This one started when my older boy realized that Boo Beer had been named after his younger brother and asked: “Dad when are you going to name a beer after me?” Thus: Vicious H-Bomb, a Belgian IPA:
The “H-Bomb” as a direct homage to him (that being his nickname and all; also evokes “hop bomb”). And the “Vicious” being an homage to the friend that came up with “H-Bomb” nickname in the first place.
But why stop with the name alone? I wanted this beer to have as many ties to my H. as possible.
- Peterson Quality Malts for the entire grist. Malts from Vermont and Maine? Well, he was born in and is growing up in Vermont: check! And his grandparents live in Maine: check!1
- Sterling hops because “Sterling” is his middle name — and they should go nicely with the style.
- Apollo hops because he loves outer space and something something Apollo space program…
- Candi sugar because… uh… (reaching here) what young boy doesn’t love sugar?
- And some Belgian yeast because… uh… (really reaching here) because the yeast is lively and funky and so is he.
Ah yes. There we go. Having settled on a (partial mash) formulation, I picked up my ingredients from 1st Republic, got my yeast started, and thought I’ve got a good feeling about this one…
Brew day was straightforward enough. I got an early start (7:20am or so) and mashed in at 148.6°F, dropping in ½ tsp. of pH stabilizer. I did my usual towel wrap for insulation and let it mash for 90 minutes, wherein the temperature held pretty steady throughout.
I did a mash-out and then took gravity readings. Refractometer gave me 16.2%Br (1.069 or so) before any extract additions; 24.8%Br (1.109) after adding the Pilsen Light LME. Comparing this to the BeerSmith notes, it looked like I was shy a few points still — but I opted not to boost further. Anyway: time to get that sucker BOILING!
Followed my hop schedule. One pound of clear candi sugar. Added the 2½ tsp. yeast nutrient. Dropped in the 1 tsp. Irish Moss. De-escalated a fight between two boys that both wanted to add hops.
Get to the end of that boil. A 5 minute whirlpool stand for the last2 1 oz. of Sterling hops. Chill it; 7 minutes to 70°F. Refractometer says 31%Br (1.139!?). Two gallons cold into the carboy, followed by the wort, and a good vigorous shake. Draw that sample; refractometer gives 17.2%Br (1.073) and we top-off that final ¼ gallon. And then a full hydrometer sample…
1.072 at 68°F = 1.073 for our original gravity. Three points over, even.
Give it another good shake to aerate, and pitch about 246 billion cells of Wyeast 1214.
Beyond Brew Day
By +19 hours, this was already one of the most vigorous fermentations I’d ever seen. By +33 the airlock bubbles were off my usual charts. And I mean, I know and I keep saying that airlock activity isn’t a direct read on how things are really going in there. But damn.
I think things were going pretty good. But it’s also around this point that I start to get the itch to dry-hop this beer. And after asking around a bit, I got the sense that these were good instincts. So… 2 oz. more of Sterling went in.
Dry-hopped for about three days. Then cold crashed for 24 hours. Then bottling.
Finishing gravity reading from the hydrometer gave 1.012 — thus looking at 8.1% ABV.3 Primed with plain ol’ boring corn sugar. Siphoned and packaged about 4 gallons of this beer.
Two weeks to condition and then… whoa.
The bottles open with a satisfying pop. There’s a nice fluffy head that has good retention. Aroma goes to peppery and spicy notes; the Sterling doubles down on those spicy notes and brings something herbal as well. The palate is bone dry; more spicy/peppery esters and phenolics that just make it serenade the tongue. Lively carbonation. A strong-willed beer. A winner.
The partial mash recipe for Vicious H-Bomb is as follows.
- 4 lb. 2 oz. PQM Heavy Base
- 2 lb. 2 oz. PQM Provenance Pils
- 1 lb. 2 oz. PQM Provenance Wheat
- 3.3 lb. (1 can) Briess Pilsen Light LME
- 1 lb. Belgian Clear Candi Sugar (20 min. late addition)
- 1 oz. Apollo (60 min.)
- ½ oz. Apollo (40 min.)
- 1 oz. Sterling (20 min.)
- ½ oz. Apollo (15 min.)
- 1 oz. Sterling (flame-out; 5 min. steep/whirlpool)
Wyeast 1214 Belgian Abbey4
- Collect 13.52 qt. water and heat to 155.5°F. Mash in; hold at 147.9°F for 90 minutes.
- Mash out. Heat to 168° over 7 minutes; hold for 10 minutes.
- Remove filter bag from water. Squeeze filter bag to extract as much liquid as possible for wort.
- Top off to approx. 2.84 gal.
- Add 3.3 lb. Pilsen Light LME, and bring to a boil. Boil for 60 minutes, following hop schedule described above.
- Cool to 70°F as rapidly as possible and top off the fermenter to reach 5 gal.
- Aerate wort and pitch Wyeast 1214 yeast.
Beyond Brew Day
- Allow fermentation to complete (approx. 1-2 weeks).
- Rack to carboy. Allow beer to condition approx. 2 more weeks.
- After reaching terminal gravity, consider cold crashing for 1-2 days before priming.
- Use corn sugar to carbonate on bottling day. Rack beer into bottling bucket and bottle.
- Allow at least 2 weeks to carbonate.
Vicious H-Bomb, a Belgian IPA by Tilde Gravitywerks
|Original Gravity||1.073 (17.2%Br)|
|Final Gravity||1.012 (7.2%Br)|
- Not to mention that our best friends live just up the road from PQM in Monkton… [↩]
- Well… not last. [↩]
- In an off coincidence, both times I’ve named a beer after one of my boys, the ABV winds up being roughly the same as their age. Anyway, I better be careful about that. [↩]
- Given the age of this particular culture, I went with a 1500 ml starter; adjust the size of yours accordingly. [↩]
About Rob FrieselSoftware engineer by day, science fiction writer by night; weekend homebrewer. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →
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