color may have led to my eventual error. But first, an ounce of Warrior hops went in at 75 minutes. Smelling them reminded me of my prior version of this and I got excited all over again. This was going to be as good as the last. I was going to perfect this beer and be a Black IPA-drinking fool. This might even become my year-round beer. “I got this,” I thought. “This is going to be a smooth brew day producing a smooth brew.” And that was my problem – I relaxed.
The Irish moss was due at 30 minutes. And so it was that at 45 minutes into my boil I finally realized that I’d never added my extract. Seven pounds of liquid malt and a pound of DME were sitting on a shelf in my basement just waiting to be added to the pot. And what was I doing? Fantasizing about what a great brewer I’d become, dreaming of going all-malt, opening my own brewery…. And all the while I hadn’t even added the most significant ingredient to the mix. I basically was trying to make a beer without mashing in.
Needless to say, at that moment there were more than a few words spoken that will not be reproduced here. My son was so alarmed he came racing into the kitchen to see what was going on. But how do you explain to a two year old that you are a complete idiot?
And now I was faced with a difficult decision. Should I add the malt and start my clock all over again, that is, pretend that the boil was just starting? I was pressed for time so I didn’t like this option. But if I just dumped it all in would I get what I needed from the malt in the remaining half hour? I reasoned that I would. It is extract after all. Hasn’t all the goodness already been extracted?
I frantically scooped, scraped and poured the malt into the pot and stirred and stirred hoping to prevent a boil over. I failed.
A boil is like watching a young child. You can’t take your eyes off of them. The moment you turn your back they fall down the stairs and you’re on your way to the E.R. I opened the fridge to get a drink and the next thing I know my wife is saying something about the pot. I didn’t even register what she said, I just shouted “Turn it off! Turn it off!”
I surveyed the scene. A couple of drips on the floor, several spots on the stove and some spatter on the back splash. Not too bad. Or so I thought. When I finally got round to cleaning up the mess the next day I couldn’t believe the extent of the boil over damage. Brown sticky goo had seeped under every burner, coated every element and bonded to both sides of the black tray that sits under the burners. I was astounded and at first didn’t even connect it to what I thought was a rather insignificant boil-over. I actually wondered for a moment what my wife had spilled. (How’s that for passing the buck?) Silly me. My penance for the sin of blaming the wife was a prolonged scrubbing session.
And that's only half of the stove.
Following my compromised boil, it was into the tub for the wort. I had asked for an immersion chiller for Christmas but Santa must be a teetotaler because I got stiffed. I eventually pitched the San Diego Super Strain again – it served me so well last time – and gave myself an extra dope-slap for forgetting the malt and allowing the boil over.Last modified on